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PSN Review – Zuma

March 5, 2009 Written by Adam Wolfe


Zuma is the second game released onto PSN from Pop Cap Games. Zuma is a puzzle game that has been on every type of gaming platform from mobile phones to the Xbox 360. It has been a smash hit on all these other platforms, so how does it hold up in comparison?

The point of Zuma is to eliminate different colored balls that are traveling along a set path. You must do this by shooting other colored balls from the mouth of a frog to get at least three in a row. The ultimate goal is to get enough points to fill up a bar which will stop any new balls from entering. There is no time limit, but if the balls reach the opening at the end of the line then you will lose a life and need to start over.

Each round starts with a rush of balls that initially fill up a third of the set pattern. Your frog will then have two colored balls to use, one in his mouth and one in his back/rear. You can switch between each one by pressing circle to make sure you’ve made the appropriate choice. Once you get the hang of it it’s loads of fun. Bring your friends and put some party bets on it to make things more interesting and competitive! Pick your colour and give Zuma a shot.

Upon choosing your color, you will then fire that ball at the line of balls coming down. Once you get three or more in a line they will disappear, at which point you move onto the next color. Now you will notice that sometimes three or more balls will already be in a line, but these will not disappear until you fire a new ball at them.

There are also special balls that will help you out. One reverses the line, one slows down movement of the line, and the last one is a bomb, destroying multiple balls at a time when fired. There are also a few other things that are added to aide you. If you can shoot a ball between a gap to complete a line, or get multiple lines in a row, this will give you more points which will fill your bar up faster.

Zuma has quite a few levels included. There are three temples and each temple has three sections; within each section there are seven different map layouts. The first section of the first temple is relatively easy, but with each completed level the difficulty increases to a point that by section seven or eight, you will be ready to pull your hair out in frustration.

As well as the arcade mode, you can also play the Gauntlet, which is a survivor mode. Basically any map you have played in the arcade mode is unlocked and you will have an endless amount of colored balls coming. It starts off easy, but with each bar you fill up it will get harder and the amount of different colors will increase. You are slightly aided when you complete each bar, as it will reverse the line movemenet for about five seconds, but then it speeds right back up again.

The music and visuals aren’t anything special. There is only one song which can get quite old and the visuals really aren’t a big deal since thisĀ  is a 2D puzzle game. It would have been nice to have a variety of music since hearing the same song over and over gets old quick. Some gameplay variation would’ve been nice, and the difficulty level really shouldn’t be so high in the last few levels.

Though Zuma’s pretty fun, you really do need fast reaction times to process everything that is going on. It does not do anything different, but with the abundance of maps and the amount of replay value, this game for anyone who likes challennging, fast-paced puzzle games.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Numerous maps and good replay value.

Audio and visual work is subpar.

Deceptively simple, and ramps up in difficulty a lot.

7 out of 10