HomeReviews3.5/5 ReviewZumania Review 

Zumania Review 

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There’s a bit of an old school reunion party going on in the gaming world in 2023. 

Over recent times Atari have been found picking up the nostalgic stick, reimagining and Recharging their classics from decades past. And there have been a ton of arcade icons popping up on the digital stores too; Operation Wolf and the like. It’s like we are 12-years old again!

But for many it’s the rebirth of Xbox 360 era games that excites most. We’ve already seen the spiritual successor to Marble Blast Ultra test our ball rolling skills in Marble It Up! Ultra. And now Zumania is here to scratch an orb-shooting, colour-matching, train-destroying itch. 

You see, back on Xbox 360, in the early days of the Xbox Live Arcade, Zuma ruled the roost. It was a game that everyone was playing and I must have sunk tens – maybe hundreds – of hours into that thing. It makes Zumania a hugely appealing, massively addictive hit of orb goodness. 

zumania review 1
Old-school Zuma action

Let’s not pad things anymore. Zumania is a straight up Zuma clone. For better, for worse, for not caring. If you ever played that Xbox 360 classic back in the day, we’d say this is an immediate must buy. If you didn’t, it’s going to be the start of the addiction you didn’t know you had; albeit an addiction that might be slightly cruder to anything you would normally play in visual terms. We’re not going to let some basic graphics ruin things though. 

But what is Zumania? Well, it takes everything that anyone ever knew and loved about the usual Zuma, plays with the usual mechanics and takes the player across some 100 levels. It places you in charge of a catapult (no froggy guy here), capable of spinning on its axis in a 360 degree stylee. That catapult fires orbs, balls, spheres, whatever you want to call them, each coloured to match multiple other balls found training their way across your level. 

Firing off your balls, creating a match of three or more coloured balls in the train results in a full-on explosion of colour; those balls removed, the ever-moving train slowed for a second. 

The ultimate goal is to clear that train prior to any ball dropping into an exit portal. Should they do so, you’ve failed in your task and it’s back to the start of the stage again. Left to try once more. Succeed, smashing apart the rolling hordes and you’ll move onto the next level. Repeat, rinse, enjoy. 

zumania review 2
Make the most of the powers

With multiple coloured orbs thrown in as progress is made, matching up those colours is not as easy as you will imagine. And it’s made ever more tricky by the dastardly tricky, winding tracks that the sphere train runs along. Sometimes those trains are multiple numbers too, coming from various pathways and angles, ensuring you need to consider various patterns of attack. And there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme nor reason behind the layouts either. You may find yourself merrily ploughing through stages only to get stuck on a random one for hours. It’s a frustration we didn’t expect to find in this cheap little game. 

Thankfully your catapult is pretty accurate and it’s relatively easy to line things up and let fly. Of course, pinging a ball across an entire screen is harder than firing just a short distance, but you’ll be found doing both in Zumania as you try to get on top of matters. With that catapult holding dual shots, picking from a couple of colour options is possible. You’ll rarely ever get time to really sit back and think though – for much of Zumania, you’ll be relying on fast reflexes and split-second decision making. 

Power-ups are in place to help. A precision pointer feels a bit pointless for the majority of the time, but match up a reverse, lightning strike or bomb and you are quids in. Sometimes those are enough to change an ever-losing battle in your favour. And we’ve been there many times, on the edge, failing. 

With those hundred levels and tens of hours of gameplay available to shoot through, the low asking price of Zumania makes this a hugely tempting affair. You’re looking at some five pence per level, which, if you look at the fact you’ll probably be found trying many of them a few times before they are beat, is incredible value for money. Add in level scorings and Zumania is pretty decently equipped. 

zumania review 3
Some levels can be a damn nightmare

It’s a huge shame that there’s no sign of an online leaderboard then. It seems like a massive miss, as chasing leaderboard scores between Zumania friends could have allowed for further replayability. As it is, you’ll just be left to slowly work your way through the levels at hand, ticking off the ton and then being done. We see no reason to ever go back to complete a level of Zumania twice, even as that addiction grows. 

Consider the low asking price but high level count and Zumania pretty much sells itself. Anyone who found themselves addicted to the Xbox 360 classic years back will lap this one up. And even if you haven’t previously experienced the Zuma magic, Zumania is still well worth lining up for a shot.

SUMMARY

Pros:
  • Uber colourful
  • So addictive
  • Tons of levels for a low price
Cons:
  • Fairly crude visuals
  • A lack of online leaderboards means zero replayability
  • Some levels cross the line of frustration
Info:
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, TXH
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One
  • Release date and price - 6 October 2023 | £4.99
Neil Watton
Neil Wattonhttps://www.thexboxhub.com/
An Xbox gamer since 2002, I bought the big black box just to play Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee. I have since loved every second of the 360's life and am now just as obsessed with the Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S - mostly with the brilliant indie scene that has come to the fore. Gamertag is neil363, feel free to add me to your list.
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Uber colourful</li> <li>So addictive</li> <li>Tons of levels for a low price</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Fairly crude visuals</li> <li>A lack of online leaderboards means zero replayability</li> <li>Some levels cross the line of frustration</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, TXH</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One <li>Release date and price - 6 October 2023 | £4.99</li> </ul>Zumania Review 
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