I don’t know about all of you, but when Steam has their holiday sales (or any sales for that matter) it’s hard to resist a lot of purchases.  Sometimes, I will buy a game in these sales based on a teaser trailer or description if the price is right and the funds available.  More times than not, these games end up being better than the game I was originally intending to purchase.  This of course happened during the Holiday Steam sale this week with the purchase of an alluring little indie game called AudioSurf.

AudioSurf, like many nontraditional rhythm games such as Beat Hazard, allows you to play the game using all your own music.  Given my music library, this can range anywhere from Top 40 to Punk Rock to Brit Pop to Japanese Metal,  all of which are a delight to play in this Tron-like trippy game play.  Unlike Beat Hazard, which game play wise is akin to Asteroids, AudioSurf offers a completely new and unparalleled gaming experience blending Racing style games with rhythm and a touch of abstract strategy.

The concept of the game is simple: connect a color string of 3 or more of the same color between 3 different rows of colors.  This is achieved by piloting a space ship along a psychedelic pathway that lasts the length of your song. You are given a 3X5 grid on the bottom to match colors on. It sounds simple enough, until you actually pop the game in.  The game also lacks any prologue or forced story line; just awesome game play.

To give you an idea of my experience with the game, consider the first 5 songs I popped in:

·         Lady Gaga “Poker Face”

·         Against Me! “White People for Peace”

·         Mighty Mighty Bosstones “Someday I Suppose”

·         Fitz and the Tantrums “MoneyGrabber”

·         Kanye West “Stronger” featuring Daft Punk

Each of these songs offered a unique and amazingly fun experience.  Just like in Dance Central, any Lady Gaga song instantly makes a game harder.  Her music is insanely fitting given the graphics of the game.  Same goes with the Kanye West track.  With some of the punk and rock tracks I played with however, you really get to experience the tempo of the game through a visual experience.  To me, this was a very trippy experience, to be able to see the speed, tempo and rhythm of a song.  This sort of audio/visual synching, along with the rapid but ambient experience in game play is unmatched in any rhythm game I have ever played.

The game does not play in the traditional full screen, as many Steam games do, but rather in its own browser window (Though you do have the option to play it fullscreen).  You also have the option to change the display colors for your game play from white or black.  My suggestion is to go with the black background.  I also highly recommend that anyone who buys this game, pays attention to the tutorial, in order to fully understand what’s up with this game.

Surprisingly, AudioSurf is just an indie game.  It feels like a lot of work  went into this game  especially considering it goes through any song you load up to play, figures out the precise rhythm, tempo and any variants in the song, such as a charge of speed, bass, etc.  Truly mind-blowing considering this is only a $10.00 game.  ($2.50 for those lucky enough to pick it up on the Steam holiday sale. Currently on sale for $4.99)

For those of you who are fans of rhythm games that offer something new and have always wanted to play with your own music rather than whatever RockBand or Guitar Hero say you get, this is a nice little downloadable title that I highly recommend.  Ben Paddon from GameJournos.com even said that AudioSurf was comparable to Klax and Rock Band having a baby.  Whether Klax, Beat Hazard, or any rhythm games are your cup of tea, this should be a game you instantly add to your Steam library.

To see a perfect example of game footage, click here.