Audiosurf is a rhythm game in where you control one of various ships and try to collect blocks of the same color to make them match. You move across three lanes and blocks will be added to your inventory at the bottom of the screen on the lane that you collected it from. One of the neatest features of this game is that it allows you to play your own music and the game changes depending on the type of song you played. Song genres like heavy metal will be fast and frantic, throwing blocks at you to the rhythm of the music while slower paced genres like Country will be much slower and laid-back. It is recommended to start off with slower paced songs until you understand the game. If you don’t have any music of your own Audiosurf does come with the Orange Box soundtrack that includes the songs from the Half Life series, Portal and Team Fortress 2. A cool little detail in the “Still Alive” song of Portal is that your ship will be Chell’s Portal Gun. It’s not a collection of music that will hold your attention for long so it may be best to have some music you like on your PC before playing.
You just find the songs you want to play in your music folder and the level will be built on its own. The rhythm and speed of the gameplay is nearly always spot on to whatever song you are playing. The gameplay changes slightly from the different characters you can choose from. One has the ability to hold a block and add it to a lane of his choice while another can delete all colored blocks of the next type you pick up. They are very minor differences between them and it will come down to preference to choose the one you like the most. A character named Mono is the only one that plays far differently and makes all the blocks in the game the same color but you must avoid the gray colorless blocks. I found this character to be the most fun to play as it is more reaction based than strategy based so you can enjoy the song a lot more while still being challenged. There are also two modes where you just listen to the music with no consequences. One is Freeride which you can just drive around in without worrying about blocks and the other is called Visualizer has you just staring at the screen and the trippy colors.
The environments are very weird and make no sense though they are colorful and you can’t help but stare at the weird floating blocks at times. You can change the backgrounds colors and add some screen effects like Negative colors and Paint to miss around with the look of the game. If the sound effects of picking up blocks annoys you and makes your song sound weird you can change it or simply turn sound effects off all together. Collecting enough wrong colored blocks and filling up your inventories lane will cause you to malfunction for a bit and be able to collect any more blocks for a short time. No matter how many times you overfill your inventory there is no losing in this game so the main motivation is to compete on the leaderboards. Unfortunately you have to make an Audiosurf account and give out your email address to be able to post your scores. This game is very old and people have gotten extremely high scores on any song even remotely popular so it can be very hard to compete so having friends that also play this game makes for a far more fun experience if you care about showing off scores.
It is not all about collecting blocks as you may want to avoid some blocks near the end of the song to get the Clean Finish bonus that rewards you with 25% of your total score. That is when the minimap that displays the entire level comes in handy as you always know how close to ending the song is or when it is about to get intense from a downward drop in the graph. You also get rewarded for avoiding all the gray blocks as Mono so it is wise to remember that it can be far better to let a block go and try to get the hefty bonuses. It gives the game some depth to the game but for those of use that don’t really care much about the score it is still fun to play a level made by your choice of song. There is something oddly addicting to jamming out to your favorite songs while collecting colored blocks in a trippy environment. Tons of characters with my personal favorite being Mono, lots of customization and even multiple graphics settings for those with lower end PCs. Never experienced any stutters, crashes or other glitches, just awesome music and tons of fun. Would definitely recommend this game to anyone with music on their computer.