If I actually had any old flames of such calibre that, upon re-encountering them some years later, I was so blown away by their charm and beauty that I wondered why I’d ever broken up with them in the first place, I would surely have a most excellent analogy for how it felt to play Audiosurf for the first time in months. But I don’t, so I don’t.
What I do have is Audiosurf back in my life (and the rather surprising discovery that I hadn’t yet played any LCD Soundsystem on it. This has now been corrected), and lo, I am happy. The reason for this slight return is the release of a meaty free update to the MP3-racing synaesthesia supremo. Sexy details on this sexy so-called ‘FM Update’ are waiting sexily beneath the sexy cut…
There’s a bunch of minor and major tweaks in there, but the most interesting ones concern the game’s thoughtful but arguably slightly crude community features. Now, you can leave comments on the scoreboard of any song, which should egg on rivalries nicely; there’s a personalised news feedy thing - kinda like the main page of Facebook, but dishing dirt on when your chums last played and stuff like that; and, perhaps most importantly, there’s proper mod support.
A few mods are available already from here, and include neat stuff like changing your MSN Messenger status to the song you’re surfing, and cried-out for features such as shuffle and playlist modes. It’s the obvious way forward for Audiosurf - a quiet evolution into an all-purpose, compellingly interactive music player, rather than, as before, a great idea operating in something of a vacuum.
My favourite of the new features is perhaps one of the least important - Freeride mode can now be left running as a auto-visualisation while you’re in other applications, and automatically switches to the next track in a folder or playlist. It does rather unfortunately mean I’m going to spend hours staring vacantly at end-of-2001-a-Space-Odyssey light patterns with an empty blog entry window behind ‘em, but it’s a fine way to appreciate just how cleverly beat-matched Audiosurf’s background effects are, which I so often don’t notice when I’m playing the thing.
Anyway, it’s a timely refresh for a wonderful game, and if you boot up Steam now, the patch/add-on will be applied momentarily. There’s a whole bunch of treats I’ve not mentioned, so full patch-notes are below. And here’s where to buy Audiosurf if you haven’t already, you fool.