Audiosurf Review

We wanted to try something a little different with this review–sort of test the waters, if you will. Below you’ll find an embedded Youtube link. What is it? Why, it’s the very first GamerNode Audio Review performed by Kyle and Sean (aka jambo). But that’s not enough to blow your mind. To do that, I gave the audio review to Ryan, and Ryan played the audio review on Audiosurf–the game being reviewed. Madness! That portion is a back and forth discussion of Audiosurf between the two test subjects reviewers, while the actual text of this review is their concise, “What do you think?” moment to shine. Be sure to let us know what you think of the experiment in the comments. Maybe we’ll figure out a way to do more international audio/video reviews in the future.

(Also, Kyle wanted me to tell people that this was recorded at 5:30 AM his time to make up for jambo’s Australian time. Whatever makes him feel better. That’s hopefully why he sounds like an idiot at the end and calls it the first GN podcast.) – Brendon

Kyle’s Take

Audiosurf helps define the term “indie” with its very premise, use any available audio to generate and play a puzzle game, and its renegade one man development team. Unfortunately, since so few games exist whose gameplay is developed, to some degree, around the music, it’s inevitable that people will compare this game to the few that actually are, such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and possibly the recently resurrected and enhanced critically acclaimed title from roughly six years ago, Rez. But unlike the aforementioned titles, the player is not actively participating in the creation or modification of the audible content. Rather, the audio remains (for the most part) untouched and from it, the puzzle patterns and general track structure are procedurally generated.

The game features 14 characters spread (unequally) over 3 different skill levels. Some exist as carbon copies and some as distinctly different ways of interacting with the puzzle element; this is most noticeable when comparing the characters Pusher and Mono. With Pusher, the player’s goal is to maneuver and combine all of the blocks in patterns of three or more. In order to attain the highest possible score, it’s essential to collect as many of the blocks as possible. With Mono, the goal is to actually avoid the gray blocks and collect only the ones that are colored. Given that the block patterns can sometimes change quite drastically depending on skill level and character type, choosing a combination for a song that accurately represents your intended individual experience can be both frustrating and rewarding. It’s not a fault of the game, but rather one of its greatest assets in that my experience can be tailored to my heart’s desire.

Unfortunately, the game’s own ambition becomes its biggest weakness. Like the visualizer on the Windows Media Player, the game’s own visuals do not adapt very well to the many different genres of music that exist and, for the most part, the only perceived difference in the non-gameplay related visuals is the pulsing of the background with the beat of the song. Given that the game is called Audiosurf and not Audioandvisualsurf, this is a minor complaint that I hope is resolved in some way.

Like many pieces of media, people might be entertained by Audiosurf for a variety of reasons. Some people might play the game to get the highest score, but for people like me, it’s about freely experiencing a passive medium in a new and non-passive way.

SCORE: 9/10

My personal top 10 songs to play in Audiosurf:

* Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks
* Beck – Farewell Ride
* Hank Williams – Lost Highway
* Norah Jones – Come Away With Me
* Alicia Keys – No one
* The Killers – Mr. Brightside (Jacques Lucont’s Thin White Duke Remix)
* D’Angelo – Untitled (How Does it Feel)
* Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
* The National – Slow Dance
* Hot Chip – Take Care


Sean’s Take

Audiosurf is a wonderful indie title, and proves that you don’t need cutting edge graphics and the latest and greatest technologies to make a great game. It’s just such an easy game to pick up and I had, and am still having, huge amounts of fun with it. There will be songs every now and then that just don’t work at all with the game, but 95% of the time everything goes to plan and it’s great. There are a few other issues with the menus, such as the mouse cursor randomly disappearing and things like the friends section could have been implemented better, but thankfully they pale in comparison to how much damn fun you have in the game. A rhythm game where you can play pretty much any song you have, has system req’s that even the poorest of gamers will exceed and costs only $10?! This is madness!

SCORE: 9/10

Personal Top 10

1. Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Discovery album)
2. Led Zeppelin – Moby Dick (tSRtS live album)
3. Pink Floyd – Money (P.U.L.S.E. live album)
4. Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond Pts 6-9 (Bootleg)
5. Daft Punk – One More Time (Discovery album)
6. Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love (tSRtS live album)
7. Wolfmother – Colossal (Wolfmother album)
8. Led Zeppelin – Trampled Underfoot (Bootleg)
9. Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You (Single)
10. Wolfmother – Love Train (Wolfmother album)


Special thanks to John Asche for editing the audio review and providing the music used in it!


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