Zuma is an action-puzzle game that puts the sphere-shooting, color-matching play of the Bust-A-Move games on a variety of patterned playing fields. Each playing field has a grooved channel that winds and twists about, and a stone frog "idol" in the center. Players have a top-down view of the action. A string of differently colored marbles slowly moves through the winding channel, from the outside of the board toward the frog in the center. The frog can be freely rotated, and players can shoot the differently colored marbles (which appear in its mouth) in any direction.
By shooting a marble from the frog's mouth into a series of the same colored marbles in the channel, players can create successions of three or more spheres of the same color; when this happens, all the marbles in the succession disappear. The object of the game is to remove all the marbles in the channel, ideally by firing as few marbles from the frog's mouth as possible. Various power-up marbles appear occasionally, producing special effects when shot, and chain reactions are possible, but if the line of marbles in the channel reaches the frog in the center, the level is lost.
The original version of PopCap's Zuma can be played for free online. The retail "Deluxe" version of the game features 3D graphics, new background themes, more sound effects and music, and additional modes of play.
PopCap Games are one of the best makers of addictive puzzle games in the world and given the current repetitive gaming market, sports, first person shooters and car games, Mindscape Games have fortunately given the thinking Australian gamer something a little different.
Zuma turns gamers into an almost archaeological treasure hunter where you must match a variety of Aztec type colored stone orbs in order to burst them into the ether before these orbs come crashing down on you.
Featuring a spiral type interface that has a variety of balls coming toward your creature, you must basically match colors in order to prevent this from happening. The game itself may have origins to Tetris, however is more like Bust-a-Move as players move the mouse to fire the colored orb which appears in your creatures mouth with the corresponding color. Although it may be easy from the start, the game does become progressively more difficult and frustratingly entertaining.
At the end of the day, it's a true thinking man's puzzle game that as you can see from the below screenshot is quite a breath of fresh air. Besides the player, the star of the game is the little Aztec frog-like creature.
The installation of the game was a breeze and once installed, we were treated to a rather intuitive menu system that offered the player two modes of play which include adventure and gauntlet. Adventure is more your traditional puzzle game where you must steadily progress through the levels (or temples), whereas gauntlet is considerably more fast paced. Needless to say, both entertaining.
Graphically, the title is quite colorful and even though quite basic at times, actually suits the game perfectly. Sound wise, it contains a great ambient soundtrack and some entertaining sound effects to draw you into the world of Zuma!
In conclusion, Zuma is a great puzzle game for the PC that we could happily recommend to those gamers who enjoy a good puzzle and strategy game. It's Tetris for the 21st century!
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