Genre: Rhythm
Year: 2008
Developed by: Dylan Fitterer
Published by: Steam
Platforms: Windows
Feeling Like: Playing music

It took me way too long to realize I love music. Early on, I never listened to many CDs, save for a Disney movie soundtrack or various video game themes on loop. It just wasn’t my thing. It wasn’t like I ran for the hills when Iron Maiden played, but I was bewildered when the latest pop song took over the psyche of all the girls in my grade 8 class. What were they hearing that I wasn’t?

It wasn’t until Napster emerged and disrupted the world that I really began to take an interest in music. The history of it, who belonged to what band, what song meant what, which cover was better, how singers sung and how drummers drummed. When iTunes started selling songs individually, instead of kidnapping a great solo and forcing you to pay $25 to listen to it on the pretense of it being on an “album”, I was immersed. When YouTube became the new forum for music videos, that was that. The point of no return. I’m addicted to music now and there is no fix, but to listen to more.

Audiosurf is a combination of my oldest and newest hobby. The tagline is “Ride Your Music” and boy, is that an apt description. You play as a ship on a track, flying towards colored notes that appear based on a song imported from your music library. The track slows to a steady climb during bridges or breaks in a song, then frantically goes downhill like a roller coaster when the beat drops. As such, there are no good or bad levels, just good or bad songs. It’s not as good as either, but think Guitar Hero meets F-Zero.

Skrillex makes for one hell of a track

Story doesn’t come into the equation, nor should it. Audiosurf definitely falls into the “experimental” category, and can be as relaxing as a Peter Gabriel song, or as intense as Metallica. Collecting three of the same color tiles yields a bonus, so it’s definitely more of a puzzle/rhythm game that requires fast, twitch movements (again, based on your musical preference!) and attempts at beating a high score, rather than “passing” a certain level. It works.

But it really does depend on your taste, and finding the right song can take some time. Songs that I thought would be riveting ended up being flat. I found rap and hip-hop songs, with their lack of silence and fast paced lyrics, surprisingly tame to play through but ultimately the most enjoyable. You won’t really know what you’ll like, or how the Tron-like track will respond until you boot up and listen. I’m glad I did!

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