Square Enix returns to Xbox on Windows Phone with a puzzle game called KooZac
You could be forgiven for not expecting a new Xbox release this week. After Skulls of the Shogun’s long-awaited debut last week, there really aren’t too many upcoming Xbox Windows Phone games that we actually know about. But Microsoft told us the release drought would probably end this month, and it looks like they were right. A shiny new game has popped up for all Windows Phone 7 and 8 users today: the oddly named KooZac.
Almost as exciting as receiving a new release at all these days, KooZac comes from one of our favorite mobile publishers – Square Enix, makers of Final Fantasy. We actually heard whispers of this game coming to Windows Phone at E3 last year, but the representative was so noncommittal about it that we didn’t bother to get our hopes up. Looks like Square Enix hasn’t given up on Windows Phone yet!
You got your math in my puzzle game
KooZac is a falling block puzzle game with a twist: it also involves arithmetic. See, instead of matching colors or shapes, the goal is to create vertical stacks of numbers that add up to a target number. The target changes every few seconds, so players really have to stay on their toes and watch both the top and bottom of the screen in order to succeed.
Three medians, I mean modes to choose from
The game includes three different game types:
- Puzzle: 60 unique levels. To actually complete a level, you’ll need to clear all of the silver blocks it starts with by using them to make a match.
- Endless: Forget about silver blocks and just go after high scores.
- Blitz: Similar to Bejeweled Blitz on XBLA, this is a fast-paced 60 second score attack mode. Interestingly, players’ scores are apparently compared against those of their Facebook friends. That makes this the first Xbox Windows Phone game with actual Facebook integration.
Coins and boosting
KooZac includes a grinding focus that could potentially prove quite addicting. Players earn coins by playing Blitz mode and liking the game’s not-quite-ready Facebook page (pictured above). These coins can then be spent on Boosts – temporary score enhancing power-ups. To unlock all of the game’s Achievements, you’ll need to earn and spend a vast amount of coins. Hopefully the game stays fresh enough to sustain those goals (or somebody finds a nice coin-earning exploit).
KooZac seems like a strong port – I’m still surprised to see Facebook integration in Blitz mode since we usually lose out on features like that. That said, the controls are somewhat finicky. When swiping down to quickly drop a piece, the piece often shifted to the side instead of falling straight down. With a little practice, that touchiness can probably be overcome – but I’m still hoping for a patch to tighten up the controls.
KooZac costs $2.99 – a bit more than the 99 cent iOS version. Considering that our Final Fantasy costs $2 less than its iOS predecessor, I guess this evens things out. Anyway, puzzle game fans with a few bucks to spend can grab KooZac here at the Windows Phone Store.