Review: Zuba Deluxe
Take a classic game theme (Aztecs, jungle techno, coloured balls, temple runography) and apply it to simple 'Columns' arcade gameplay and you end up with.... Zuba Deluxe. Unaccountably, it's free in the Nokia Store even though there's also a 'trial' version - don't question it, just grab it while you can. It's a competent enough, even at times gripping, arcade puzzler and with atmosphere oozing from its pores, it's hard to argue with at this price point.
You'll get the idea immediately from the screenshots above. We're talking jungle foliage, Aztec skulls, mystically patterned and coloured orbs, but as soon as you see the descending columns above right, you'll know what to do. Drag the ball launcher from left to right as needed and tap to fire each ball into an advancing column. Match a colour or 'scarab' and you eliminate them from the playing area - match several and you get extra score.
Level by level, you proceed, with balls advancing faster, the aim being to complete a certain number of eliminations with as few misses (where a column of balls falls into the hole) as possible. There are several stages of nine levels - I'm not sure how many because the documentation doesn't say, but suffice it to say that there's many hours of happy gameplay here.
In addition to the four ball columns, there are numerous powerup balls, some of which are shown below right - these fall between the columns and can be caught and fired to good effect. My favourite is a 'fire' ball which zaps all balls in a column, but all the powerups are good, so you can basically make sure you catch and use everything that drops.
At which point you basically know everything you need to. There are elements of strategy, in watching out for, and then executing blocks of coloured balls to get as high a score as possible in each level, there are elements of speed, in that the balls relentlessly advance and you only have so long to keep servicing the columns. And there are elements of luck, evidenced by which balls appear next in each column and in your launcher.
Behind all this, there's a pumping 'Tangerine Dream' style musical soundtrack that's right up my alley, plus appropriate firing and exploding sound effects when needed.
Aside from the confusing presence of two 'free' versions in the Store, there's also the standard of English throughout ("same shap in a raw") to contend with, but look past this and you have a satisfying arcade puzzler that's a genuinely great way to while away waiting time in queues or on public transport.
Grab it now from the Nokia Store.
Reviewed by Steve Litchfield at