Zuma Deluxe is an an exciting puzzle game with a unique Aztec theme. You must battle through multiple temples to find the secrets of the Zuma. In the game, a long chain of colored balls follows a path towards a golden skull. You've got to create matches of three or more balls and destroy the chain before it gets there, or it's game over. You can take on a variety of levels in Adventure Mode, or see how long you can hold out against an endless chain in Gauntlet Mode. Zuma Deluxe is simple enough for anyone to get the hang of, but still packs quite a challenge.
Basic playing Game:
In Zuma Deluxe, you control a stone frog that sits in the center of each level. This frog fires different colored balls that are destroyed when matched in groups of three or more. There is a long chain of the same colored balls following a winding path throughout the level than eventually ends at a golden skull. Your goal is to fire the colored balls and create enough matches to destroy the chain before it reaches the skull. If you fail to do so, you lose a life and must start the level over.
Occasionally, some colored balls will randomly change and have an icon on them, indicating that they will provide you with a powerup when destroyed. Some powerups may slow the speed of the balls, while others can make them move in reverse. It sounds simple enough, but can present quite a challenge on later levels when the difficulty ramps up.
100 Levels of Varying Difficulty:
There are over 100 different levels in Zuma Deluxe organized into different temples and stages. Each temple has multiple stages, and each stage has multiple levels. Each level presents a unique path for the chain of balls to travel, and some even have two chains to deal with. Some levels take the path through tunnels you can't fire balls into, or a path that winds around the frog (blocking the outside part of the chain from your line of fire). The levels range from the simple and easy to the extremely complex and challenging.
The biggest downside is that despite the differences and changes that occur from level to level, there isn't much variety in the action.
A Couple Different Game Modes Offer Some Variety:
Zuma Deluxe does provide two different modes of gameplay. Adventure Mode is the only one available at first. This mode takes your through the various levels and temples the game offers, which are then unlocked for the Gauntlet Mode when beaten. Gauntlet Mode has similar gameplay to Adventure Mode, but with a few changes. Rather than advancing through levels, you select only a single level to play on. You play your selected level with an endless chain of the colored balls. Your goal is to last as long as possible before the increasing colors and speed of the chain overwhelm you and finally reach the golden skull.
Should Challenge Most Players:
The difficulty level in Zuma Deluxe starts low and continues to ramp up as you progress through the game. You start with slow moving chains on simple paths and only a few ball colors to deal with. As you beat levels, the speed of the chain and complexity of paths continue to increase (and some levels have you dealing with two chains, a challenging task). The number of colors you need to deal with slowly increase as well, with up to six different colors to manage. Unfortunately, Zuma Deluxe does not provide any options to change the difficulty level. Such an option would have been a nice addition to improve the game for players finding it too hard or too easy. However, the Adventure Mode should provide a good challenge for most players, while Gauntlet Mode can provide a tougher experience for more experienced or hardcore players.
Additionally, levels provide various bonuses (like coins) that aren't necessary to complete the level but will reward a large number of points. These bonuses can add another element of difficulty for that group of players.
Easy to Learn and Play:
The controls in Zuma Deluxe are few in number and simple to use. You turn the stone frog to aim balls using the mouse. You fire the balls with a simple click. The frog holds two balls at once, often two different colors. You can switch between these two balls using the Right Mouse button. Those few controls are all you need to know to begin your Zuma experience.
Zuma Deluxe does a great job when it comes to presentation and the theme. The visuals all fit well in the Aztec motif. The background art for temples, the designs on the stone frog and colored balls, and even the golden skull all help build a consistent and immersive theme. The music and sound effects also fit perfectly. There are also sound cues that let you know when something is happening. The sounds will get louder as you eliminate multiple groups of balls in quick succession. Other sound effects will alert you when you get a bonus or powerup. When you put it all together, it is a great experience.