by Robert Bruce (special guest reviewer from our close friends, Angry Bananas)
Oh hai there, I’m reviewing Zuma’s Revenge.
The game is Zuma’s Revenge, it’s the same game Popcap has been re-releasing onto every single console they can for the past couple of years. I guess this is the “sequal” to the original Zuma? To me, who is admittedly not a Zuma afficianado, it seems to be the same EXACT game they have been releasing on every console since… many moons ago, regardless of the title change. It’s not a bad idea, mind you. I see lot’s of profit in the Popcap buisness model. Regurgitation of a succesful game, especially a simple game of this nature that doesn’t get old with repitition, it makes a lot of sense, so I am not downing it. However, I have some problems with this particular game, and it’s iteration on the DS.
The game is a typical Popcap style simple/ puzzle fun type game, with cutesie characters and jocular dialogue. Popcap games take “light/ casual” gaming to a new level, and really are one of the best, most consistently successful game makers in this category.
In Zuma’s Revenge, or ZR as I like to call it, you control a frog that shoots balls out of it’s mouth, toward other balls. It’s a lot like the Bust a Move puzzle mechanic, in that you must match up at least 3 balls of the same color and then they disapear. This type of thing repeats until you can clear the board of all balls. The balls are being spit out at a certain speed interval so you must quickly line up shots. There may be more than one line and areas of the line might be cut-off, forcing the frog to jump to another shooting vantage point. There are various special balls that will give you a guide, destroy other balls of the same color, etc. This type of gameplay continues ad-infinitum as with all puzzle games of this nature, with increasing speed, and pattern difficulty. There are some challenge modes, and some other modes, that help give the game some replay value and longevity. Of note, but not REALLY of note is that the theme is Hawaiin/ Samoan, Pacific Islander, fyi. Not much to say about that, so I leave that where it lies.
As with all Popcap games, it’s a simple, straightforward, easy-to-pick-up as well as easy-to-put-down game. However, I don’t find this particular game to be the best Pop-Cap has to offer, and that’s really just a feeling thing. For me its just “eh…”. The other three main-line titles from Popcap are a little more engaging: Peggle; Bookworm Adventure; Plants vs. Zombies. I think each of the story-lines, as cardboard and cheesy as they are, end up being charming. The tacked on story line to Zuma’s Revenge is just not that charming, and I find the game-play, just not fun enough to addict. On the other hand it seems some people out there really do like this game, and the core of the game-play is fun enough to really get people into it for a prolonged period of time. Kudos to them, but… yeah not for me.
Even so, I would probably stay away from the DS version, as the resolution is abysmal, and the porting causes control issues. The game makes more sense on a smartphone, for price point and resolution matching; also the game style matches the typical game style of that device. That being said, if you are a grandmother/mother/ relative of a kid that is into video games, this would be a better, innocuous, cheap, non-offensive, stocking-stuffer type game to give a kid, rather than making the mistake of getting them some liscense-game garbage, such as Spogebob Squarepants, or what have you. However, I would suggest Plants vs Zombies or Peggle first.