Zuma’s Revenge! Review (DS)
Zuma is a fast-paced match three game released in 2003 by PopCap for a plethora of platforms and mobile devices including the PC, Xbox 360, IPod and many others. In 2009 PopCap released Zuma’s Revenge! for the PC and it has since been making it’s way across the platforms that it’s predecessor has already conquered. Now it makes it’s way to the Nintendo DS with both a retail release as well as a eShop/DSiWare download.
What You Need To Know
As in most of PopCap’s hits, this is another take on the addictive “Match Three” style of gameplay with a few interesting things to keep it different. As in the first Zuma you play as a frog who has been given the seemingly painful job of vomiting up multicolored balls. All of which is to stop the flow of new balls on their way to the Skull that denotes a “Game Over” when reached. The ball flow follows a predefined track that comes from off-screen to the Skull, the balls will continue to come until you have cleared all the ones on screen and in the container that supplies the flow. After you have cleared all the balls you are given a score based on how well you did with making combos and how you managed your time. There are many helpful power ups and ways to get extra points from things like fruit and gap bonuses just to name a couple.
In the original Zuma the frog was locked to a central location through the entire game, it was usually in the middle of the screen and all the balls flowed in a circle around that one point. Now in Zuma’s Revenge! there has been a lot more creativity put into not only the level design but also how you control the frog itself! There are some levels that have multiple locations for you to jump to (done by tapping another lily pad) creating much more interesting level designs in how the balls flow on screen. There are some locations in the flow that can only be reached by the lily pad on the right and visa verse for the left. Another addition to how the game controls is the addition of a sliding lily pad at the bottom of the screen. Normally you spin in 360 degrees around the pad to shoot the balls but in some of the new stages you slide from left to right in a Space Invaders style, shooting a flow coming from the top. These were some of my favorite stages!
It Feels Good To Touch!
If you ever played the Xbox 360 version of Zuma you would know that it used the analog stick to aim the frog and the A button to shoot the ball. If you ever played the PC version you would also know that it used the mouse to aim the balls and a quick click of the left button to shoot. Now on the Nintendo DS, the touch screen is ruler of the balls. With a simple tap to shoot method, you are now give almost pixel perfect aim to what used to be a frustrating hassle on the 360. I have grown extremely fond of this new method of input for Zuma and I don’t think it could get any better!
Either Squint Or Get An XL!
Maybe it’s just me but I think there are too many things on screen for this to be played on anything smaller than the DSi XL. Please don’t let this turn you away from a great game but I think you should know that on the 3DS’s screen it was very difficult to pinpoint exactly where I wanted the balls to go. I had commented about how much I like the tap-to-shoot controls but you need to know they are in their prime on the XL. Yes, I don’t have the best of vision but when I literally have to squint to play it on the 3DS’s small screen it became unplayable for me on that system. Luckily I had picked up an XL when I did or else I would have had to put it down before I found any rhythm to the game.
eShop AND Retail???
In the middle of writing the review for this game, Tony informed me that it had just been released for the eShop and DSiWare shop on March 8th (not even a month after the retail release!). This was both good and bad news in my book, I was originally going to spend this paragraph talking about how it needed to be a digital release and not another bargain bin find at the local K-Mart. When it was originally released on February 21st there was no news about it even coming to the eShop which I saw as a total miss for PopCap. Zuma’s Revenge! is the kind of game to have as an on-the-go play for 30 minutes and put it down type of game that would be a perfect impulse buy for those who have already bought it on another platform in the past. I couldn’t see why they chose to go with the retail route other than to satisfy the people who never upgraded from the DS Lite. It seems odd to put it on the eShop at a fraction of the cost of retail at the same time.
Zuma’s Revenge! has the perfect blend of addictive gameplay and simple mechanics that make it a great game to play on a handheld. There’s just enough new content to keep it interesting and still as fun as any match three game can be. Like I said in a recent podcast, “PopCap really has the PC to DS port thing down!” and I stand by my comment 100%. There are even more modes that I didn’t go into detail about like the new Boss Stages as well as a Versus Mode and Daily Challenges to name a few, all of which make this a really loaded puzzle game. Even though the visuals are kinda cramped on the DS’s hardware, this game packs a lot of content that make it worth a buy no matter the version (retail or eShop).
Review copy of the game supplied courtesy of PopCap.
Played through Adventure Mode and some of the Challenge Stages as well as a few Daily Challenges.
Total Play Time: About 5 hours.