There is very few games in Steam where my playtime reaches dizzying heights. One of those lucky few is the fast paced music-rider Audiosurf. It’s a much played title for two key reasons: It’s fun to play and the tracks in front of you are made from your own music. It works to a ridiculous degree and I’m always after more games like it. So in walks Soundodger+, an upgraded version of the flash title that’s now available on Steam.
Soundodger works in that your cursor is in the middle of a large circle. More circles will surround you and shoot out waves of arrows, balls and other such deadly gems. With all these being shot at you in time with the music, it essentially turns into a musical Bullet Hell SHMUP. The game comes with 23 tracks, 11 being new to this paid release. It’s a nice mix of both trance and smoother paced tracks, coming from artists such as Disasterpeace and Danny Baranowsky, the composers of titles such as FEZ and The Binding of Isaac. The game works ridiculously well, especially with these pre-made tracks. The starter tracks lure you into a false sense of security, the sort of epiphany of “Oh! I can play this!” then, a couple of tracks later, you’re sobbing into your mouse as it keeps getting pierced by arrows.
The main crux of this paid version is the ability to auto generate levels from your own music. Whilst great in theory, it doesn’t have the accuracy that Audiosurf does. It seems like half the time it will detect the correct BPM of the track, but often the track has no bearing on the beat or rhythm of the arrows coming at you. It does do holds and pauses very well, though. Unlike Audiosurf, the game has an extremely deep level editor. By extremely deep I mean ‘has almost half an hour of tutorial videos’ deep. If you had the time and patience to make a track in the level editor, then you can create amazing levels and I’m excited to see what people will make. Though again it is disappointing that with being a Steam title, it doesn’t have support for Steam Workshop for sharing your tracks easily. With the level editor, if you’re slightly lazier, then you can make the game automatically generate a level and then go in to mess with it and fine tune the level.
The base game is certainly fun and surprising when tracks start rewinding, ready to trip you out back into the path of an arrow. It’s a lot more desk playable than Audiosurf. I can see me putting the game on for a quick blast over lunch to get my musical bullet hell fix. However that’s still something I could do with the free flash title.
If you love Music Rhythm titles like I, then Soundodger+ is definitely worth a look, maybe not now at launch, but definitely when those talented level creators come up with some amazing fast tracks, ready to pin you down and make you beg for mercy. Now I’m ready to go jump back in and dive right in to some punishing levels ready to scream bloody murder, and I’ll love every moment of it.