AudioSurf

I picked up this fun casual game in the Steam sale for £1.50 yesterday. AudioSurf is essentially like Columns – collect the colours in blocks of three. It looks a lot like Guitar Hero, but doesn’t require the twitch timing skill to hit the passing block at the precise moment – instead, you just have to have the reflexes to be able to dodge and weave past the nasty grey blocks while you’re collecting the others.

The fun with AudioSurf is that it rummages through your music collection and reinterprets each sound file as a set of raw data from which it builds each level. Each drum beat becomes a bump in the road, and musically dense sections become steep slopes. The rest of it is interpreted as fireworks and spinning lights for a rollercoaster ride through your record collection. Faster songs become harder levels, and the gameplay experience matches the type of song you’ve loaded in. Psychedelic songs by Foetus and Cardiacs become dizzying, unsettling experiences, and seem to confuse it slightly, since it doesn’t know where to place the emphasis. Slow, brooding tracks are good for relaxation but make less interesting levels. Lykke Li’s Get Some worked pretty well.

My Girl Talk level was – like the record – a varied but slightly shallow tour. Lady Gaga’s Just Dance had so  much bounce it was terrifying, and Disturbed’s Megadeth-a-like Perfect Insanity was immediately enjoyable but quickly forgotten. The Venture Bros soundtrack sounded pretty good, so I’m thinking funky soundtrack stuff and heavy rock has the best mix of strong rhythms and intricate layers of sound to build the best levels. Something like Faith No More would work really well.

AudioSurf is a popcornish colour-matcher that allows you to play your records: a very easy sell for me. Fans of Bejeweled should definitely investigate, though it’s been out for a couple of years, so you probably already have.

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