Zuma has a fond place in my gaming memory being one of the first Xbox Live Arcade games I grabbed when it was just too wet to leave the house, a simple game of matching three colours together that involved a frog and lots of balls that constantly lured me back for just one more game. Now nearing the end of the consoles lifecycle it seems fit to bring back the little old frog for yet another puzzle outing, the main question being, what took so long?
Zuma’s Revenge is the sequel to the hugely popular Zuma, a game that has now appeared on pretty much every console out there, from home PC to mobile phone, you can play this game anywhere. We again take control of a little frog, who this time has been washed up on a strange island following a storm and has managed to again upset its god, Zhaka Mu. So off our little frog goes, spitting out little coloured balls to match three or more colours and find out the secret hidden on the island; OK so a story line was not really necessary but it makes for plenty of extra gameplay ideas whilst keeping to the original addictive gameplay.
The basics have not changed at all and for fans you will notice a few puzzles looking awfully familiar from the first game but there are more than enough updates to offer even fresher challenges. There are now four types of levels, the classic where your frog is sat in the middle and can be aimed 360 degrees by using the left stick, lining up shots and whittling the flow of balls until the Zuma meter runs out. The second is a more of a space invaders approach, where you frog can slide from left to right on a fixed rail with you only able to shoot directly up. Then you have lily pads, where again you have 360 degrees control of your frog but this time you are able to quickly jump from one are to the next via lily pads, allowing you more chances to get in a decent combo creating shot. Finally you have the boss fights, where you are pitted against the area demi-god, shooting balls at them whilst dodging their own attacks and defence tactics.
Powerups play a large part again, with items randomly appearing for you to collect, like bomb shots, slow down and reverse flow powers plus a few extras like lightning eyes that will take all of one set of coloured balls off the screen and a multi-shot. This new island also hosts a group of Spirits to unlock and utilise, with each one granting game boosting powers if you offer them game coins. Every level has the chance to earn up to three coins, with completing the level, Spirit Time and Spirit Score to beat, which once earned you can then offer them to the Spirits themselves to boost statistics like more frequent appearances of powerups or a faster target speed.
Zuma’s Revenge hosts a few gameplay modes, firstly the main adventure which will see you play through the levels and with each area of the island hosting a boss fight. As you progress through the adventure you slowly unlock extra modes like a weekly challenge to see how quick you can clear the screen and then compare times and scores with your friends. The Boss Rush modes pits you against the end of level bosses in one long game and finally the rock solid Iron Frog mode, a 10 level gauntlet with only one life to test your Zuma skills to your limits.
Though I found Zuma’s Revenge a little easier than the original, I think this is down to the new powerups and Spirit boosts, the game however, is still as addictive.
If you are unsure if this game is for you, do grab the demo, as although Zuma’s Revenge may not not change much from the trial, just testing it out will certainly be enough for this one to get its addictive hooks in you.
Rating: Excellent Review Policy (version tested: XBLA)