An indie videogame developed almost solely by Dylan Fitterer and available for purchase on Steam for a low price.
Throw F-Zero into a Klax track and make it a music game (though not a Rhythm Game in terms of timing button presses) in much the same vein as FreQuency and Amplitude (by Harmonix of Guitar Hero and Rock Band fame), gauge performance by implementing an online scoreboard for every single song played, and design the game so that it can take almost any audio track in most common formats and generate a playable track out of it. Y'know, the sort of game that is probably a controlled substance in several countries. The genre is hard to pin down, but can broadly be described as a Puzzle Game.
The gameplay is deceptively simple. The game has you riding a small spaceship down a colorful, bumpy track (its shape generated based on the music file you provide the game with) with colored blocks scattered throughout, which you use to score points. There are two major game modes: Mono and Puzzle, the latter being divided into several "characters" or playing styles (Pointman, Pusher, Vegas, Eraser, and Double-Vision.) Both require you to match up three same-colored blocks, but in Mono there is only one type of color block, and gray blocks you have to avoid. The Puzzle modes have three to five colors depending on difficulty level, along with an array of powerups. The objective is to make as many and as large matches as possible (and if you're on Mono, do it without hitting any greys) to get a high score.
The ability to play any song is the game's unique selling point. Rather than being restricted to whatever tracks and artists the developers could buy, you can just go with anything in your CD collection. If your music collection sucks, then there's also the in-game "radio" system where the developer selects a bunch of indie tracks suggested to or discovered by him; plus the fact that the game comes with the Orange Box soundtrack bundled with it for free. Yes, that includes Still Alive.
A free version of the game called Audiosurf: Tilt was released for the short-lived Zune HD in November 2009. The gameplay was a much simpler version of Mono; the goal of Tilt was to collect as many blocks as possible while avoiding roadblocks by using the device's accelerometer. Hitting a roadblock caused the ship to leap into the air, preventing the ship from being able to capture blocks for a short time. Collecting blocks allowed players to purchase more track designs. It is no longer available to download due to Microsoft's discontinuation of the Zune brand.
A sequel called Audiosurf 2 is currently available on Steam. Unlike the original game, the sequel takes its title rather literally with the player now playing as a cyber-wakeboarder who, in addition to picking up blocks similar to the original games Mono mode now must use the tempo of the song to launch himself into the air and do flip and grab tricks. Check it out here.
See also Beat Hazard.
Tropes surfed over by this game include:
- Alternate Reality Game: Is one of the Potato Sack: 13 indie games that form the bulk of the material of Valve's "PotatoFoolsDay" Portal 2 ARG.
- Bullet Hell: Audiosphere mode in the second game, as well as the Workshop "Evasion" mod.
- Character Select Forcing:
- If you want the Pro throne on a popular song, and it's a slower one, using any character other than Vegas will probably be futile. Prior to the update that buffed Vegas and Eraser, it was Pointman dominating the scoreboards.
- And if you want the throne on any popular song, it's nearly impossible to do so if you use one of the Mono characters.
- No matter which mode you choose, songs marked [as-portal] will be defaulted to Pointman.
- Difficulty Spike:
- Any Elite character on Ironmode.
- Happens a lot in-song too- Radioactive by Kings of Leon goes insane when there is a chorus.
- Same happens in Shut Up and Explode by Boom Boom Satellites - while never exactly a cake walk, it goes scarlet close to the end.
- Bioxeed music (from Dystopia or otherwise), tend to start off slowly then go intense as soon as the main part of the song kicks in.
- Disney Acid Sequence: Edit the screen colours and select the screen filter to create your own special acid trip!
- Double Play: Double Vision gives you two cars to control, either yourself or with a second player.
- Do Well, but Not Perfect: There is no reward for getting every block in a ride, but there 'is' a "Clean Finish" bonus for making sure your board is clear by the time the level ends.
- Everything Dances: The background objects dances to the music, whatever they are. Even the road you're surfing on bounces and bumps to the beat!
- Excuse Plot: Some folks over at GameFAQs came up with one here.
- Falling Blocks: It's not game over if you let a column fill up (unless you're on Ironmode), but it will set you back.
- Game-Breaking Bug: A Minor one when playing with a controller, your ship still moves when paused if the control stick is tilted. If you are near any Grey blocks, well, say goodbye to your Perfect Run.
- Game Mod: Thanks to Audiosurf 2's Steam Workshop integration, there are endless new gamemodes to play and skins to use, turning the game's already endless replayability Up to Eleven.
- Hostile Show Takeover: Combined with Crossover and Breaking the Fourth Wall. During the Potato Fools Day ARG, GLaDOS from Portal invaded the game and forced players to play The Device Has Been Modified (in first person, holding a Portal Gun, no less). Getting Gold on the level unlocks a clue to solving the ARG's puzzle.
- These elements of the game are still available today and will be activated when playing a song with the [as-portal] tag in the title, which is automatically added in songs from the Portal OST.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Casual, Pro, and Elite; the Elite version of Mono is "Ninja Mono." Some characters are restricted by level: Eraser and Pusher aren't available on Casual, and Vegas is Pro only. Ironmode is not a separate difficulty level, but a modifier that can be applied to any playstyle and level.
- Interface Screw: The [as-bankcam] and [as-swind] tags.
- Also, [as-first], as you can't see incoming blocks.
- Luck-Based Mission:
- Vegas's special abilities are entirely luck-based, and no matter which character you play, powerups and white blocks won't be in the same places every time.
- Due to the prevalence and random positioning of the Paint and Multiplier powerups, any Puzzle character on Casual or Pro levels can fit this trope, at least when good players are jockeying for the top spot on the scoreboards.
- Marathon Level: Literally any long piece of music will make one. A song greater than 12 minutes can go for 300k-400k on average run in Ninja Mono. If's it's upbeat, expect higher.
- There is an achievement for successfully avoiding all gray blocks in a Marathon Level on Ninja Mono.
- Match-Three Game
- Meta Multiplayer: Of the Leaderboards variety.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Make any audio file into something playable into this game. ANYTHING.
- Music Player Game: Trope Codifier.
- Overly Long Gag: This run of John Cage's 4'33".
- Scoring Points: It's one of the few modern games wherein a high score is the main goal.
- Sequel Difficulty Spike: Audiosurf 2 is significantly more difficult, due to both gameplay and aesthetic reasons. On the gameplay side, Audiosurf 2 is much better at handling very fast songs, giving you far less reaction time than its predecessor. On the visual side, modding support allows for visually cluttered tracks that make it hard to identify upcoming blocks before they're on top of you. Furthermore, in Mono mode, the grey blocks that you had to avoid in the previous game are now black with grey edges, making them much harder to identify from a distance.
- Shout-Out: You get an achievement for making a match of exactly 24 blocks. This achievement is called "Bauer".
- Tron Lines: Seen on the cars and parts of the scenery.