Pop Cap makes addictive games. End of. The company has a habit of taking very simple concepts, giving them a shake, resulting in something that make people miss their bus stop. Zuma's Revenge makes the list alongside Plants vs. Zombies and Peggle; both fantastic games in their own right across the wide range of platforms they operate on. Zuma's Revenge originally released on other platforms and took its time to bring its ball-firing formula over to the eShop / DSiWare service to be playable in portable form on a Nintendo handheld. How is it? Take a look…
As to be expected, plot isn't thick on the ground here; play as a stone frog who has managed to get himself washed up on a tropical island only to be accosted by Tiki gods. This take players through the island's various locations in ball matching addiction and ultimately escape. Zuma is remarkably similar in play to Mitchell Corporation's actionloop (Magnetica in the US and Puzz-Loop in Japan), which hit the original DS years ago, followed by a WiiWare update. A string of coloured marbles make their way to the main character around a windy path and marbles must be fired at them to match three or more and clear the lines as fast as possible, or else meeting with an unfortunate end in the consequence. Match them fast enough and achieve the God-like 'Zuma' mode and it allows players to mop up the playing field without any threat of marbles advancing (the stuff of nightmares, seriously). Add that to the additional power ups that allow for the firing of lasers, increase accuracy, and release multiples.
Whilst it's a tried and tested formula, there are a few little alterations that keep the gameplay fresh, and albeit, a little bit harder. This time round the frog isn't quite so static; in certain levels it can hop between lily pads to take on multiple lines at once and others see the movement along a horizontal and vertical path and firing on the go. Throughout all of this, the controls hold up reasonably well, tapping wherever the marbles must be fired and is about as accurate as possible, which means taking down the lines is fluid and fast. However, dragging the frog and tapping to change colour occasionally leads to firing off marbles and breaking that oh-so-precious chain by accident.
The visuals take functionality over form, but that's not such a bad thing since everything is crisp across the titles 60 or so levels and extra boss fights, and Zuma's Revenge doesn't exactly lack for colour. Marbles vary and the locations and pathways change but it is a very similar experience level-to-level, which if you're used to Pop Cap titles could be a blessing or a curse. For its short burst nature, though, it is a little pricey. There are, of course, achievements to chase after and random daily challenges to surpass, a host of end game bosses to destroy, and a set of ever-changing challenges for extra longevity, which is a nice touch.
Pop Cap has yet again made another enslaving title. Whilst the premise is simple and has been done in various forms before, it's nice to see this finally hit DSiWare. Whilst the price may not be attractive to some people for such a simple puzzler, there is a wealth of gameplay available; it could be the 60 levels, challenges, a few extra bosses or those perfect scores. It's designed to be played in short bursts, and does well to pass the time. It definitely deserves some attention.
Simple and addictive. Perfect for short bursts of gameplay, made all the better by responsive controls.
Bright and colourful, they do the job well and set each level apart. Whilst they aren't the most complex, they are certainly functional.
Nothing special here but at least they don't impede wanting to play the game -- again, functional.
60 levels, extra bosses and an ever changing challenge roster. You would be hard pushed not to find something to do, but then again, the game is very similar to the rest of itself so those looking for variety may get bored.
Pop Cap has delivered a well-rounded puzzler that keeps on delivering, albeit one that is so similar to Mitchell Corporation's original game, actionloop, that it ventures into plagiarism territory. If anyone is looking for something to keep themselves occupied for a while and if you need your perfect scores skills itch scratching, Zuma's Revenge on DSiWare will definitely soothe the pain.