Zuma’s Revenge Review
Puzzle games have had a rough ride these last few years. Back in the day, a decent puzzle game could justify the same asking price as FIFA or Need For Speed. But as soon as download services came onto the scene, the poor old puzzler felt the pinch worse than any other genre.
The very idea of a game like Bejeweled releasing at full price became laughable almost overnight and now, even the notion of paying around a tenner or less for simple games is starting to grate.
Free online games, indie bargains, iPhone and Android greats that cost less than a bag of crisps… the climate has changed once again and while a great puzzle game might still be able to command a fair price, Zuma’s Revenge isn’t one.
No, it’s a port of the three-year-old PC sequel to match-three ball-blaster Zuma, a Live Arcade veteran whose brutal difficulty spikes and random colour sequences mean we still haven’t finished it some five years after release. Revenge, on the other hand, was put to bed with no supper in under five hours, all seen.
It’s been brewed to pretty much the same recipe, just with all of the challenge siphoned off and game-breaking new power-ups and abilities sprinkled liberally into the mix.
The end result is not so much a game you play as one that just happens while you hold a controller and while the original challenged you to simply reach the credits (which precious few of us ever did), Revenge seems to think that players will want to approach it as a score attack game.
The new laser power-up is useful for eliminating single annoying orbs.
But in truth, the mechanics and gameplay just aren’t strong enough for that to add lasting appeal, or to even work properly.
For starters, score bonuses at the end of each level are largely based on completion time. Which, in turn, depends almost entirely on the starting colours both on the board and loaded into Mr Frog.
Get lucky and there’s a huge bonus in it for you; get screwed over by a useless chain of single colours and you’ll be lucky to even beat the target time.
Similarly, Spirit Animals add abilities that can help boost your score but with no skill or strategy – it’s just a case of grinding Adventure mode until you’ve got them all.
Devoid of challenge and with next-to-no lasting appeal, Zuma’s Revenge is worse than the original in pretty much every way. And twice the price. Hop along now, Zuma. You’ve had your day.