It’s been a lengthy seven years since we last saw Zuma make its debut on the Xbox Live Arcade with its fast paced puzzle-style gameplay and brightly coloured balls. The frog is finally back though with Zuma’s Revenge, a game that features plenty more of the speedy ball firing action that we grew addicted to all those years ago. Does the sequel offer enough to still keep us interested though?
Zuma’s Revenge is a simple colour matching puzzle game that sees you firing brightly coloured spheres from the mouth of a stationary, rotating frog at a slowly rolling snake of more balls. The aim here is to match three or more of the same coloured marbles in order to destroy them preventing the line from reaching the end of its path. If it does, it’s game over. The never-ending trail of balls will cease once you’ve reached a certain number of matches and after that it’s a simple case of clearing up.
Stages feature a number of different weaving, spiralling, and overlapping routes for which the balls to travel keeping things exciting. One stage may have tunnels to consider or sharp turns to make aiming much tougher for example. Power-ups are scattered randomly throughout each stage too supplying you with brief abilities. Things like explosive balls, score multipliers, faster firing and lasers. Not only are they fun to use, but also make you constantly think of the best and most beneficial time for their one off use when you get them.
While the main bulk of the stages will see you spinning the fog on the spot to aim, there are a few alterations that keep you on your toes. Some stages will have you sliding left and right at the bottom of the screen to aim (Luxor style) while others will allow you to jump between lily pads in order to get a better angle on your shots. Stages where you’re contending with two snakes of balls at once in particular prove especially hard requiring a good amount of quick thinking as you constantly switch your focus betweent the two. The best new addition however is the boss battles. These occur at the end of each “world” and require you to fire balls at them in order to inflict damage. Seems easy right? Well throw in an obscuring snake of more marbles and things become a lot tougher as you attempt to make a gap capable of allowing a shot to fly through and into the evil boss. Later battles involve explosive marbles and other enemies to content with and they definitely provide the bigger challenges in the game.
Each of the game’s worlds are visually quite nice displaying bright, colourful environments set on a desert island. You’ll play on beaches, in jungles, underwater and in deadly volcanoes.
While around sixty to seventy stages may not seem like a lot, each one features three medals to collect. One for simply completing the level, one for getting a fast time and one for beating a set score. Not only does this provide incentive to go back and retry previous stages in the game, but also the coins earned can be used to level-up your animal spirits – cute critters that each provide you with useful perks.
Other than the adventure mode though, there’s not too much else to get too excited about. The weekly challenges simply throw a stage at you to compete against others in worldwide leaderboards while boss rush is a straight playthrough of the game’s six bosses. Iron Frog may appear to hardcore Zuma fans as these offer ten truly hard as nails stages to defeat in a row with a single life. It’s a tough one because on one hand you have more Zuma stages with a couple of new powers and tweaks here and there which is no bad thing, but on the other hand it is simply just more Zuma that perhaps sticks a little too closely to the original. Something as simple as a multiplayer mode for example would have been a fantastic addition and given this sequel the boost it sometimes feels it needs.
Zuma’s Revenge is a fun little puzzler that can be downright addicting at times. It doesn’t offer anything particularly new but for those simply looking for more Zuma stages to get stuck into Revenge delivers.