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PlayStation Vita  header logo


For: PS Vita


Product: Surge | Developer: FuturLab | Format: PS Vita | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Surge PS Vita, thumbnail 1
Sony's recent agreement with Brighton-based FuturLab to fund new PS Vita titles should tell you all you need to know about the talent at the studio If you're still in doubt, then checking out previous titles Velocity, Fuel Tiracas, and Beats Slider should lay your doubts to rest.

As if to cast out any remaining uncertainty regarding the team's pedigree, FuturLab has unleashed Surge on the PlayStation Mobile network. A colour-matching puzzle title on the surface, this frenetic and addictive download has much more depth than is immediately apparent.

Like Fuel Tiracas, there's a focus on keeping doom at bay in Surge. Down the left and right of the screen are pressure gauges which steadily fill up as the level progresses.

To avoid a catastrophic meltdown you have to release the pressure by linking both sides with a beam. However, there are piles of blocks that you have to clear before you can do this.

Danger, danger, high voltage

These are removed from play by linking blocks of the same colour using your finger. You can link two or more blocks, with larger chains, bagging you more points and meaning that you can release the pressure faster.

Special blocks - such as ones that cycle through a series of colours or temporarily change the colour of all on-screen blocks to the same hue - are dropped in on occasion to spice things up.

At first, Surge is enjoyable but insultingly easy. You'll spend the first 15 or so minutes breezing through each stage without a care in the world. This is possibly the game's only significant fault - it takes too long to become truly challenging.

However, when it does ramp up the difficulty you'll be struggling to remove enough blocks to release the pressure in time: the game forces you to speed up your finger movements and place more emphasis on clever combs. At this stage, Surge becomes taxing, intense, and immensely gratifying.

Online leaderboards encourage you to return time after time, and the wonderful presentation - a hallmark of FuturLab's output - ensures interest is locked in. In a neat twist, when you begin a new game you're shown the score of the person who is one place above you on the global leaderboard - a carrot dangled at just the right moment.

Block buster

Surge is a PlayStation Mobile release with an entirely touch-driven interface, meaning it will work on any PlayStation Certified device. But we found that anything less than a four-and-a-half-inch display was pushing it slightly - the game is best suited to the vast screen of the PS Vita.

Any screen smaller than that simply doesn't offer the same breathing space for the deft finger-movements required on the later levels.

It may take its time to become challenging, but Surge is nevertheless a quality puzzler and exactly the kind of software Sony needs to turn its PlayStation Mobile platform into a success. After experiencing this fine title, it's abundantly clear why Sony has so much faith in FuturLab.
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 26 December 2012
It takes its time to get going, but once it does Surge is a compelling and visually arresting puzzle title
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