Impressions: Audiosurf 2

By Craig Pearson on October 7th, 2013 at 9:00 pm.

WHAT?

What a strange game Audiosurf 2 is. It landed on Steam Early Access last week, just when I was in the mood to take a long road trip along Total Eclipse of the Heart. I tuned in, hoping to turn around at high speeds and make it to the end of the line. Here’s how it went.

Chances are your MP3 collection is the densest folder on your hard-drive. My collection is just a dump of folders and files that I make sense of with tags, a music player’s inbuilt search function, and a bit of witchcraft. Audiosurf 2 has none of those. The server browser is laughable, currently just a list with no filters and a laggy menu crammed into a tiny box. I ended up pre-selecting a pile of songs that I thought might provide interesting tracks and putting them in their own folder. I can’t imagine that this won’t be fixed, because the previous game already allowed you to search with a Windows-based browser pop-up, and you could see a lot more songs in the default browser, but I’m surprised that it went up on Early Access with a such an intrinsic flaw. Ride my music? You need to help me find it, first.

The cramped and unhelpful file browser that cuts off song names of a certain length

The other major and upfront mistake is to force Wakeboarding onto the players the first time they play. Wakeboarding is a new way to play Audiosurf: you’re dragged along the song between two engines on either side of the track. You have to use the wake of those engines to jump into the air at big bumps on the track. Once up in the air, you pull tricks, flipping and spinning to gain points. It’s a confusing addition, and tough to master, with the move from sliding to actively riding the wake being a jittery motion that’s fairly disorienting. That’s not what you want when you’re haring down Bonnie’s raspy tones. You want precision and control. In the air, you’re supposed to select one of four moves to perform, and if you have the time you can combo them together. It didn’t matter if I used the keyboard, mouse, or joypad controls, they felt pre-canned and unsatisfying, and I was only doing them for points. On top of that, the first mode won’t allow you to attempt a trick if it knows there’s no time. Later on, when I unlocked all the modes, the game does allow you to pull off moves without being blocked, but for the first hour I was actively fighting against these strange, joy-sapping tricks when all I wanted to do was ride my music.

But that frustrating mode is all that’s open at the beginning, with the other levels, including the classic Audiosurf challenges, greyed-out until you pull off moves and earn a certain amount of points. That’s a particular problem when you select a track from your music that doesn’t support a long enough jump to pull off the large score. It took me a few goes, clumsily hunting for a song that would allow me to pass the prerequisites of jump length. Thank you Mister Thomas Squarepusher, your ridiculous and wonderful Dark Steering gave me the bounce I needed to succeed, but if you don’t click with it there’s nothing you can do until it’s over. (It should be noted that Audiosurf 2 comes with some tracks that will allow you to perform the tricks, but I only discovered this after about an hour because I don’t have much of a reason to play on tracks that I don’t already understand.)

Even when I did manage to do what the game asked me to, I just didn’t see the point. Wakeboarding’s visually spectacular, but it removes you from the intimacy of the original’s challenge. That excitement of seeing a music track you know every single beat of being turned into squares and hills, the joy of knowing a track’s bumps because you know the song’s beats – it’s gone when you’re spat into the air. Everything you loved about the song is below you, out of reach, as you lamely twist in the air for points. It’s a huge disconnect.

Things got better when I finally unlocked Mono and fell into it like a needle slipping into a groove. I was sliding along 212, scooping up coloured blocks and dodging greys, attempting to pile up the coloured blocks as Azelia Banks blasts filth. There’s a subtle change in this mode: in the original game, grey blocks had to be removed manually, a heart-breaking moment because when you hit it the multiplier would reset. Here it fades, and the blocks don’t seem to pile up for a multiplier, which kind of takes away from the tension.

A few more tracks—Britney’s Radar and Gaga’s Just Dance—reminded me of why I spent so much time on Audiosurf when it was released: it was a place to take those filthy little pop secrets and connect with them on an entirely different level. That’s why the Wakeboard parts don’t do it for me. There’s no connection. It’s Audiosurf gamified. I did play the original for points, but they were secondary to the music.

It’s a theory I tested out with my all-time favourite Audiosurf track on the newly unlocked (sigh) Wakeboard Grid mode. You collect coloured blocks to build up a multiplier that boosts the score for your jump, so the challenge is to hit the jump with the maximum multiplier. I deployed Girls Aloud’s Biology. It is the most glorious track you can possibly ride. I lost hours to it on Ninja Mono on the previous game. The additional challenge of collecting the blocks gives Wakeboard Grid a bit of a boost, but the two modes together are clumsy, like an exciting mashup that chooses the wrong bits of each song. I struggled with my timing, I pretty much failed at figuring what moves would slip into the grooves of each jump, and when I landed I felt lost. I should feel part of this song and not be fighting against it.

At least the integration of Steam Workshop changed my outlook. There are already new skins, models, and most importantly new modes. I downloaded a ‘dodge’ game mode that was a nice and relaxing inversion of the typical game scheme, avoiding every block that Britney’s Radar threw at me. That was particularly fun using the arrow keys. There’s a mono nitro mode on there that rubbed You Could Be Mine with neon polish and blasted it at me. I bumped across every drum beat, slid around the guitar solo, and was spat out the end of level, buoyed on a wave of Axl’s primal scream.

It was heartening: the potential is there, hidden beneath some poor menus and an insistence that you give a new game mode a shot. But it’s not the immediate slam dunk that Audiosurf was.

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82 Comments »

  1. VoltageSpike says:

    I actually don’t have an MP3 folder at all. Spotify and Youtube cover all of my music needs. I’d buy the game in a heartbeat f the Audiosurf and Spotify people could make it so the game would run off of what I was listening to on Spotify. Since I don’t have an MP3 folder, this game is a wash for me.

    • Rincewind says:

      Serious question: Are you 12? Or did you lose all of your MP3s in a tragic file accident caused by a reciprocating saw and a very amorous cat?

      I can’t imagine anyone born before the year 2000 not having an MP3 folder somewhere on their computer.

      • johnkillzyou says:

        Hey, erm, I dont think thats so strange. Just think about it: Why would you have MP3s taking up storage space when you can have big playlists of tracks on youtube?

        • P.Funk says:

          Because possessing music you adore is a part of a collection. My parents’ vinyl collection having been (mostly) gifted to me impressed upon me the satisfaction of that collection. Modern music listeners apparently have no such affection for their music, seeing it as clumsy if its there longer than it takes to get tired of listening to it.

        • Rincewind says:

          I… don’t know. Availability? I don’t have to pay for ongoing service? I don’t need the internet? I own the music and therefore may do with it as I wish, with no restrictions?

          Massive libraries of MP3s were standard as of a couple years ago, but has Spotify really been so successful as to change that? Am I an old fogey for having MP3s still?

          • LimEJET says:

            Spotify’s free though.

          • Arctem says:

            Availability is exactly why I use Spotify. I don’t have to worry about transferring my songs between devices, they’re just instantly there. I pay for Spotify (less than I would have spent to legally own all of the music I listen to on it), so I don’t have to deal with ads and I don’t need to be online to listen. I can’t “do what I want” with the songs, but I’m already listening so the only other thing I would want would be to use them in Audiosurf.

            Spotify is a completely valid alternative to just having tons of files on your computer, and there is a reason it has taken off as much as it has.

          • Contrafibularity says:

            Spotify? Availability? Free?

            Spotify has maybe 2% of all available music, most of which is old (as in the musicians are no longer alive) not to mention the free version is low-quality (of course even Premium isn’t high-quality as it suffers skips and can take time to load, and worse it doesn’t sound lossless in many cases). It’s amazing how random their offering is, but for new music which is not part of a major label it’s utterly atrocious. Many musicians who are on Spotify (voluntarily or not) have complained that they are not or barely compensated by Spotify; for example it takes 4 million streams a month for artists to get just the equivalent of a full-time US minimum wage ($1,160) whereas Spotify is now magically a billion dollar company (even if they pay out half of that to ALL the artist that’s still almost nothing for everyone who’s not Jay-Z or Lady Gaga). Spotify makes a lot of sense from Facebook/Spotify and the big labels’ point of view, but this comes at the expense of the musicians and the listeners.

            And considering storage capacity and bandwidth just keeps increasing there’s even fewer technical reasons for it to exist any longer. This is why many see it as a cash-grab, as evidenced in the fact that no one except Spotify seems very happy with it. The clients aren’t great pieces of software either, lacking even the most basic features that non-iTunes users have come to expect from music players.

            The worst part of it is that Spotify users who live by it are actually shunning music that’s not on there, and apparently going by the first comment that now even includes games. What. That just illustrates what dependence like this is doing.

          • GameCat says:

            “Spotify’s free though.”
            Last time I’ve checked my CDs (sadly no money for vinyl ;_;) and FLACs and MP3s they didn’t had these “ads” thing between songs.

            Free music my ass.

        • Faldrath says:

          And because you can get much better audio quality if you, say, own CDs/vinyl/FLAC files. I’m constantly baffled by people who claim to love music but only listen to streaming/youtube on crappy earphones.

          • darkChozo says:

            Because fidelity isn’t everything? That’s like saying you don’t understand how people can say they love games when they play them on a console.

            (audiophile-counteraudiophile fight go!)

          • povu says:

            ‘I’m streaming a video on youtube just for the music, so I’ll just switch it to 240p’ urghhh

          • dE says:

            Most folks probably don’t have Headphones good enough to really notice any difference. And if their headsets are, they probably lack a proper soundcard – or the appropiate Hi-Fi System to go along. Chances are, in assumption territory, most have a crappy throw away headset with some microphone tacked on. If they felt like getting the luxury edition, perhaps its one of those branded gaming headsets. Still bad.

            So yeah, you’re either an audiophile going the extra pay out of your arse distance – or there’s no audible difference really, because the hardware isn’t up to it.

            /edit:
            What I’m basing this on:
            Youtubers. Their recording devices barely seem to go above the 5$ pricetag with noticeable crackling sound and flat dull recording that makes any charismatic voice sound like it was punched through a trashcan. And they tend to make a living with that.

          • Koozer says:

            My personal pet hate throughout school were the people who-*shudder*-shared earphones to listen to an iPod. I just knew they wouldn’t even have the decency to set the output to mono.

          • Kitsunin says:

            I’m not a big audiophile myself, I don’t care whether I have an MP3 or a FLAC, though my speakers are good enough to tell the difference, if only slightly. However playing music on Youtube is just bad. When I listen to a song on Youtube, it’s fine, but then I download the song and there’s this whole layer of bassy goodness that Youtube just drops with its encryption, some even if you load the song at 720p (Which adds a huge and extremely obvious boost of fidelity, even using crappy ‘phones), which is a ridiculous waste of bandwidth, which I sometimes don’t have enough of.

            Living in a place with mediocre internet sucks, and kind of forces my hand towards actually downloading music. Though I’d probably do it anyways.

          • ChaosTherum says:

            Actually yeah I don’t understand how anyone who plays on game systems could enjoy gaming the only true gaming experience is one pc.

        • Vinraith says:

          If you care about music even a tiny bit, how can you not own any? Whether it be to collect it, to make sure you retain access to it, to ensure good quality, to support the artist, or all of the above, I absolutely cannot comprehend relying on streaming services for access to my music. .

        • liquidsoap89 says:

          “Not yet available in your country.”

          Thanks Spotify.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Yeah, I’d say that’s the biggest problem with streaming services. They’re never available in my country if I should live anywhere that doesn’t speak English (And apparently even Singapore which does!). I simply cannot stand services that pull that crap…yes I do know there’s more to it than that, but I don’t care.

          • dannyroth says:

            I use Rhapsody. It’s not too expensive, let’s you download the songs for offline listening, and has a pretty good selection. If I bought all the things I listen too, it’d cost me a crap ton of money.

        • otaconUCF says:

          Why have MP3s over playlists on youtube? Maybe because I’d prefer it not sounding like crap or be reliant on my access to the internet to listen to it?

        • Aklyon says:

          Well, considering youtube is prone to dmcas out of the blue, Especially for music, I’d prefer the stabilty of my mp3/ogg folder over youtube playlists.

      • MrSean490 says:

        I use to have an MP3 collection, but with the rise of Pandora I’ve never looked back. I don’t listen to music in any other way now, it’s all Pandora. Ok, sometimes Youtube for interesting remixes and stuff and the more less known things or if I want to hear one song specifically but yeah ever since music streaming services have come out, with auto recommendations and so on I can’t imagine ever listening to music in a different way. It’s the future.

        Also, I get bored of a song quite quickly (and then need a break from it) so I need a service like Pandora serving me new music all the time and eventually replaying ones I’ve liked. Perfect.

      • VoltageSpike says:

        32. You were just a hair off.

      • Sixsmith says:

        It’s amusing that people are acting superior over having some files on a computer.

        Personally, I’m poor. I love a lot of music, and I simply could not afford to buy all of the music I listen to. So, Spotify, while it has holes in its library (namely Joanna Newsom and best-Explosions in the Sky-album shaped holes), has a hefty percentage of what I like and is pretty much the only way I can listen to it.

        And to be honest, even if I had money, I’d probably keep using Spotify and spend the cash on a computer or something. I can’t see any practical difference between having music stored on your own computer and having it stored on a server somewhere.

        • ChaosTherum says:

          Really you can’t think of any other free way to get music come on people.

    • Cigol says:

      I can sympathise with this. I have a collection of MP3′s but they are on a backup-drive to save space. Nowadays I listen to my music through cloud services like Google music (since my phone only has 8GB storage to begin with). It hadn’t occurred to me how that would affect one of my favourite games though…

    • Faldrath says:

      Spotify and the like are thieves and you shouldn’t use them if you actually care about music. Chances are most musicians you like will have some way for you to buy directly from them. That’s much better.

      • Derppy says:

        It’s all about convenience.

        Spotify allows me to have access to nearly all the music I could possibly want on all my devices, in a blink of an eye, with synchronized private and collaborative playlists. It helps me discover new and interesting music by generating a “radio” based on music I like and when I find something interesting, I can just drag the album to my playlist and have it available everywhere.

        Do they pay ridiculously little to the artists? Yes, but consumers aren’t willing to drop the convenience to be fair towards the artists. Music industry needs to adapt and come up with a sustainable way to produce music while maintaining all the convenience demands.

        Just about every music pirate I know switched to Spotify and the reason for that wasn’t some morality issue they had with the piracy. The reason was that 50k tracks in Winamp was no longer the most convenient way to enjoy music.

        Screaming “spotify is bad” is essentially the same as screaming “piracy is bad”, people don’t give a damn and the only way they’ll ever switch is by offering them a better alternative. (see the impact Steam had on piracy, and the fact many people prefer a steam key to DRM-free download)

        Intergration to Spotify or Grooveshark will be Audiosurf 2′s most demanded feature and it’s very obvious why.

        • Faldrath says:

          I’m okay with using Spotify and the like as a way to sample songs/discover new music, but if you find you really like a song/album, then you should find a way to pay the artist for it. Just like I’m ok with torrenting a game if there’s no demo available, but if you like it you should buy it afterwards.

          Anything other than that is wrong. Artists work hard to create their art and should be paid for it. Trying to justify it in terms of “convenience” or “everyone else does it, they’ll just have to adapt” is a fairly weak case.

          • gwathdring says:

            I’m sort of in the middle. I can’t quite afford to just up and buy every album I want either physically or digitally and also still meet my other entertainment needs (or just normal needs for that matter). And I’m not going to stop listening to music I like if it’s available on Youtube or the artist’s website or Bandcamp out of some sense of propriety. But I’m going to prioritize and make sure I buy as steady a stream of albums as I can, and eventually get money to the artists I adore.

          • Krovlar says:

            If you can find a way for me to pay the artists directly for the music, bypassing the labels entirely, then I might be interested in that. As it is I have a choice of paying greedy, corrupt labels or greedy, corrupt streaming services. I choose streaming because I can’t hear a difference with lossless and it is FAR FAR more convenient to have all my music everywhere.

          • Sixsmith says:

            If the artist has agreed to have their music on Spotify then there’s kind of an implicit understanding that they’re okay with you using it.

          • Faldrath says:

            @Krovlar: As I said earlier, most artists will have some way in their website for you to pay them directly (unless they’re signed to majors, of course, but that’s their problem).

            @Sixsmith: Thing is, most times artists aren’t involved in this discussion. Spotify deals with labels, not artists, so often labels will sign agreements that are detrimental to artists and there’s little they can do – especially if their contract is old and doesn’t even mention digital rights.

        • ChaosTherum says:

          neither Steam no Spotify ever changed my ways yeah occasionally I will use spotify but the bulk of my time is spent with mp3s weather that be on my mp3 player tablet or laptop I just prefer mp3′s and beautiful 320 kbps bitrate. Also I won’t even buy a game if it has to be activated through steam I want to own my games not rent them.

    • trjp says:

      Making a game like this work with Spotify would be a pain-in-the-ass – repeated for Google Music and Pandora and whatever other services people are using

      Audiosurf needs to read the whole song before you start playing it – that flies against how streaming services work (indeed I’d imagine it’s something they’d actively discourage).

      If they had chosen to go that route – I’d imagine we’d have a wall of ‘online required!? fuck off…” complaints here instead tho – just goes to show…

      Make an MP3 folder of your fave tunes – you’ll thank me for playing this, Beat Hazard and – indeed – when your internet goes off…

      • blind_boy_grunt says:

        probably you are right, but when you look at those smart phone apps that tell you what music you are listening to it seems like they already have a bunch of it analysed (also the youtube content flagging), so they could use that as a starting point and do the rest on the servers or the client (no idea if any of that works as i think it works)

        • trjp says:

          That doesn’t work because the version of a particular song you have may not match the ‘sample’ song services like Shazam test against – there’s no such thing as just one ‘version’ of a song – tracks are editted/shortened/lengthened and, of course, play at SLIGHTLY different speeds on different devices…

          and finally – you’ve just racked-up an amazing score and – oh dead- an Internet hiccup just chopped your stream off – sorry about that – better luck next time.

          or local MP3s? :)

          • blind_boy_grunt says:

            “That doesn’t work because the version of a particular song you have may not match the ‘sample’ song services like Shazam test against – there’s no such thing as just one ‘version’ of a song – tracks are editted/shortened/lengthened and, of course, play at SLIGHTLY different speeds on different devices…”

            i was talking about something like an embedded version of audiosurf in for example spotify, so you wouldn’t/couldn’t have different versions.
            The slightly different speed i’m not sure about, because the analyzing tool doesn’t care about the actual playback on your hardware, right?

            “and finally … an Internet hiccup just chopped your stream off …”
            well, i was playing only ever on the easiest mode, so that i had something to do while listening to music, so basically i wouldn’t care.

          • Kitsunin says:

            It seems that your suggestions are reliant on Spotify actually cooperating specifically with Audiosurf to make such a system work. Do you honestly think that could happen? Even if it did the chance it’d be worth the effort is pretty tiny.

    • Calabi says:

      Its pretty sad what music is turning into with this streaming supremacy. But its what the kids want no ownership of anything and everyone getting screwed.

      • Napalm Sushi says:

        …And I wish I could feel more than the eensiest bit bad about being part of the problem. I really do.

        Unfortunately, I’ve discovered more new music of my favoured genres in the few months I’ve been using Spotify than I could possibly have either found or afforded over the previous three years.

        Curse your sterling convenience, first-class service and intimate knowledge of my musical tastes, Spotify! May Zeus have mercy on my soul.

        • Vandelay says:

          Honestly, this bitching about people who use Spotify sounds identical to bitching done about people playing a game on a console, something that I am sure many on here normally frown upon. Or worse, it is no better than yelling “get off my lawn.”

          I’ve never been a big music buyer. The music I listened to was always taken from my brothers’ collections. I probably own about 10-15 CDs max. Now with Spotify I can listen to 2 to 3 hours of music everyday and discover artists I would never of heard otherwise. So maybe my listening habits have just always been unusual.

          It is a valid point about artists not receiving the cut they deserve. However, the music industry has always been shocking in handling that side, as well as slow to adapt to new ways of listening music. It is their responsibility to catch up though, just as they need to create new online markets to compete with piracy and I don’t feel any obligation to adopt less convenient listening habits to compensate for this (except for using illegal methods to acquire music – I would not pirate music, film or games.)

          Spotify integration on this game would probably be an immediate sale for me; without, I’m not interested.

    • Grottismo says:

      Boi how can you do that, I have everything in flac/ripped cd unless i really cant get it any other way, I archive all the shit

    • dmoe says:

      Good lord, what planet are you beings from?

      • LionsPhil says:

        At least nobody is demanding Ogg Vorbis support.

        • Serebro says:

          Some of us likely will ask for Ogg Vorbis support, once the larger issues are addressed. That said, I do love the game and the mods I’ve gotten so far. As my music collection is organised by artist, I don’t have the issues others do with massive folders of mixed MP3s, but I can see where that would be an issue for people with smaller collections or those who are less OCD about their file management than me. (The original reason for sorting it was that 3k songs in a folder was getting unwieldy, but it’s grown far larger than that over the years.)

    • MountAndGames says:

      I’m all for the idea of having a personal collection of anything, whether it’s the game boxes in my bottom shelf that tell a story going back to my very earliest memories of gaming, or the vast number of books I can choose from at the parents’ house, but to me what distinguishes these is length. I don’t need to own many games, they can take weeks to get through and I don’t always need to have a game on the go, and can revisit, making each box and disk worth owning. With books, you get interested, buy it, read it over days or weeks, and then put it on the shelf for another day and almost as a souvenir.

      DVDs and Music are different. These things take years for artists to create, but suffer in my eyes because they are brief for the consumer. Since leaving home I have collected a few films, and my video folder is now one of the largest and most personal on my small hard drive, when I was forced to clear space last week I couldn’t bring myself to touch any of it. We may be past the days of DVD collections but my film collection is still important to me, more so than the DVDs back home because these are all films I enjoy and chose to watch.

      So I don’t know why I feel such a different relationship with my music. Again, albums are another thing my parents have a large collection of, but even they barely touch those any more, having followed me in using spotify. Sure, they wouldn’t sell the ones they have, but they have expanded their musical tastes massively since taking up streaming, listening to music from different times, genres, artists. For me, I got hold of spotify just as I was growing out of having a tiny collection of albums which I listened to too much and listening to the radio for anything else. Now spotfiy is a big part of my daily routine, usually open, whether listening to music in the background or relaxing and taking it in properly. I couldn’t afford to buy all the music on there myself, and wouldn’t have the space for it physically, as well as losing the ability to find something new from a memory or simply on a whim.

      As suggested in these comments, I did have a small music folder until last week of music that was important to me, both from CDs and other sources, but when clearing space on this small hard drive I realised it had to go, as I simply hadn’t touched it for any purpose other than audiosurf. It was all available to me on spotify, both online and off, and I simply had no reason to go to that folder. Maybe when I manage to build my own PC I’ll put back together a small collection of legitimately owned music, my botched attempt to buy components left me with a massive drive to fill when it’s finally put into a computer, but even then audiosurf would not be a viable use of my time as I’d have such limited music to put through it. Spotify support would make this game a must buy.

  2. PoLLeNSKi says:

    Yes to Squarepusher.

    That is all.

  3. Aerothorn says:

    Craig, typo in the article I think:

    “in the original game, grey blocks had to be removed manually, a heart-breaking moment because when you hit it the multiplier would reset. Here it fades manually, and the blocks don’t seem to pile up for a multiplier, which kind of takes away from the tension.”

    I’m assuming one of those “manually”s should be “automatically?”

  4. Arathain says:

    Was there a UN mandate passed stating that all games ever have to include unlocking major features? Who thought “You know what would make Audiosurf better? If we took away the different game modes until you’d played some arbitrary amount! I’m a design genius.”

    I think everyone will want to engage with Audiosurf on a slightly different level, and different folk will naturally prefer different modes. Let them find the mode they like early, lest they give up on the game before they can.

    • Stan Lee Cube Rick says:

      I despise unlocks in games. It wasn’t fun in Call of Duty, it wasn’t fun in fighting games, and it’s definitely not going to be fun in Audiosurf.

      <3 the Squarepusher. Very nice.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      Agreed. Audiosurf isn’t the type of game that needs unlocks. Period. For me, Audiosurf is Eraser Elite. Nothing more, nothing less, and I’m not looking forward to gritting my teeth and bearing with the other modes.

    • Arathain says:

      I don’t hate unlocks. There are lots of games in which I really enjoy a progression of new toys over many hours of playing. Audiosurf is not one of those games. I come to it in the mood for a very specific experience. Unlocks would seem to prevent me from having the experience I want.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        I’d agree with that. Although I think the games in which I like unlocks are few. Something like Rogue Legacy or Orcs must die in which the gameplay is fun from the start but augmented by unlocks through progression.

        I’ll most likely get Audiosurf 2 if only because I’ve been wanting Audiosurf for MacOS for ages now.

  5. Faldrath says:

    Audiosurf was the first game I bought on Steam and I still have it installed, so when I saw this early release I immediately added it to my cart. Thankfully something distracted me and when I came back I took the time to actually browse the forums before completing the purchase, and it does look like the game is still very early and crude (crucially, track generation from music seems to be worse than the original Audiosurf).

    It doesn’t look like there’s much point in buying this now unless you really like to pay to troubleshoot a game.

    • Jalan says:

      It was also the first purchase I made on Steam. Even though my activity on it has waned greatly, I’ve never uninstalled.

      I was really tempted to impulse buy Audiosurf 2. Because, well, Audiosurf. But after reading similar comments to your own I began to rethink the decision. This game seems as though it has been in development for at least two years now and one comment I’d read was how badly done the entire UI was which makes me wonder as to what has actually been going on with the time before it came to Early Access for everyone willing to pay in to test.

      That and some of the other noteworthy gripes, like the need to unlock modes, are putting me off buying it even further (at least for now). I was initially skeptical the first time I saw a video of wakeboard mode (and it still looks as though it goes against the core gameplay mechanic in Audiosurf overall, trading off actual challenge for a bunch of annoyingly “pretty” visual bits ‘n bobs) and with all the chatter about how unfinished the game still seems, it’ll likely be at least another year before I reconsider buying this again.

    • Tams80 says:

      It was the first game I bought as well. In fact I only started using Steam because I wanted to play it. Such a great game and other than Beat Hazard (which doesn’t quite click with me), probably the only good use your own music to play game.

      However I was never interested in Audiosurf 2 after I read the first article about it. Wakeboarding sounded like it wouldn’t fit the gameplay at all. It would seem that was a good choice.

  6. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    I’d have bought this in a heartbeat if it had just been a deeper, more refined Ninja Mono.

    Hey, I just had a thought. What if Race the Sun generated its levels from your music?

    • NathanH says:

      It’s worth noting that there is a really fast version of mono in Audiosurf 2 that seems way more intense and difficult than Ninja Mono, and there’ll likely be lots of mono mods on the workshop because it’s a really popular mode, so this is worth keeping an eye on at least.

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        Thanks! I’ll keep an eye on Audiosurf 2 then.

  7. aliksy says:

    I disapprove of this “unlocking game modes” crap. I hope they throw that out, or there’s a config option to skip it.

    • lightstriker says:

      The article is misleading.
      There’s a tutorial that locks you into waverider basic. The second you finish the tutorial, you unlock everything.

      Still not a good idea, but it’s not like there’s a grind/ you “Earn” anything.

  8. identiti_crisis says:

    Well, all this makes me want to do is boot up Audiosurf. Ninja Mono-er here, too. :)
    Free time, away!

  9. LintMan says:

    I really really like the idea of Audiosurf (ie: cruising to custom tracks based on your music), but the match-3 and block collecting style gameplay is boring as heck. I really wish someone would take the audiosurf concept and somehow apply it to a different, non-block/match3-based gameplay style. The wakeboard stuff sounds different, but unfortunately, it doesn’t sound all that appealing either.

    • Polysynchronicity says:

      Look into Dejobaan Games’ “Kick It!” – music-based levels but with gameplay along the lines of their earlier base jumping title, “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA”

  10. TheSwitch says:

    Owing to the fact this is Early Access, and that the developer had previously stated that Audiosurf Air [now Audiosurf 2] was to go hand-in-hand with Audiosurf 1, I believe the forced wakeboarding is so people actually test it out for provide feedback, because I seem to recall a really long time ago, you were forced to do lower tiers of your favorite track mode [Mono, then Mono Pro and finally Ninja] before jumping straight into the deep end. A restriction that was lifted over time.

    Now, I’d assume that the changing from Air to Audiosurf 2 is to appease those of us who are tired of Questviewer being absolutely awful, and a straight up successor being greatly desired. I expect post early-access, wakeboarding won’t be forced.

    My only real concern is the scoreboard. I really enjoyed the scorboards aspect, and I’m not 100% sure how that will work with custom game modes through the workshop being a thing.

  11. NathanH says:

    If you are struggling to get the required score to unlock all modes, the first song of the sample songs included with the game (“Riding in the Air” or something like that) has lots of really huge jumps early in the song that make it reasonably trivial.

    Also make sure to have the graphics quality set to Medium or above, or you won’t see the wave tops.

  12. jwfiore says:

    You have some exceptionally weird taste in music, Mr. Pearson.

  13. LionsPhil says:

    My main problem with the Audiosurf 1 demo was that it didn’t understand my music.

  14. megurushi says:

    If you pay for Spotify you can download the music at 320 kbps, I’m quite happy with that. It probably takes up more space than my, now deleted, MP3 collection. I can also have it on mobile devices, so I get that same quality in the car.
    I have discovered a lot more music since using it, I would say I listen and appreciate music more because of Spotify (other services are available).

    All said and done, means I can’t play this game! Arse…

  15. Lambchops says:

    hmm, pretty much confirms my thoughts that I’d be sticking to the original when I needed an Audiosurf fix. It does the job.

  16. Serebro says:

    One of the points that I think people have failed to mention is that this is an EARLY ACCESS game–in other words, a playable alpha/beta released for wider feedback from the community in order to better tailor it to what that community would like to see.

    There’s a note on Steam about some updates:

    Added steam avatars to scoreboards
    Fixed online scoreboards allowing scores for every player, for every song, for every mod
    Added mouse speed to options screen
    Added sound effects volume to options screen
    Removed mouse acceleration
    Removed unlocking requirement for non-wakeboard modes
    Added My Music shortcut to song browser
    Fixed double-clicking play triangle sometimes causing hang on loading screen
    Fixed playing in offline mode

    Apparently, he’s reading the comments and listening to them, as he’s fixed a couple of issues that people have mentioned here: the unlocking requirement for anything but wakeboard mode and the inability to have the sound effects silent. There are also a couple of other tweaks that appear to fix less-common issues. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t release a search function at some point.

    So…it’s early access. While it may not be quite to your taste right now if you know and love the original, he’s looking to make it BETTER than the original. Keep giving feedback. If it’s to the point where you love what he’s done already, then give it a shot. If it’s not, then give it time and watch to see what it does–wishlist it to remind you to come back and look again if you need to!