Review – Music Racer: Ultimate

Let’s travel back to 2008. A simpler time. Do you guys remember that game called Audiosurf? Remember how cool it was to play a rhythm game that allowed you to “surf” through a track with a spaceship, with said track being generated by reading any MP3 file you had in your computer, resulting in a literal endless amount of tunes/levels to enjoy? That game has since faded into obscurity, since downloading MP3s ain’t as hip as it once was, but it’s still there on Steam if you’re interested. What I’m trying to say is that Audiosurf has never disappeared, even though some lookalikes have decided to show up to remind us of these glory days. Case and point, Music Racer: Ultimate.

Music Racer: Ultimate Gameplay

Music Racer: Ultimate doesn’t reinvent the wheel. If anything, Audiosurf did things better nearly fifteen years ago.

If you’ve played Audiosurf in the past, you know what to expect from Music Racer: Ultimate. You pick a song and then try to collect as many icons as possible in an instantly generated track based on said song’s beat. No campaign, no motivation other than a few unlockable tracks and vehicles, no frills. It’s as arcadey as it gets. All you need to do is change lanes; no need to accelerate, brake, or anything else a “Racer” would supposedly tell you to do, since, turns out, this isn’t a racer at all, despite the title name. The core concept isn’t bad at all, I’ll admit that. It could have been a neat console alternative to a game that can only ever be experienced on a computer, but there are so many flaws and issues in here that make the 2008 source material look more modern and polished in comparison.

Music Racer: Ultimate Brightness

Oooooh I’m blinded by the liiiights….

The first issue lies on the presentation. I am shocked with how the developers managed to make such a visually appealing, low-poly, neon-drenched art style look literally (and I do mean literally) painful to my eyesight. Music Racer: Ultimate is one of the brightest and most abrasive games I have ever played. Blinding flashes everywhere, seizure-inducing strobes, excessive color saturation, all culminating on a game that, for real, gave me a migraine. This is no exaggeration: I had to dial down my TV screen’s brightness settings in order to properly play it for more than just a few rounds. I also basically resorted to the initial background setting, as it was the one with the least amount of detail, and therefore, least amount of strobing effects.

Sure, the game was a literal eyesore, but what about the music? If you count what Music Racer: Ultimate considers to be its “in-disc” soundtrack, there isn’t a lot of variety, nor any well-known tune. This isn’t even its main selling point, that one being the ability to “play any track you want” via the game’s music-to-track generator. I need to point out that, while true, the amount of caveats thrown along the way make the act of being able to play any custom track way harder and way more frustrating than it should have been for such a small, carefree indie.


Any level that isn’t the default one features insanely annoying strobing effects.

Yes, you can play custom tracks, but not directly from an MP3 file saved in your hard drive/SSD, like Audiosurf does. No, you cannot choose a track from your streaming library (that one is a given). Instead, you need to look for an internet link of a music file, which is easier said than done, especially when you’re supposed to manually type in a gigantic address for it in the game’s menu. You can, otherwise, look into an atrociously crafted search engine linked to a smaller music service called Audius. You cannot search for track names.

You can only search for “artist names”, which, in this service, account mostly for users who dump ripped MP3 files into their profiles. With some tough luck, you’ll be able to play a song from Kanye, 50 Cent, or Asking Alexandria. You cannot search for genre, either. You have to venture through one of the single worst menu interfaces I’ve ever seen in order to find something to entertain you. It’s just not worth the hassle. To make matters worse, very rarely do the tracks align with the song’s beat, making the overall experience feel way clunkier than it should have.


Finding a popular song to play is easier said than done.

It’s sad to see such a promising idea for a game fall flat like this one. Music Racer: Ultimate could have been a somewhat worthy successor to Audiosurf if only the act of looking for a custom song to play in it wasn’t such a nightmare, all thanks to a terrible UI and search functionality. The seizure-inducing visuals and tracks that rarely match the beat of the song didn’t help either. In the end, a quick and easy way to get a few trophies and possibly discover some underground synthwave beats to add to your streaming library. Just make sure you play it while wearing sunglasses.


Graphics: 4.0

I really like Music Racer: Ultimate‘s art style, but I hate how bright and seizure-inducing everything is.

Gameplay: 4.0

While the controls are simple and responsive, the track layout rarely matches the beat of the song you’ve chosen. Add in the horrendous UI and menu controls, and you get a perfect recipe for a frustrating headache.

Sound: 6.0

What little there is of an “in-disc” soundtrack is decent, but not exactly impressive. Playing custom tracks is possible, but is a tremendous hassle, all thanks to a terrible search system and abysmal UI.

Fun Factor: 4.0

Despite the creative premise, there is nothing in Music Racer: Ultimate that Audiosurf hasn’t offered in a better state almost fifteen years ago.

Final Verdict: 4.0

Music Racer: Ultimate is available now on PS5, Xbox Series S/X, and PC.

Reviewed on PS5.

A copy of Music Racer: Ultimate was provided by the publisher.