Surge Deluxe – Review (PS Vita)

Index Finger Workout 2014

Not since the time we left our Playstation Vita face down in melted chocolate has its screen been this grubby. Hundreds, if not thousands, of greasy swipe marks cover the gorgeous OLED fascia – and we couldn’t be more delighted. The sweet release of dopamine that accompanied every swipe and successful combo more than makes up for the sorry state our Vita is now in. We are of course talking about Surge Deluxe, Futurlab’s latest, and, quite possibly, their greatest release to date.

Surge Deluxe is your typical match-three game, wait, no it isn’t! This game takes a worn genre and breathes new life into it. Your task is to vent pressure, you do this by matching as many blocks of the same colour as possible.As you do this, pressure builds up around both sides of the screen, luckily, clearing out blocks uncovers vents. Tapping either side of the vent lowers the pressure and allows you to continue matching blocks. As you level up, pressure builds faster and faster. The sedate pace you may have used in the beginning stages soon becomes unworkable and, instead, you must scramble your index finger across the screen to uncover more vents

To both aid and hinder you in your pressure-venting endeavours, Futurlab have included special blocks.  Massive point combinations can be accumulated with clever use of multiplier blocks and combiner blocks. Connecting blocks of a certain colour to a bomb block will remove all other blocks of that colour; the bomb block is great to use in a pinch and can help uncover vents if you use it strategically. Chain linker blocks allow you to connect blocks of one colour, to another colour; coupled with combiner and multiplier blocks you can accrue lots of points. Finally, the frenzy block turns all blocks the same colour for a few seconds. If you are quick enough you can clear the entire board in just a few swipes!

surge deluxe review

There is an unmistakable joy that accompanies every combo in the game, and this effect only gets more intense the closer you are to impending doom. More than a few times we fumbled our fingers across the screen, creating huge chains, only to break them on a different coloured block. “Oh, shit” we’d think to ourselves, re-tracing our previous line, but this time much quicker than before and with a much greater pressure level. Surge Deluxe continually rewards your dedication to succeed with reinforcing, game show-style audio and a fantastic light display. For a game so unnerving, it sure can make you feel great! When you do lose, you just want to get stuck back in again –  a testament to the masterful design skills of Futurlab.

Surge Deluxe features multiple different leaderboards, to keep you jostling for high score supremacy with your friends list, strangers on Near, and the entire world at large. Mere days after release.a huge competitive scene has already blown up around the game.

As an aside to the main game, a puzzle mode with 15 levels is also included. Here players must clear blocks whilst meeting a points quota. The key to this mode is to think multiple swipes ahead and recognise where the most points can be made. For those struggling in the main game, puzzle mode makes for excellent high score training.

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If Surge Deluxe was a candy, it would be the Skittles of video games – that is to say the game is a colourful treat for the eyes. The sombre background panels are offset by searing neon pinks, yellows, blues and greens. Thoughtfully, the developers have also made the game accessible to those who are colour-blind. Each block colour also has a shape associated with it, meaning that our colour-challenged friends can also get in on the fun!

The game is no slouch in the audio department either, with a mix of high-octane techno-style music, and game show sound effects to keep you motivated.

If you hadn’t guessed already, we are huge fans of Surge Deluxe. For a measly £4 it will provide hours of entertainment and an index finger workout to boot. The game’s match three roots are enhanced with some nice twists, and puzzle mode provides a little respite for when your finger can’t keep up any longer. Put simply: Buy this game.

Surge Deluxe is available to buy now on PSN.