Can Popcap's PC classic perform a repeat success story on mobile phones?
Oh Zuma, the hours we've spent together on the PC. The late nights, the mid-afternoon breaks that turn into hour-long productivity killers, the early morning pick-me-ups... we truly had a special relationship, did we not?
The PC release of Zuma from Popcap Games is one of those perfect puzzle titles that has a simple, pick-up-and-play concept, and refines it into a dangerously addictive and often challenging package. Glu's mobile release is slightly less perfect, but it's good enough that you will happily feed it hours and hours of your life.
In Zuma multicolored balls snake around a pre-set pathway, slowly but steadily progressing on the track until they hit the idol at the end. If that happens, it's game over. To slow or halt the relenting movement of the marbles, gamers fire colored marbles of their own into the line. When three like colors touch, they pop. Combos happen when the marbles you eliminate bring together like colors from either side. Like if you pop a group of reds that had two blues on either side, the blues would snap together satisfyingly, creating a combo and generating bonus points.
Other ways to boost hi-score also exist, creating additional depth. If you fire a marble through a marble gap you created, and eliminate more in that back row, bonus points can be earned. Clearing marbles with every shot multiple times in a row also racks up points. Lastly there are various power-ups available. One explodes all marbles in the area and another shows gamers a pointer, allowing for more accurate marble aiming.
Zuma's aim is the only major area that took a hit in this mobile release, and its less of an issue than I anticipated it would be. In the PC release you click the mouse where you want to fire the marble, so the focus is more on planning ahead and creating big, point-scoring combos. The mobile version has gamers rotating their aim left and right with the arrow keys and firing with the center button, however. The controls are still responsive and I didn't feel like it significantly hindered the experience, but it did make the game more aiming-centric, like a Bust-a-Move game.
The game's single player "quest" sends gamers through all the game's patterns, and then sends them back through again, with increased difficulty. There is also and "endless" mode in multiple difficulties for each one of the game's patterns, meaning there's a large number of hi-score boxes to fill. The adjustable difficulty ensures that Zuma can be enjoyed by anyone. On high levels the marbles moved too fast and there were too many colors for me to handle, but I enjoyed putting up hi-scores for the lower difficulties.
Zuma was a game I would have assumed to make a rough translation to mobile phones, but Glu has pulled it off quite well. It looks and sounds great, and is just as hard to put down once picked up as the original PC release.
What's Hot: It's so, so addicting
What's Not: Mobile version is more about aiming, less about setting up combos