[i][b]Editor’s Note:[/b][/i] Zuma is basically identical to [url=http://www.snackbar-games.com/r361.html]Magnetica[/url], which we reveiwed back in June 2006.
[i]Zuma[/i] is an interesting game available via Xbox Live Arcade. The premise of the game is quite simple; You control a frog and you have to match 3 or more of the same colored balls by shooting them from the frog’s mouth. (Screenshots clarify the concept). Sounds simple right? It hardly is. To succeed at [i]Zuma[/i] you need to use strategy to match the balls up in chains to get a higher score. You must also fill up the [i]Zuma[/i] bar so no more balls come out, and at all cost avoid shooting a ball into the skull hole or it’s a game over. Thank goodness you have three lives at start and at every 50,000 points you get another life. To speed up the process of getting points, you can also pick up coins which can prove to be quite difficult. Collecting 100 coins will earn you an Achievement and Gamerscore points.
There are two modes in [i]Zuma[/i], Adventure mode and Gauntlet mode. In Adventure mode, you go through a number of maps, each with multiple levels, with the difficulty increasing in each map. At the onset of each game you always start from the first level, which makes Adventure mode quite a challenge. It can also make Adventure mode very annoying, especially if you have been playing for quite some time.
In Gauntlet mode the goal is to get the highest possible score. Here too, you progress through different levels of difficulty and various maps. I personally prefer Adventure mode to Gauntlet mode.
If you were like me and thought that it was an easy way to get Achievements and Gamerscore points, then I’m going to have to disappoint you. [i]Zuma[/i] is pretty hard, and some of the Achievements are just crazy (clear a level in five seconds). It only costs a few dollars, but I think you should spend that money (or marketplace points) on other XLA games/add-ons as [i]Zuma[/i] just doesn’t justify the cost. Feel free to check it out if it is ever offered for free.