A pretty hardcore casual game
Plants versus Zombies placed PopCap on my radar as far as game purchases go and the re-emergence of an old university favourite of mine (Zuma), made its sequel an almost instant impulse buy. I've completed the adventure mode of Zuma's revenge and a few of the challenge maps and I'm happy to say that Zuma's revenge is a worthy sequel packed with all the features and modes one would expect from a Zuma game as well as a few pleasant surprises.
The main adventure mode consists of 60 stages and introduces some hardcore game play elements to the casual market that would typically enjoy Zuma's match-three game play. Zuma's Revenge has unlocks, a check-point save system, and even a few boss battles. These are features that are typically associated with more hardcore fare. The most hardcore aspect of Zuma's revenge is the difficulty curve however. You can expect quite a decent challenge from the adventure mode and you will have to hone your aim and strategies to complete it. It is well worth sticking with the game despite its punishing difficulty (for a casual game) to see the game's final boss and ending.
Once the adventure mode is completed, a more difficult adventure mode called Heroic Frog mode is unlocked as well as a survival mode called Iron Frog. Challenge maps can be tackled from the outset and unlock as they are completed. I can easily see myself returning to these modes on nights where my focus levels are just not up to a fast paced RTS or multiplayer FPS. If Zuma's core game mechanics interest you, there will be more than enough to entertain you here.
Only the slightest additions to the core game have been made in the form of new powerups such as lightning that clears all balls of a type and a triple shot which clears all balls in a wedge. Some levels also allow you to jump between two firing positions or to move along a horizontal or vertical axis.
The final thing to be noted about Zuma's revenge is that it is an absolute visual delight in this modern age of drab graphics. The graphics are nothing special by any technical standard but the art style is colourful and humorous. Zuma's Revenge should be easy on the eyes for all the many hours you may spend with it. Another nice graphical feature is that the game includes a mode that assists those with colour blindness which is especially thoughtful considering the colour matching nature of the game play.
To conclude the only detractors from Zuma are its difficulty (although I enjoyed this aspect) as a casual game and the fact that no major game play improvements have been made. If you are looking for a relaxing game but would still appreciate some challenge, ZR's Wiki island is just the holiday destination for you!