Written By Glen Beckley
Frenetic and If your any good quite tiring (A tad bit dramatical), that’s the best way to sum up the action of ‘Surge Deluxe’. It’s safe to assume the PS Vita is in constant need of help, It has great games and it just needs more so that people buy it.
Don’t for a second expect a deep, absorbing narrative with evolving game-play mechanics because your not going to get it. Surge Deluxe never attempts to be that though, what it chooses to do however it does incredibly well. The game is essentially ‘one of those’ coloured gem connecting games where speed and efficiency is the name of the game, what set it aside however is the electrical influence over proceedings. As you dart your finger around the PS Vita touchscreen you’ll create a line of electricity that connects all matching blocks together, catch a block of another nasty colour however and ‘shabam’ all your hard work is lost.
‘Surge’ however like any good puzzle connector game has special blocks and multipliers to prevent the game becoming simply a connect, clear and repeat experience. Your multiplier blocks are fairly straight forward, highlight one of those and your score multiplies which while not exactly original is a staple feature for puzzle games of this style. Bomb blocks do the swish job of destroying every block of the colour you connect it too, while the colour control box switches every block to the same colour allowing for some pretty nifty combos. This is where the depth and complexity of the ‘Surge’ experience begins to shine through; because it’s one thing to just clear the boxes but to plan your attack so that you increase your scoring options each round is another.
There’s is no better example of Surge’s secret depth than the link block which will allow you to link one chain of colour into the next, while this sounds fairly simple when done correctly you can clear virtually an entire board in one swoop (giving your ego a lovely boost at the same time). Obviously this is a lot harder under the constraint of time and how do ‘Surge’ prevent you getting to comfortable with the experience add in some vents. Now in gaming terms (as opposed to the interiors designers idea of vents) your board of electrical boxes in split into six rows with each row belonging to a colour, clear that row of blocks and you unlock that colour’s vent. The benefits of getting these vents clear are two-fold; the vent provides a score bonus to any blocks of the colour while also relieving the pressure that builds up on the system, because if you don’t clear the pressure your system goes ‘shabam’ again.
See there’s lots of little bits thrown into Surge Deluxe, which while not original haven’t previously been successfully blended into the same experience. That’s the real reason behind Surge’s success it’s lots of little things being thrown together with so little time to fully understand all of them in one go, that you simply just have to keep on playing. Even now I spend time learning tricks about how to create huge combos and clear the boards as quickly as possible (and trust me I’ve played a lot of Surge). It’s worth noting the trophy set for ‘Surge Deluxe’ it is achievable through dedication but not through strange co-op combinations or flukey gaming moments (Resident Evil deflect a cross-bow arrow we’re looking at you); Which is a heads up to the single player casual gamer which is sometimes lacking into achievement/trophy lists these days.
Surge Deluxe isn’t Uncharted, It’s not Killzone and It’s not even the quirky Gravity Rush, Surge is something else entirely a true handheld title that is exactly the sort of ‘pick up and play’ that the PS Vita so desperately needs to reach a wider audience.