Zuma’s Revenge is a new release for iOS devices from PopCap. It comes in two versions — an iPhone-only version, and an HD Universal version optimized for the iPad and Retina display devices to run the game at its full resolution.
In Zuma’s Revenge, players have control of a frog which spits out colored balls. Similar balls roll slowly around a track on their way towards a hole, and by matching groups of three or more balls together, the player is able to make them disappear. Certain balls carry special abilities which are unleashed when matched, such as exploding and destroying adjacent balls, or temporarily giving the frog the ability to destroy balls without having to match colors. If the balls fall down the hole, the player loses. To win, on the other hand, players must first score enough points to fill a progress bar at the top of the screen, at which point no further balls will emerge. When this has happened, the player must then eliminate all balls on the screen to complete the level. Bonuses are given at the end of a level according to how quickly it was completed and the biggest combos that were created.
The game is played using simple touch controls. Unlike the computer and console versions, where players must control the frog’s rotation and aim its shots themselves, the iOS version allows players to simply tap on the screen where they would like the ball to fire. This makes for a much more fast-paced game, but still leaves margin for error if the movement of the balls is not taken into account. The game also includes a number of twists on the original Zuma’s level design, which always involved the frog being at the center of the screen and rotating — in some levels on Revenge, the frog moves back and forth across the bottom of the screen firing upwards instead, making for a slightly different play style.
Alongside the main Adventure mode, which tasks players with progressing through a series of increasingly difficult levels (including boss fights), completing the tenth level unlocks Challenge Mode. This is a series of one-off levels in which players are given three minutes to score as many points as possible in an attempt to beat two target scores. The game does not, however, feature a Blitz mode based on the popular competitive Facebook incarnation of Zuma, nor does it include any social features run through Game Center, OpenFeint or even EA’s own Origin service, which is something of a surprise.
Zuma’s Revenge isn’t the first game to carry the Zuma title on iOS, but it is the first Zuma-branded game which actually comes from the game’s developer PopCap. Coincidentally, the numerous “fake” Zuma apps that have been visible in the charts in recent weeks now appear to have vanished from the App Store, though titles which play similarly but do not carry the Zuma name are still present. This includes Zuma’s direct inspiration Puzz Loop, published by Hudson Soft. Zuma was accused of being a clone of Puzz Loop upon its original release, with developer Mitchell even going so far as to say that PopCap had infringed on their intellectual property. PopCap responded that Zuma was “not an exact clone” but rather an elaboration on Mitchell’s original idea, and the two titles have coexisted since.
According to our tracking service AppData, Zuma’s Revenge is currently the No. 3 top paid app and the No. 2 top paid game. Meanwhile, the more expensive HD version is the No. 196 top paid app, No. 5 top paid iPad app, No. 102 top paid game and No. 4 top paid iPad game. The game’s success is likely partly due to Apple’s featuring of the game as Game of the Week in certain territories (though not in the U.S., where that honor currently belongs to Mass Effect Infiltrator) but also positive associations with the PopCap name and past experiences of the Zuma brand.