Review Date: November 22, 2010
Developer: Popcap Games
Publisher: Popcap Games
When Popcap released Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook, it stumbled across the perfect formula for creating a perfect arcade experience on the platform. And now the developer has done it again, only this time with the Zuma franchise. Zuma Blitz transforms the marble slinging games into a series of short, addictive bursts that will soon become the enemy of all your free time.
Just A Frog And His Marbles
If you haven't played a Zuma game before, the premise is relatively simple. You control a frog who is surrounded by colored marbles and who has the ability to fire marbles out of his mouth. The goal, is to shoot out the marbles and create groups of three or more of the same color, in order to rack up points. And just like in Bejeweled Blitz, Zuma Blitz takes this puzzle formula and strips it down to one minute bouts of gameplay. You'll have just sixty seconds to rack up as high of a score as possible.
Of course, there's quite a bit of strategy to the game. You can cycle through different marble colors with a simple right click, and as you continue playing you'll unlock special powers. These range from exploding marbles to marbles that will add a few extra seconds to the clock. In the beginning you'll only be able to use one at a time but eventually you'll unlock three different slots where you can mix and match abilities. This lets you customize the experience, as you can choose which ever special powers best suit your play style.
What will keep you playing is the constant pursuit of a high score. At all times the game displays your highest scoring friends, which turns the experience in an incredibly competitive one. It may be a single player game but most of the fun comes from trying to beat your friends' score, something the the leaderboard will constantly remind you of.
The only real drawback with Zuma Blitz is the way it limits how much you can play. There's a heart meter that goes down as you play, but refills over time. You can also earn or buy idols to refill it.
The Bottom Line
But when the worst thing you have to say about a game is that you wish you could play it more, it must really be something special. And Zuma Blitz is. It maintains the same formula that made Bejeweled Blitz such an addictive time waster, and further improves on it with meaningful level progression and the ability to unlock special powers. It's a single player game that's inherently social and possibly the most intense single minute of gaming you'll experience.