The fine ladies and gentlemen of PopCap
--psych! After playing around in the world of Zuma Blitz's Kroakatoa Island
for a while, you can almost expect those words to appear, as if this were a serial event. The soup to nuts upgrade of all that is Zuma
is indeed a fresh coat of paint, but it almost feels as if Zuma Blitz scored a souped-up engine to make things really run.
Taking a closer, longing look at that high-gloss paint, Kroakatoa Island is a visual re-visitation of the Zuma franchise that both incorporates elements from more recent renditions and sends the ball-belching bullfrog--well, more like a tree frog--in a new artistic direction. Kroakatoa Island is a striking mixture of a '50s-era-inspired art style and a high-definition in-game art that we're used to with releases like Zuma's Revenge for Xbox Live Arcade.
While it bears repeating that Kroakatoa Island is a delight to gaze at, it's also important to point out that this version of the social game, again, neglects full screen support. Given that this upgrade was billed as a top-to-bottom approach to Zuma Blitz, the omission of a full screen mode is rather glaring. Putting all this visual and developmental work into a re-release and not showing it off in a full 24, 13 or even 10 inches is a disappointment.
Another downside is that Kroakatoa Island sees players start over again. More specifically, upon loading up the new Zuma Blitz for the first time, players will start with a clean slate. As in Level One. As in no Badges. As in no power-ups. (At least that's what happened to this writer in particular.) It's hard to imagine many diehard Zuma Blitz fans taking that change lightly.
Detractions aside, Kroakatoa Island serves to enhance the player's experience while shooting marbles as well. As players gain stars toward promotions, they'll gradually unlock new features, the most notable of which being Treats. Purchased with coins and operating in the same way as power-ups (activated before each round), these provide more passive bonuses that inversely change the game dramatically.
For instance, the Lucky Lei increases the frequency of bunches of like-colored marbles appear while simultaneously increasing the amounts of marbles in said bunches. This in turn creates far more ammunition for match chains, which then increases your chances at triggering a Hot Frog, an exciting moment in which the little guy spits out three explosive fireballs in succession.
Later on, players will unlock the ability to purchase spirit animals that drastically change how the game is played and how it looks. Kroakatoa Island is a fine revival of the Zuma Blitz we once adored, but strange motions to ignore full screen support and wiping players' progress might turn a lot of heads in the opposite direction for good. Despite that, Kroakatoa Island deserves your attention as a self-respecting fan of marble shooters.
Click here to play Zuma Blitz: Kroakatoa Island on Facebook Now >
Are you psyched to try out the new-and-improved Zuma Blitz? Are you too bummed by the changes (or lack thereof)? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.