While some of us face the possibility that there might not be a new Xbox Windows Phone game release this week, Nokia owners should have no such complaints. Not only did Nokia and PopCap/EA just publish the vastly improved sequel Bejeweled Live+, two more Nokia Xbox exclusives just popped up! From the license lovers at Electronic Arts comes the board game adaptation Yahtzee, while PopCap has blessed Windows Phone at last with their fast-paced puzzler Zuma’s Revenge.
Dice dice baby
Yahtzee is one of those dice games like Bunko that the elderly set enjoys playing in between trips to the post office and bingo halls. Players and their opponents alternate turns at rolling dice, with the goal of achieving various combinations like 3-of-a-kind or the coveted 5-of-a-kind, formally known as a Yahtzee. Each combination can only be used once during a single game; the game ends when the player exhausts all possible combinations. It might sound a little complicated, but the in-game tutorial will get you rolling dice like your Grandma in no time.
This version of Yahtzee lacks online multiplayer (unlike World Series of Yahtzee, recently released on iOS), though it does support pass-and-play. Thankfully the developers added a fairly robust single-player mode in which players battle against AI opponents in various locals. That said, the AI cheats relentlessly, so expect to repeat many a battle. The overall presentation has a nice charm, though I wish the menus and transitions moved faster.
Nokia’s Yahtzee is a port of Yahtzee Adventures, a game that costs 99 cents on iOS. Like all Nokia Xbox exclusives, this one costs a slightly steeper $2.99. Windows Phone 7 and 8 users can view Yahtzee’s store page here, but it can only be purchased from a Lumia phone.
Zuma’s Revenge was not among the games that Nokia and EA formally announced in January 2012, but thanks to EA buying out PopCap, here we are. And I’ve expected Revenge to make it to Windows Phone for quite a while, hence my interviewing the producer at Casual Connect Seattle last year.
Zuma games put players in control of a stationary frog who can rotate in any direction and shoot colored balls from his mouth. In each level, more balls roll on-screen along one or more paths. The frog’s job is to stop them from reaching the goal at the path’s end by quickly making as many colored matches as possible. Levels in which the frog can hop between lily pads, move along a slider, or battle boastful bosses keep the game fresh and challenging.
The mobile version of Zuma’s Revenge is pretty much a straight port of the PC game, so it unfortunately lacks many of the refinements of the sublime XBLA version (impressions here). Adventure Mode gives players a limited number of lives and they must reach checkpoints every few levels in order to continue when those lives run out. So the Windows Phone game ends up a bit harder than the Xbox 360 version. Beating levels unlocks them for free play in Challenge Mode, at least.
We’ll have a full review of Zuma’s Revenge next week, but fans of the series can buy this one with confidence right now. It’s one of the stronger Nokia exclusives, right up there with Bejeweled Live+ and Flight Control Rocket.
Zuma’s Revenge costs $2.99 and works great on Windows Phone 7 and 8. It clocks in at a whopping 197 megabytes, so watch out if you're low on space. View the Zuma's Revenge store page here, but it can only be purchased from a Lumia phone.
Thanks to Jey Si and TNTjudbud for the tip!