It's easy to bill Ruby Blast as "just another match-three game," and many probably will. But Grant and his team want you to look closer and notice the strides they made to help this puzzler stand out. In collaboration with Zynga China, the social game giant's first release from its Seattle Studio is also the company's first game to take advantage of Flash Player 11. The glitz and glamor of Ruby Blast is what players will likely notice first.
Just like Zynga promised with Bubble Safari before it, players can enjoy Ruby Blast near-indefinitely ... if they've got what it takes. As you destroy jewels buried in the earth's crust for protagonist Ruby Stone, you'll clear away rows of dirt, sending your session deeper into the ground and adding extra time to the clock. Each crack at a high score costs energy, which refills over time--naturally.
As a glittering stream of stars obliterates columns of gems during a game play demonstration of Ruby Blast, Grant tells us that the Star Fall power-up alone is powered by six particle effects. (Thank you, Stage 3D.) Before each round, players eventually earn the option to choose three abilities with which to tackle their friends' high scores. But these aren't one-off boosts. Power-ups like the explosive Nova Flare and Cherry Bomb replenish as players clear like-colored gems.
Along the way, players will also find that their friends serve as useful power-ups. As you dig deeper, your friends will appear in your round as "friend gems," special row and dirt-clearing gems that you can fire off at will. Grant promises that, later this year, Zynga.com players will get to go head-to-head in real-time multiplayer bouts of Ruby Blast.
While it's certainly not the first match-three game even on Facebook--and not the first to center around shiny minerals by a long shot--Ruby Blast furthers what seems to be a new direction for Zynga, one headed toward games that demand more of their players than time management skills. Ruby Blast is
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