Zuma (PC) Review

Zuma is a 2003 puzzle game for PC developed by PopCap Games and published by Focus Essential. The player controls a frog statue that shoots colored balls and the aim is to keep matching them with the ones on the tracks (?) without letting them reach you.

The logo looks quite nice and you’re immediately met with quite catchy music, although its not something I’d download. The menu is quite cool too although there isn’t many options but simply music/sound volume, fullscreen, custom cursors and Hardware accelerations. Not to mention Fullscreen seems to be 640×480 which is worse than the 16 year old laptop i’m stuck with. Might be interesting to note all graphics in the game are just pictures and can be edited with something as simple as paint (frog replacement for example). Gauntlet is basically an endless mode with a level select while Adventure gives you more and more difficult levels as you progress (which is needed to unlock them in Gauntlet).

Getting into the game i felt the graphics were alright for its age even if i did find out the game is incredibly 2D, the music gets a bit annoying though even if you do like it when you first start playing. From playing a little while i realised that its the sort of game where both the controls and gameplay seems quite easy but its actually a bit more complex. As well as balls getting in the way of other ones there are also parts where they overlap as well as special balls like bombs, backwards balls (which makes everything go backwards for a bit) and an accuracy ball that gives you a temporary aimer. In fact the speed can easily overwhelm you if you’re not careful but thankfully the game helps you alot too, for example if theres enough to make a match on either side of a match you make the closer part move back to the other which is super useful if you made a big combo. Its actually quite addictive for a while.

One of the things that makes it so addictive is probably because of the very nice difficulty curve. There’s no spikes that i know of, especially in Gauntlet mode (aka Survival) with 4 levels of difficulty (Rabbit, Eagle, Jaguar and Sun God) per stage which are further split into 7 sub levels. It feels awesome to last for a long time even if your score was crappy compared to everyone else (I lasted 9:12 in the first level and got to Jaguar 2). Something i found useful is once you reach a new difficulty level you can start from there but if you’re trying to get a high score you’d start from the beginning either way. Plus on top of that the Adventure levels actually have an ‘Ace’ time that you can check by pressing T. I highly enjoyed myself even the game has aged in various ways.

Overall i can recommend playing this game, I’m sure there must of been a remake by now though so I’d suggest getting a digital version (EA Origins perhaps).


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