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Review: Zuma’s Revenge! for the Nintendo DS

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating

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Review: Zuma’s Revenge! for the Nintendo DS
Image © PopCap

When it comes to the appeal of frog’s legs as an edible delicacy, it would be fair to say that the human race is likely still split on that. But when it comes to frogs as mascots and subjects of lore? Well, that’s a whole ‘nother story. The Frog Prince. Kermit. The WB Frog. Kerokerokeroppi. When it comes to nature’s amphibious denizens, none have received more pop culture recognition — or false tales about warts from old wives — than the good, old frog.

Even the video game sector has jumped on the frog bandwagon. Who can forget the '80s arcade fixture and George Costanza obsession, Frogger? Then there's Zuma, a game that has gone through its fair share of iterations since its 2003 release. This includes a recent stint on the Nintendo 3DS in the form of a port of Zuma's Revenge! — which is also available for PC, Mac and iOS devices such as iPad, iPhone and iPod. For the uninitiated, Zuma is a game that happens to have balls. Lots of balls. See, the game's whole mechanic is based on clearing multi-colored objects that snake their way through each stage. Tetris has its multi-colored blocks. Puyo Puyo has its technicolor blobs. Zuma has, well, balls. Clear them all before they clog up and you gain glorious, froggy victory. Fail and, well, you're froggy roadkill.

As with other color-based puzzlers, biding yor time to set up combos will let your rack up a higher score. These include basic combo bonuses for triggering several explosions with one shot, a chain bonus for, well, chaining multiple explosions, and even a gap bonus for triggering expolsions via gaps along the curve. Do keep in mind, however, that just like other color-based puzzlers, setting up combos in Zuma's Revenge! also comes with risk as a botched setup will backfire on you and fill up your curve pretty quick. It's your basic risk vs. reward puzzle mechanic, which makes Zuma's Revenge! one of those games that's easy to pick up yet hard to master.

To further boost replayability, Zuma’s Revenge! features several modes. There’s the main adventure mode, which features several levels and a lineup of tiki bosses intent on skewering the game’s amphibious hero. Finishing levels in Adventure Mode also opens up Challenge Mode, which is based more on using and matching multiplier balls to boost your score. Clear all Adventure Mode stages and you unlock a harder rendition as well as a special 10-level gauntlet mode known as Iron Frog Mode. There’s also a Daily Dungeon challenge mode that spits out three random levels on each day. Lastly, the game also adds versus modes to round out the whole package and differentiate it from the cheaper DSiWare version of the game.

Stylus use is integrated pretty well into Zuma’s Revenge! and is fairly accurate. About the only niggle I have about the game is that its graphics look dated. It would’ve been nice if the graphics were touched up or even updated to a look more suited for this day and age. Nevertheless, gameplay is still the most important thing for any game, and on that note Zuma’s Revenge! delivers.

Folks who don’t like puzzlers won’t be swayed by this game. But for folks itching for an old-school style puzzle game in a world where first-person shooters reign supreme, then Zuma’s Revenge! is like a mini-oasis in the desert — or a frog on a water lily. It’s a good puzzler overall.

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ZUMA’S REVENGE

  • Platform: Nintendo DS
  • Cost: $19
  • Final rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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