Audiosurf had a lot of merit and a lot of luck. It was 2008, Steam was not yet the chaotic giant it is today, no one had yet given a playful function to the myriad of music files that were accumulating on hard drives and the concept of "independent developer" was much less mainstream than it is today. . Dylan Fitterer, passionate about music and new technologies, simply found the perfect mathematical formula to give a collective sense to objects that the industry had never wanted to bring together.
The basic idea, which we also find unchanged in Audiosurf 2, was and is of a disarming simplicity: to create a playable audiovisual synaesthesia. Like? The player simply has to select a piece of music that the system takes care of transforming into a circuit on which objects are distributed, whether they are bonus blocks to collect or obstacles to avoid. In the most popular mode, the Mono one, the bonuses are stacked in a grid placed under the vehicle driven by the player, which varies according to the chosen graphic theme. Aligned three blocks a timer starts at the end of which points are assigned calculated on the number of blocks piled. The timer can be reset by collecting more blocks, so you can stack more and get higher and higher scores. The resulting gameplay is actually very meager, but other contingent factors enrich it. The first is the visual richness of the tracks, characterized by a fascinating psychedelic abstraction (at least for the integrated themes). The second is the challenge offered. Each piece of music in fact allows you to compete against anyone else who has used it to create a track, giving a competitive dimension to what remains an overall relaxing gaming experience. If you have not yet understood it, up to now the two Audiosurf are overlapping. The second chapter, however, takes some decisive steps forward in certain areas, but equally decisive steps backward in others.
One of the biggest difficulties Fitterer must have encountered developing Audiosurf 2 is figuring out how to make it evolve. Unfortunately, the nature of the game does not allow for major revolutions, so he tried to exploit its elements to create variations on the formula already expressed. The result is ambivalent, in the sense that Audiosurf 2 works where Audiosurf does again, but gets lost where it tries to go further. For example, one of the most criticizable novelties is the random generation of paths, which tries to overcome the lack of variety, but creates several structural problems that are far worse.
In Audiosurf selecting a song and a level of difficulty, the latter possibility not present in the following, always created the same path. As already mentioned, the variety was lower than the sequel, but it benefited the competition, because the challenge was homogeneous among players from all over the world. In Audiosurf 2 this is not the case and the ranking is obviously adulterated by the greater or lesser luck in the random distribution of blocks. Sure, you get better with practice, but the doubt of a record made thanks to a particularly lucky match is always there like a guest of stone to ruin the overall sense of the challenge. From this point of view, it matters little that the circuits are more beautiful, the objects more colorful and the tracks more varied, even if only from a morphological point of view: where chance becomes an oppressive factor, competition dies. Other unsuccessful novelties are the alternative modes, such as the puzzle mode in which you have to move the blocks collected while playing, or the Wakeboard, in which you accumulate blocks to prepare for spectacular jumps. In both cases the problem is that the additional actions required clash with the speed of what happens on the screen. In short, the action is overall not very legible. The conclusion is that a few games are enough to return to playing only the Mono mode and its variants, such as the Ninja in which the goal is not to end up on the spikes, not penalized by the inevitable visual chaos.
Will Audiosurf 2 manage to keep up the name of its predecessor? Find out in our review
Another problem, in this case not attributable to the developer, is the lower success of Audiosurf 2 compared to its predecessor, which translates into many songs without opponents. In fact, there are scores to be challenged only in the most famous songs and in those proposed by SoundCloud, integrated with the game (for those wondering, no Spotify).
Unfortunately, Fitterer's new effort pays off for not being an absolute novelty anymore: in 2008 there was only Audiosurf, in 2015 there is still Audiosurf but also many clones and a decidedly changed market. The appeal of the offer is therefore less and many of the potential customers are saturated and disinterested in reliving the same experience. In short, Audiosurf 2 is perfect if you want to play alone with the music you prefer, but it is paradoxically limited by its new features that seem to have been put there more to justify the number "2" than for true design inspiration. On the other hand, someone might be attracted by the renewed graphics, much better than that of the previous episode. Not only are the integrated themes very beautiful and spot on from a stylistic point of view, but the integration with the Steam Workshop has already allowed modders to have their say, publishing new themes, some of which are particularly successful. In short, from this point of view Audiosurf 2 is a nice discovery, which will surely reserve some surprises also in the immediate future.
- Intel Core i7 -4770 processor
- 16 GB of RAM
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 video card
- Windows 8.1 operating system
- Operating system: Windows Vista / 7/8
- Processor: 32 or 64-bit Dual Core or higher
- Video card: Intel HD3000
- RAM: 2 GB
- DirectX: 11
- Disk space: 400 MB
Audiosurf 2 is a title that can be judged in two completely distinct ways: on the one hand there is the visual experience itself that is worth the ticket and which reserves several surprises. If you like psychedelia or, in any case, electronic abstraction in general, the risk of falling in love with the game is real, thanks also to the integration with the Workshop which exponentially increases the possibilities of visual fascination. On the other hand, it does exactly what its predecessor did and, in some cases, it does it worse. The choice of random tracks also for online competitions, which kills one of the most valuable elements of Audiosurf, is hardly acceptable. The new modes themselves are a minor addition and are easily forgotten. In short, it is clear that appreciating it or not depends very much on how you approach it and what you are looking for.
- The graphic renewal was very successful
- The Workshop is a precious source of visual beauty
- Integration with SoundCloud
- Mono mode and its basic variants
- New forgettable modes
- Random tracks kill the competition
- No selectable difficulty levels for individual modes