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[Review] - Zuma's Revenge for XBLA

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    Zuma's Revenge for Xbox Live Arcade

    Developer/Publisher: PopCap Games

    Genre: Puzzle, Adventure

    Price: 800 MSP

    Online: None, except leaderboards and score challenge mode

    Zuma's Revenge is a puzzle game first and foremost. I played the first Zuma game a while back, maybe one or two levels in the demo, and I'm pretty sure I was turned off by it immediately. I am not big on puzzle games, never have been, though I was a sucker for a couple of the old school puzzle games, such as Tetris and Dr. Mario, and this game is very similar to it, albeit 20 years after those games came out, it's the same premise.



There's not much room for evolution of the match-the-colour puzzle game, but there are many ways to spice things up, which is exactly what Zuma's Revenge accomplishes very well. There's not a big story behind the game, except that you are a frog, and there is an evil presence you have to eliminate by shooting coloured balls out of your mouth to match up with the same colour balls which are in columns all around you, before the columns get swallowed by a mouth of doom (that's what I call it). Sound crazy? That's what this game is, it's a frenzy of sight and sound, but the goal is to get past every one of the 70-some levels in the game by doing the same thing. It will test your reflexes, and your ability to breathe easily, but you will have a "ball" doing it!

The sequel has added a bunch of new powerups, score multipliers, bosses, and an interesting "spirit animal" system, which will be explained later. The default adventure mode is the main story, and it is where you unlock other aspects of the game. Each level has a set path and amount of balls you must eliminate before any reach the mouth of doom, or you must start over. Some of the powerups include a laser beam to pinpoint other powerups or multipliers, a spread cannon that will destroy all of the balls in it's path, and a bomb that once detonated, destroys all balls in it's radius. If you reach a certain level score and/or time to beat (you can come back to the levels later), you get spirit points that you can contribute to your spirit animal for various perks. The first animal that you can have is the monkey, and he gives you the chance to obtain fruit. The more spirit points you give your monkey, the more often fruit will show up, and the more points it will give you (kind of like the fruits in Pac-man).


Every ten levels in adventure mode you complete, you encounter a new boss. Your froggie's perspective changes from the center of the screen to the bottom, kind of like Arkanoid, the you have to destroy the barricades, then once you're able to, shoot enough balls at the boss to kill him. Every boss gets tougher, and some even have minions that will disable your froggie in different ways. One minion actually poisons your frog and he starts to hallucinate, making it tougher to destroy the barricade. These boss battles are the most fun you'll have, and the most humorous as well. When you defeat a boss, you unlock a different part of the world, and if you're lucky, you'll unlock another spirit animal (there are four in total). Going through adventure mode also unlocks different game types, such as a weekly challenge where you try to beat your friends' scores, and another game type which I didn't get around to trying at the time I wrote this review.


To advance in the later levels will require fast reflexes, and god forbid you are color-blind, they have included an option for you. The in-game sounds are vivid and will keep you coming back, and visuals are quite appealing as well. Replayability of the game is questionable, and unless you like to test your lightning fast reflexes over and over again, there's not much point to it. The novelty is fantastic, and you will have a blast through the first ten or so levels. The price is moderate, and quite a deal if you are a puzzle fanatic, but if you're not then I would pass on it.


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