Surge review: Velocity dev FuturLab returns with this frantic Vita puzzler

Surge review - Edge

As work and other distractions increasingly eat into our leisure time, it’s no surprise that the quick fix of mobile gaming is the industry’s prevailing trend. Little wonder, either, that Sony should thus sign up a studio that understands the value of immediacy. FuturLab’s latest is exactly the kind of electrical jolt that Vita needs, and it makes your synapses fire from the word go.

The object couldn’t be simpler: pressure is building in vents at the side of the screen, and your job is to match like-coloured blocks to remove the obstruction before both gauges peak. Only the outermost tiles are active, so you drag your finger between two or more to link them, the release producing an explosion that resounds with a fuzzy, bass-heavy electronic thump. It’s proof that FuturLab also understands the importance of feedback, as thin streaks of static trace each connection like a child’s fingers pressed against a plasma globe. Bonus tiles are friendly, offering multipliers and extra points, while the frenzy block precipitates a burst of activity as the board lights up in one colour and you race to remove the lot in a fizzy flurry of fingers. Switchers are the sole irritant, changing colours every second to break the flow.

Surge review - Edge

It’s instantly gratifying, then, but the joy won’t last forever. This is a whirlwind romance, a week-long fling rather than a lasting love, like Lumines or Tetris. But for those first few days, the sparks will fly fast and frequently; you won’t be able to keep your hands off it.