The Colour Of Music: Audiosurf Air Rides In

Once upon a time, Audiosurf was briefly RPS’ favourite game ever (although not in the case of John, who only likes beat-free music featuring men with nasal American accents*. Or Jim, who doesn’t like emotions). We put in our songs, we turned them into blissfully surreal racetracks/match-3 puzzles, we fought endlessly for higher scores to prove we knew our most beloved songs better than anyone else did. And then we stopped. Why? Oh, there’s probably an essay in that, but the candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, basically.

I earnestly hope that newly-announced sequel Audiosurf Air will bring about a new fever for digital synesthesia, though: I have almost a half-year of new music that was never Audiosurfed, all manner of new colour-explosions, rollercoaster drops and giddy undulations potentially awaiting me.

What we don’t know is, well, anything. Audiosurf Air is built in Unity, will be out this year and, judging by the screenshots will see the block-dodging match-3 element return. What could that ‘Air’ mean? Is it just a subtitle? Does it suggest this is primarily made for mobile telephones? Or will be the first game that only runs on Macbook Airs? Or that creator Dylan Fitterer has delved so far into the realisation of the ephemeral that this new game exists only as as a flickering presence in the wind, only sensed and never truly seen? We shall find out soon, no doubt.

My greatest hope is that we can plug Spotify directly into it, so when I’m engaging, say, Kieron in a Kate Bush-off I can be 100% sure we are playing the same file without having to naughtily post MP3s to each other. Which we definitely never did, right?

More pictures and, later on, details at the official siteweb. You can also sign up for an as-yet unspecified beta there, if you’re willing to throw your email address into the hat.

* John also likes the music of Azealia Banks.


  1. povu says:

    Time for some Music With Rocks In! \m/

  2. fionny says:

    Oh something to look forward to! Would be awesome if you could link up with a friend and compete in the same song in real time.

  3. ran93r says:

    Might be worth noting that there is a beta sign up on the site for the low cost of an email address.
    I didn’t play all that much of the original via steam but I’m intrigued about the prospect of this going mobile.

  4. Innovacious says:

    It certainly looks like audiosurf. Im not sure about all those blocky things along the edge. The track in audiosurf was pretty sleek and simple, and i like that, it looks too busy here. Still early days yet though i guess..

  5. Dr. Heldenveldenstetzenberger says:

    I had completely forgotten about the gem that was audiosurf.

  6. Lambchops says:

    Audiosurf was brilliant, one of my go to games for a quick blast of fun/music.

    Not sure if it really needs a sequel but i’ll definitely keep an eye on it.

  7. Robmonster says:

    If they can get it to work with Spotify then it’ll be a winner .Who has mp3’s any more?

    • 4026 says:

      I know, right? Ever since the rise of cheap storage, I store all my music as FLAC.

      • Gaytard Fondue says:

        Who needs FLAC when Vorbis is available? ( And no, you can’t hear the difference. And yes, I too know a few “audiophiles” who claim all sorts of hearing magic, but as a physicist I can assure you that it’s all bs.

        • jalf says:

          Erm…. That’s even more bs. I’m not sure how exactly being a physicist qualifies you as an expert in perceptual encoding or the human ear and associated bits and pieces.

          Vorbis is a lossy codec. So the difference exists. Whether or not the difference is audible depends on (a) the quality of the hardware playing the sound file, and (b) the recipient. Different people are able to hear sound in different frequencies. And even if you can’t consciously hear a certain frequency, you might otherwise sense the air vibration it causes.

          like any other decent lossy codec, it tries to cut away on the frequencies that most people don’t hear/notice. But again, what people are able to hear differs from person to person (and changes significantly with age)

          Unless being a physicist means “being able to redefine the laws of physics”, I don’t think your profession qualifies you to change those facts.

          • inawarminister says:

            “Unless being a physicist means “being able to redefine the laws of physics”,”
            This is the TRUTH ofc
            With the chemists handling all 108 elements though, our rise is a bit messy right now.

        • 4026 says:

          In truth, the main problem with both FLAC and Vorbis is entirely unrelated to quality; it’s compatibility. Whatever portable media player I’m using at a given time is unlikely to support much other than MP3, so I store my music as FLAC to avoid having to do lossy-to-lossy vorbis-to-mp3 transcoding (which can get a bit artefacty) when loading music onto my phone.

          • avarisclari says:

            Regardless, you all forget AS supported Vorbis and Flac anyway

          • Gaytard Fondue says:

            Samsung supports Vorbis, so I’m fine. And the physicist part was aimed at “audiophiles” trying to explain their observations me with “nah, it has to do with science and stuff, not physics, so you wouldn’t understand”

            Yeah, I know people THAT stupid.

          • drewski says:

            I would have played a lot more Audiosurf if it recognised CD tracklistings properly.

            I just couldn’t be bothered ripping a new CD every time I wanted to surf a song off it.

  8. bwion says:

    Audiosurf was the game I got a Steam account for. (I was using Steam with a dialup account. From what I recall, the official recommendations for doing so amounted to: “What are you, mad?!?”)

    Point is, I love me some Audiosurf, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do with the sequel. (I assume it will be a first-person co-op shooter of some kind, this being the platonic ideal toward which all games inevitably develop.)

    • Tams80 says:

      I also got Steam purely in order to play Audiosurf. Such fun game!

      Nothing to do with air really, but I thnk Audiosurf would be pretty interesting in 3D.

  9. Da5id Jaz says:

    I always really wished that Audiosurf was more like Chromadrome 2. For those who don’t know, Chromadrome was this awesome little game where you ran a track and dodged obstacles. It was (and is) incredibly addictive with two players (taking turns in a dorm room, for example), and I always thought it would be even more excellent with the map bumping to your own beats. Chromadrome lets you put in your own music, but it doesn’t do anything to the track. Oh to dream…

  10. Fetthesten says:

    A thousand times yes to the Spotify thing. Stopped playing Audiosurf entirely when I switched to Spotify and then lost all my MP3s in a hard drive crash.

    Also: Azealia Banks is great.

  11. Teovald says:

    I hope that this new Audiosurf will have tracks that are more closely impacted by the music and that the gameplay will be playable by colorblinds this time around.
    Using Unity is a smart move if you consider that it is the kind of game that would work perfectly (after an alteration of the controls of course) on Android or iOS.

  12. djbriandamage says:

    Audiosurf is one of my favourite games of all time and in my opinion is one of the most important games ever. It’s an small indie team triumph that made its creator moderately rich, it’s got a fiercely competitive community, it featured indie artists every week, and it’s the closest I’ve ever seen to my PC dancing with me to my favourite music.

    I followed Dylan Fitterer on Twitter (@DylanFitterer) and this recent announcement was his first tweet in 3 years, but it justified my patience. Can’t wait to see what he’s come up with this time, and this will be a day 1 purchase at just about any price.

  13. RagingLion says:

    It could just be for other platforms couldn’t it?

    I too would really like the Spotify plug-in as that’s where I get my music from now. I don’t really own that much.

    I’d also like to see improved algorithms for producing tracks that feel like the music that they’re playing along to. I always felt they could be better. That the tracks often didn’t get the feel of the music across.

  14. Xaromir says:

    Awesome! Signed up for the beta. If this is only half as awesome as the original it will be freaking amazing.

  15. zaphod42 says:

    If they’re using Unity engine, then doesn’t that imply that “Audiosurf AIR” means it is playable in a browser, online? (“In the cloud” so to speak) Rather than say, for the macbook air?

    • djbriandamage says:

      That was my first thought, but the original Audiosurf was made in Unity as well and it wasn’t browser-based.

  16. manveruppd says:

    I suppose the chance they’re reading this and taking notes is miniscule, but the only thing the original Audiosurf sucks at is orchestral music, cause it only seems to detect percussion-based rhythm lines. As a result, even really fast and rhythmical orchestral pieces (think 2nd movement of Beethoven’s 9th as an example) get converted into really flat and placid tracks. If Air is better at this kind of music, then I might be tempted to buy.

    OK was a bit pointless posting this here I suppose, a lot of people complained about this on their forum anyway :)

    • djbriandamage says:

      I disagree completely! I primarily play electronic music but I found the game really picked up on pizzicato and especially vibrato and sustained string notes and chords. The natural vibration from strings made the track plummet downward. The game works best with songs that have a range and are not so constant in tempo and intensity, and in my experience classical music fits that description more often than other genres.

  17. Carra says:

    I’ve spent a lot of time with this game and was wondering why they never made a sequel. I’m happy to see they’re making one.

  18. liquidsoap89 says:

    I don’t know why but I always enjoyed Beat Hazard more. In Audiosurf a slow part of a song is always boring… You move slow and there’s less to do. In Beat Hazard a slow part always feels more dangerous because you’re less powerful. I always enjoy going from something heavy and intense to a sudden slowdown, basically giving the game an odd survival aspect.

    Plus all I ever do in Audiosurf is the ninja mode where you dodge grey blocks. I don’t think I ever even tried the other modes, they all seem like they would just distract me from just listening to the music casually.

    • Dare_Wreck says:

      I’m a much bigger fan of Beat Hazard, too. I never quite understood the high regard for Audiosurf, as I found it to be a really tedious match-3 game. I can certainly appreciate others’ liking it, but I could never spend more than 5 minutes with it before I got bored and/or frustrated with it.

      • Tokamak says:

        I would say Beat Hazard is probably better, or at least more gamey as whole, but Audiosurf is better as a music game, in how it interprets the music for gameplay purposes.

  19. ColOfNature says:

    I see hands in those screenshots. Clearly Audiosurf Air is going to be an FPS.

  20. LintMan says:

    I’d have enjoyed Audiosurf a lot more if it didn’t boil down to being yet another match-3 game. Those just don’t hold my interest for very long. I’d really really love to see the audio-based track concept applied to other forms of game, maybe something that tied the music closer in to the gameplay.

  21. Dances to Podcasts says:

    The Air obviously means we’ll be surfing to nothing but Sexy Boy.

  22. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    Most of the commenters above seem to have been playing Audiosurf wrong.

    There is no match-3, or coloured blocks.

    There is only Ninja Mono.