Zuma's Revenge! review
If you're like me, you're playing Zuma on your computer while you're supposed to be working. I'm one of those people that get sucked into and addicted to games like this. Zuma is on its way to the iOS, but if you need your mobile ball-blasting action now, Zuma's Revenge! is available on the Nintendo DS. How does it hold up on a handheld? Pretty damn good.
The story of Zuma's Revenge is that some force has taken the ball-shooting frog to a new island world of Zuma ruled by six tiki bosses. That's pretty much it. The story isn't why you play a game of Zuma, though.
On the Nintendo DS, Zuma's Revenge is played entirely through the touch screen. You need to shoot a colored sphere at a parade of colored spheres traveling down a winding path towards a destination that causes you to lose if they reach it. Get a group of three like-colored spheres and it clears them from the path. There's also power-ups to get, like a laser sight, a shotgun blast that clears all spheres in its way, and an explosion sphere that destroys all spheres in its vicinity.
Aiming and shooting is done with the touch screen and stylus — simply tap where you want the sphere to shoot. Other levels will have you sliding along a bar, which you can control by simply tapping where you want to be on that bar; hopping to another lily pad on the map to set up a better shot, again by tapping on that pad; and swapping the color of the sphere you're shooting, which you can do by tapping the frog or by pressing the L or R button.
As you can see, the controls are very straight forward. If you're used to playing on the computer with a mouse, don't wory, as the touch controls allow you to lead shots with as much accuracy. Not once did I ever find myself missing the mouse.
At the main menu, you'll be presented with all of your game playing options. In Adventure mode, which is kind of the main bulk of the game, you travel through six island zones, each one containing 10 levels and a battles against one of the tiki bosses at the end. Bosses take gradual damage, which you can see by the hearts below them. While boss battles are differ from regular maps, all of the bosses require the same strategy. It usually involves using the bomb power-up to remove a shield around the boss, and then shooting the tiki, or you shoot other objects moving around, then shooting the tiki. They can get a little difficult, as the tiki boss shoots ink and other vision/movement/shooting-impairing projectiles at you.
What's great about the Adventure mode is that it gradually increases in difficulty. It's not like all of the levels are really easy and then out of nowhere there's an impossible level. You will gradually be tested more and more.
Challenge mode has 70 levels where you need to achieve a certain score on in a set amount of time in order to pass. You can further your time in this mode by trying to get an Ace for each level, which you can do by getting your score higher than the Ace score. Daily Dungeon gives you a random level, challenge, and ace score, then you try to complete three tasks: Astro has you survive 10 waves of balls snaking through space; Blitz has you score a target number of points in one minute; and Boss has you beat a random tiki boss (which is unlocked by completing Adventure mode).
VS allows two players to go head-to-head in either a battle where you add balls to your opponent's chain, a score attack mode like blitz mode, and a survival mode to see which player lasts longest.
Iron Frog is the last mode, which is unlocked by beating Adventure mode, challenges you with getting through 10 tough levels on one life. As a matter of fact, beating Adventure mode unlocks more power-ups and levels for all of the other modes. You can also track all of your in-depth stats through the Tiki Temple.
My complaints about the game come from the visuals and sound. I don't want to sound like a graphics wh*re, but the visuals are lacking. It doesn't affect the fun of the game, but some cleaner, crisper visuals would make the game much easier on the eyes. With bonuses popping up and balls moving fast, sometimes it's tough on the eyes to keep up with all of the action. The sound is severely lacking. It sounds so lo-fi and very raspy. I didn't think tribal beats could ever sound this bad. By far, the sound is the most disappointing aspect of the game.
Overall, you get exactly what you expect to get from Zuma's Revenge!. It's a very fun and addicting game that can be played in short bursts or over a long period of time. There's enough to strive for in this game that makes it worth your while. If you can get over the dull visuals and poor sound quality, you'll have a blast with Zuma's Revenge!.
[Reviewed on Nintendo DS]
You can follow Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ