Like you, we've spent many hours blasting colored stones in PopCap's addicting game, Zuma
. If you want to take your high score over the edge, however, follow these eight tips compiled by our staff.
One of our favorite tips: be sure to shoot coins, which make random appearances in the game. If you hit one, your score will quickly multiply. This is harder than it sounds, because the coins often appear behind a line of stones, which means you have to wait until you have a clear shot to score the extra points. Better yet, create your own clearing by using a rapid double-tapping technique (i.e. clear out a line of colored stones that are blocking your patch. That creates a temporary gap, which gives you a fraction of a second to shoot and hit the coin.) It takes practice to pull off this technique, but your score will thank you.
Click through the gallery below to read all eight tips & tricks!
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Welcome to the Zuma tips gallery. We hope these tips will help improve your Zuma game and help you put up high scores.
The keys to being successful at the game are accuracy and efficiency. The game starts out slow and forgiving, so take time to fire intelligently. Watch what happens each time a group of balls is destroyed.
The frog houses two balls at a time. The ball in his mouth is the ball "in the chamber." The color on the top of his head represents the color of the ball that is "on deck." The two can be switched at any time by clicking on the right mouse button. Use this to your advantage at times when the second color would be more useful.
Each level has a target score represented by the orange progress bar at the top of the screen. When the orange bar is filled (it will turn green), "Zuma" is achieved. The state of "Zuma" means that the balls will slow down and roll backward temporarily if they are further than 50 percent along the curve. Use this time wisely to assess the situation and ready the best strategy, like setting up combos to clear the balls quickly.
Another big score is the chain bonus. If five or more subsequent shots each generate an explosion, this is considered a chain. Starting with the fifth, a bonus is added for each subsequent explosion. This is the easiest way to generate bonuses, but it also has the weakest point pay-off. The best time to employ this method is on the levels with a double curve. There are two independent curves generated their own ball clusters and, generally, there is much more curve exposed, so there is a better possibility of keeping the chain alive.
Balls of a like color attract. If a group of balls explodes, the remaining balls on either end of the explosion will draw toward each other if they are the same color. This is how to making combos. If those two remaining balls draw together and another group of three or more is formed, it will explode, creating a combo. Two or more explosions generated by a single shot are considered a combo. With each explosion, the bonus becomes greater and greater.
Shooting coins is always the best way to get points. It takes the least amount of time and has the highest yield. There is a trick to shooting coins, as they always lie behind balls on the curve. Opportunities to hit these coins usually present themselves randomly. A coin behind only one line of balls is easy to hit with a double tapping technique.
The final bonus is the gap bonus. This bonus is achieved when shooting through a gap in the balls to cause an explosion. The smaller the gap, the higher the bonus. Firing to create an explosion on the closest part of the curve and then firing quickly at the balls behind the gap you just created is the best way to score big. Watch for opportunities behind two (or more) gaps. They don't come around often, but the point yield is such that you won't want to miss it.
The single most important reason to collect as many points as possible is obtaining extra lives. An extra life is earned at 50,000 points. A good way to gather points is with speed. The faster you clear a level, the better chance you have of receiving a bonus. Each level has a pre-determined "Ace" time. Beating this time can bring in a bonus as high as 25,000 points. The best way to finish quickly is to garner as many points as possible as quickly as possible. Usually a combination of shooting gems, gaps, and chains is the best method. If the board is a double curve, take the chain bonus as far as possible while hitting any gems you can, while also paying attention to any gaps you create.
Also worth nothing, the anticipated sequel,
, has arrived for PC and Mac. Right now, the game is exclusively available at publisher PopCap's site for $19.99, where you can also download a free demo as well.