Surge Deluxe is the third FuturLab title to be re-mastered for the PS Vita, after Coconut Dodge Revitalised and Velocity Ultra. Similar to these releases, Surge Deluxe is a polished game and shows FuturLab being excellently aware of the strengths of their game design. Surge Deluxe is a splendid example of FuturLab’s design style. It is fast-paced, high-score based, playable in short bursts and features a simple but effective art style. Surge sets the player the task to release the building pressure building up at the side of the screen by removing, through means of matching, similarly coloured blocks with your finger and opening the vents. Creating longer chains of blocks earns more and more points, and using special blocks such as the tile which turns all squares the same colour reaps even more points. As you ramp up points and clear piles and piles of tiles, the difficulty ramps up and Surge Deluxe becomes extremely intense and you will have to think one or two steps in advance, and all that in a time span of mere seconds.
All these actions elicit a great response from the game. Sliding your finger across the screen brings up a colourful, static trace. Selecting a block draws out a soft tingle, and matching a chain of like-coloured tiles causes a loud and satisfactory thump. Your other activities garner similar feedback, mostly in the form of visual flashes or musical electronic beats which up the excitement in the audio department, making it flashy and energetic. Surge Deluxe has been much improved from its PS Mobile predecessor. Not only have the graphics received an overhaul, certain game mechanics have also been added or altered. The colour requirement on the score multiplier block has been removed, and a new multiplier block has been introduced that allows for even bigger score multiplications. A helpful block which allows you to link two chains of different colours to each other is also present. Slight improvements to the scoring system and the leaderboards have also been made.
A big new addition is the Puzzle mode. Surge Deluxe sports 15 puzzles of increasing difficulty, in which a predetermined amount of points has to be reached in a given situation. This mode is well-suited for the careful, tactical players among us as there’s no time pressure limit to worry about. The harder puzzles become quite befuddling; it’s not just mindlessly sliding your finger across the screen. Sadly, Surge Deluxe is not devoid of flaws. The first few minutes of every session are, like in Coconut Dodge, incredibly easy and just feel as a waste of time because you are sure of passing it anyway. This in combination with the game’s focus on high score also means that after a few plays it will become increasingly difficult to find a goal to set for yourself to beat. I wish FuturLab had taken Jetpack Joyride’s system as an example and they had set additional side goals aside from beating scores to increase the longevity of their game.
However, what Surge does, Surge does well. The high-score system is, as in other FuturLab games, excellently implemented. At the start of each game you are presented with a score just above your own high-score to keep you motivated, which works extremely well during the first few hours of play. In conclusion, Surge’s excellent gameplay, electrifying soundstage and colourful graphics make the game a potent time waster. For those who loved the PS Mobile version, Surge Deluxe is a definitive buy because its extra additions make the game a full and polished experience. It’s a shame the difficulty doesn’t ramp up quickly enough and there are few incentives to hook you apart from high scores. Still, when on a roll, Surge Deluxe is a lightning-fast tactical brain teaser.