You've probably seen this type of game at least once. A train of multicolored spheres are moving down a given path, and it is up to you to shoot balls at groups of same-colored orbs, destroying them, and clearing out the board before any of them can reach the end.
One of the more noticeable names in this sub-genre is PopCap's Zuma, and the game reviewed in this article is the sequel to the original; it's called Zuma's Revenge! (you have to say it with feeling). To be more exact, it's the iOS port of said sequel, which was first released back in 2009.
As with the original Zuma, you take control of a gem-spewing frog. However, whereas Zuma featured Aztec-inspired levels, Zuma's Revenge! sets you on 60 Pacific Island-themed stages. The objective remains the same though. Each level comes with its own path for the balls to take, from basic wide circling paths to some that zigzag all over the place, making it a challenge to reach the balls at times. Every now and then, the game mixes it up further by including stages where the frog can hop (pun intended) from one spot to another, and stages where you can move along a vertical track.
This challenge is alleviated somewhat through the use of power-up balls that appear at random. Breaking these orbs can benefit you in many ways, ranging from slowing down the balls, blowing some of them up, plowing through clusters of balls, and taking out every ball of a certain color on screen. While not too powerful, these power-ups in Zuma's Revenge! can be pivotal when the cards (or in this case, the balls) are stacked against you.
Zuma's Revenge! on iOS comes with two modes: Adventure and Challlenge. For the sake of structure consistency, I'll start with Adventure. Here, the 60 stages are divided into six areas, each with a Tiki boss battle at the end. Present in this mode is a "Zuma" gauge, which fills up whenever you remove balls, string combos, score by shooting between gaps in the ball train, and hit fruit that appear in hard to hit spots. Filling up the gauge is key, since it is the only way to stop the balls from appearing. This is important, because failing reduces the number of lives you have, and running out sends you back to the nearest checkpoint, either at the beginning or midway point of an area.
The boss battles in this mode are tests in patience and timing. Each Tiki boss hides behind a wall or two of balls, requiring you to break through before you can damage them. Complicating matters is the bosses' ability to hinder your progress by hurling various magic blasts at you. Aside from the occasional tweak, Zuma's Revenge!'s bosses are basically the same, and once you figure out how to beat one, you're pretty much covered.
Eschewing the objective of progressing through stages like in Adventure mode, Challenge mode is all about scoring as high as you can in a limited amount of time. Instead of the Zuma gauge, you have a "Bonus" gauge that fills up in a similar fashion. This causes the appearance of bonus orbs that increase your score multiplier. Each stage comes with two score benchmarks, a normal one and an Ace one, which you need to reach in order to unlock more stages. The fact that each round only last three minutes gives this mode a sense of urgency that's apparent even in the easy stages.
These two modes make for a game that is quick-paced, addictive, and very enjoyable. However, while I enjoyed Zuma's Revenge! overall, there are a few places in which the iOS version stumbles a bit. One issue has to do with the jump to "iDevices" in general, in that two of the modes from the original PC version are left out, such as Heroic Frog (a harder version of Adventure mode) and Iron Frog (a ten-stage gauntlet with only one life). This leaves you with just two modes and sixty stages, some of which can be played through quickly. Also, I think it's worth noting that while aiming and firing via touch controls works wells most of the time, it can get a tad tricky when you're aiming for a particular spot. More than I'd like to count, I found myself messing up a potential combo because the ball I fired landed on the wrong side of another.
Personally, I was not very fond of the randomness that hit me playing Zuma's Revenge!, at least, in the Adventure mode. On more than one occasion, I found myself unable to manage the balls that came onto the screen with the colored balls I was randomly given. It felt like the game hadn't prepared me to be able to clear the stage, and I ended up losing lives a lot and being sent back to the nearest checkpoint because of it. Then again, it may be that I just plain sucked at those moments, and that I'm covering up my lameness by blaming the game. That's up for debate.
In conclusion, Zuma's Revenge! for iOS is an addictive and challenging little game, despite some flaws and lack of content. In regards to the lack of content, I'd like to note that the full, PC version is priced at around $19.95 on PopCap's website, whereas the regular and HD version of the iOS port are priced at around $1.99 and $4.99 on iTunes, respectively. Not a bad deal, despite what is left out.
GameDynamo's Score for Zuma's Revenge! (Mobile)
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
[View Zuma's Revenge! images / screenshots +]
[Watch Zuma's Revenge! videos / trailers +]
[View more Zuma's Revenge! articles (news, previews, reviews) +]
[View Zuma's Revenge! cheats / guides +]
More from GameDynamo