There is something very special about Surge Deluxe that makes it one of the best puzzle games I have played in a very long time. Created by Futurlab Studios, the puzzler is a definitive edition of the original classic Surge, which was a pretty damn amazing mini when it was first released. This new edition on the PlayStation Vita expands on the old release by adding better graphics, soundtrack and more.
The main menu is very simplistic and stylish; there are only two modes to play, one of which is just an endless puzzle game where you must attempt to get the highest score possible by combining multiple blocks of the same colour. However, as you keep playing there are multipliers, link blocks and bombs, along with rainbow blocks, which will change multiple blocks into the colour you linked to it, allowing you to get bigger chains for more points.
The game sounds simple enough until you start getting in deeper, as during each puzzle you have a time limit and a venting system. If the bar on the side gets to the top of the screen, your match is over; to stop this, you have to complete a line and unlock the vents to allow the steam to come out causing the bar to go down. You will get bonus points if you link the blocks with the same coloured vent that you have just used. To control the game you use the touchscreen to draw a line to connect the same coloured blocks, and fortunately they feel very responsive and fluid making it easy to control. This is also how you unlock the vents, by using your finger to connect the two vents on the opposite side of the screen.
Puzzle mode meanwhile allows you to practice different individual puzzles to speed up your time in the main gameplay section. As you get faster, you will start to see your score improve in the main section of the game. What makes this fun is that each puzzle has its own high score table, meaning you can feel your competitive edge kick in as you want to make the next run a little faster trying to beat the person ahead of you. The high score table allows you to view the main game and the puzzles, though the puzzle section is separated so that you can see how you compare with each one. The game will also pop up telling you a high score every time you select a puzzle so you know what your target is. It also does this when you're playing the endless puzzle mode. Lamentably, you do not get Trophies for playing the individual puzzle mode, but you can still use it as a practice mode for the endless puzzle mode.
The graphics are simple yet very vibrant, while the animations are fluid. There isn't really much to say about the graphics -- well, expect it looks stunning for a game where you just need to connect blocks. Though the game has very simple backgrounds, it actually helps out a lot as you're so busy concentrating on what's ahead to be paying attention to other things (though it has to be said. the effect after beating a level always looks damn awesome). The soundtrack is very fast beat and retro sounding adding an extra flair to the game, and it also has a bit of a sci-fi element mixed into it, complementing an already-amazing game. The music tempo also starts to speed up as you're running out of time, adding to the sense of urgency to the puzzle that you are currently playing.
Surge Deluxe will keep you hooked from start to finish making it one of the best games I have played on the Vita for a long time. With its simple yet addictive gameplay, players will be compelled to keep plugging away at it in hopes of beating their high score, while the Trophies are sure to keep you coming back for more.
-The Final Word-
A brilliant puzzler featuring addictive gameplay that is sure to keep you coming back for more.