Review: Audiosurf 2 (Computer)

Audiosurf 2: Member Review

Computer 2,266 views 3 likes 13 comments
Reviewed by Alex McAuliffe, posted May 28, 2015, last updated May 31, 2015
No no-- it's out for real this time!
May 28, 2015
  • Release Date (NA): May 26, 2015
  • Publisher: Dylan Fitterer
  • Developer: Dylan Fitterer
  • Genres: Rhythm, Music, Indie, Casual
  • Single player
    Local Multiplayer
    Online Multiplayer
    Co-operative
This long-awaited sequel to an indie hit has been in Steam Early Access for over a year and a half now, finally releasing yesterday. Does it live up to the success of its predecessor?
Alex McAuliffe
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Introduction

If you've ever played the original Audiosurf, you probably know what to expect from this game, yet at the same time have no idea what to expect from this game. Let me explain. :P

Audiosurf was a rhythm game, in the truest sense of the phrase. Its core concept was to let players select songs from their collection, which were then ran through the game's algorithms to create a track, akin to a rollercoaster or a road, based on the beats and tempo of various parts of the song. It was weird and wonderful. These types of analytics had never really been seen executed so well as they were in that game. It was really less of a game and more of a tech demo. Players were tempted to try out their whole music collection on all the various game modes to see how well the song matched the game's visuals and gameplay.

Enter Audiosurf 2. What's changed? Is the technology even really that interesting anymore? How do the graphics match up? Let's dive in to this review and see for ourselves.


Gameplay

The core gameplay of Audiosurf 2 remains nearly the same as its predecessor. The player controls a little ship (or boat, or car or whatever) with the mouse/keyboard as it is propelled down a track at differing speeds based on the music. Colored blocks appear with various beats in the music, and your goal is to collect these blocks in some way. There's where the similarity between gamemodes ends. The game features Steam Workshop support, allowing content creators to make different modes of play and skins for the various modes.

Since the game has a lot of different game modes available to be played, it's not worth our time to discuss each one of them. Let's rather talk about if they feel fresh or are executed well.

All in all, the game fails to provide a really fresh gameplay experience compared to the original. The game is a kitchen sink in the worst sense. Sure, there's Steam Workshop support allowing you to play a bunch of different game modes, and some of them might actually be fun. But is it worth your time to go out trying every one of them? There's no particular thing the game does really well. About all the game by itself is is a bunch of algorithms for use on these gamemodes which don't even come with it. This technology by itself isn't enough to be worth the purchase. People aren't as easily impressed as they might have been in 2008 when indie games were never even heard of and nothing like this had been seen before.
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This gamemode, "wakeboard" provides one single difference from the mono mode, which is the ability to do a stunt jump. That's it.

We have to rate the gameplay as it is offered directly by the game itself, not by independent game developers, and what is provided out of the box is relatively scarce. I hope you like hoarding MP3's on your hard drive because there is no way to link to any kind of cloud music storage without downloading all the files from it. (UPDATE: Apparently you can link the game to SoundCloud, which I don't see many people using and still requires flat mp3's to be uploaded to it. Same problem.) The "Puzzle League" modes the game provides are as convoluted as they were in the first game, and every other mode is just a very slight modification of the "Mono" mode which was ripped straight out of the original game with almost no change.

These flaws can't be justified by the technology behind them as they might have been in the first game. Don't expect much from the game without having to comb through the Workshop for something that might give you one more song's length of enjoyment. The initial appeal of "Hey, this game reacts to my songs!" goes away after you realize that it was all done before 7 years ago with the release of Audiosurf 1.


Graphics

One of the few things this sequel has going for it is its visual style. It greatly improved on its predecessor's style with the ability to choose various skins for each round you play, which are also available from the Workshop. The raw power in its graphics engine is much greater, allowing gaming PC's to take full advantage of some of its visual effects. The user interface is greatly simplified, with only one screen being necessary to set up your gamemode, skin, and song as well as view high scores.
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The new UI is easily navigable and well-consolidated.

With more customization options than the previous game, your PC might actually have to work sometimes if high-resolution skins are used from the Workshop. The default Stadium skin colors the track based on album art, which is nice, and the Classic skin can please fans of the older game's style.

Unfortunately, not many skins are provided by the game itself, and yet again the game relies on content creators to create parts of the game for it, although some of the default skins are pretty nice.


Lasting Appeal

Yet again this game falls flat in terms of how long you might actually want to play it. This category completely falls on the size of your music collection. A free demo is offered on Steam, and it easily allows people to get hooked on the technology as it allows 4 different songs to be chosen by the user to be played. People might be tempted to buy the game just to try out more songs. Don't.

Even if you have a large music collection, it doesn't mean you will have a good amount of material for the game. At a certain point, you might as well do something productive while listening to your music, instead of playing the repetitive gamemodes. Trust me, it gets boring to play each song in any gamemode, even those on the workshop. You begin to know which songs work well with which gamemode, and the drops in the music clearly represent the fun parts of each track. Some songs are just an entirely uphill track, with no excitement, whereas other songs don't give you a break. This doesn't mean the game has variety, because it's extremely predictable as to which songs work well and which songs don't. Even the ones that do work well aren't that fun in the end. You might have fun trying out this game for a few hours, but after a certain point you'll just begin to feel buyer's regret and be very bored with this game.

Verdict
Pros
+ Visual effects are stunning
+ Downloadable skins and gamemodes enhance variety
+ Improved track generation (just a bit :P)
Cons
- Huge lack of preinstalled content
- Game relies on Workshop creators to make itself fun
- Lack of variety
- Predictable track generation
- Technology doesn't feel new anymore
7 Presentation
The new visual effects look better than the original, and can be stunning at times, but the game still relies on other people to make likeable skins
5 Gameplay
The game fails to provide any fresh gameplay in the preinstalled gamemodes, and everything just feels like a slight modifcation of the original game
4 Lasting Appeal
Even with a large music collection, the game becomes predictable and boring after the player stops being blown away in the first half-hour
5.5
out of 10
Overall (not an average)
Your money is better spent somewhere else, as this game becomes little more than a music visualizer, and at a certain point can't be called a "game". The technology is not much better than the original and does not justify a purchase. Maybe for $5 this game might be worth a buy, but for what it provides, it is a waste of money. It goes to show that a game can't just live off the odd success of its predecessor.
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