Zuma is one of the most beloved PopCap games ever. Since it first hopped onto the PC in 2004, it has become a global success. It has spread across numerous platforms, from consoles, handhelds, and it's even got it's own Facebook game. Zuma's Revenge is the latest instalment to the popular series, and it was first released on PC in 2009. Now, PopCap Games have decided to bring back the same version to Xbox Live Arcade, featuring polished HD visuals, and new features.
Like me, Zuma's Revenge is easy to pick up. If you've played the original, or any other ball-matching puzzle game, you will feel right at home here. Nothing hasn't really changed in the gameplay aspect.
I will explain the main gameplay for those not familiar with Zuma. You take control of a frog, who is
capable of blasting marbles out of his mouth. Coloured balls will constantly roll onto the screen, and your goal is to match three of the same colour, whilst not letting a single ball fall down a trap. You gain points for every three balls you match. Bonus points can also be earned for gaining multipliers or
shooting fruit that appears randomly on the screen.
You also have a range of special abilities that not only spice up the gameplay, but also give you an advantage when close to loosing. All the special powers are back, along with some new additions. One of them has your eyes turning into lasers, allowing you to disintegrate a few unwanted marbles. My
favourite is the abilities to fire three cannons out of your mouth, blowing up anything that it touches. These new powers are a great addition to the game, and it makes it even more addictive than it already was.
Zuma's Revenge also has a change in difficulty. With the original Zuma giving you a set number of life's, Zuma's Revenge doesn't have any, although you can replay any level you fail on without jumping back to the beginning. The all new upgrade system is a neat addition, and adds a bit more depth to the gameplay. At the end of each level, you will receive in-game currency, allowing you to purchase upgrades. You do this by visiting the Spirit Temple, which features four animals. Upgrading each animal will be helpful in different ways. For example, the bunny will increase the appearance of fruit, and the cheetah can speed up the fire of your shots.
One of the biggest changes to the original is it's Boss Battles. At the end of each set of levels, you will have to face a Boss. This has you moving along the screen vertically, blasting balls, but trying to hit the Boss as the same time. As you progress, the Bosses will become much tougher, and you will eventually have to dodge their attacks. It can be quite tricky, but it's very fun and adds a little story to the mix.
With the Original Zuma taking place in Aztec Mexico. Zuma's Revenge goes for a more stylish touch, and takes place on luxury island. It's visually stunning, with crisp 1080p. Zuma has never looked so good. It also seems to run more smoothly, whilst I found the original on XBLA to occasionally have a controller issue when spinning. In Zuma's Revenge, I found no glitches what so ever.
The Advenure Mode is where most of your time will be spent. There's 189 levels in total, but they don't take that long the get through. As you progress, you will unlock more modes. There's a weekly challenge mode that lets you post your score on a weekly leaderboard. Iron Frog mode lets you try and complete ten challenging levels, with no second chances. Finally, Boss Rush is an exclusive to XBLA, giving you the chance to complete different Boss based levels. So overall, there's enough to keep you busy for a while.
Zuma's Revenge is a delightful addition to the series. It's just as addictive as it was before, and the introduced Boss Battles are great. This is a must for any Zuma fan, or anyone who loves to play casual puzzles games.
Review by Gareth Smith