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FAQ by svachalek

Version: 1.02 | Updated: 03/05/2006

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FAQ Version 1.03  March 4, 2006
Scott Vachalek (svachalek at gmail)

-=< INTRO >=-

Zuma is one of my favorite games in the Xbox 360 Live Arcade.  It has a nice 
blend of action and strategy but there is very little information available 
about it so I've tried to gather it all here.  I assume the PC version is very 
similar but I haven't played it so I can't verify that all of this information 
applies to that version.

-=< HISTORY >=-

1.00 Initial FAQ
1.01 Added info on achievements and gauntlet mode, corrected combo scoring
1.02 Gave OWD credit for the Sharpshooter achievement


You control the frog in the center of the screen, which you can aim in any 
direction by simply pointing the analog stick in that direction.  (I've 
occasionally encountered a bug where the line flies around and doesn't obey 
the stick very well--I don't know what to do about this except to note that it 
usually fixes itself eventually.)

Notice that there is a colored ball in the frog's mouth and one on its tail.  
Press A to fire the ball in the frog's mouth, or B to swap the two balls.  You 
need to be able to keep track of both colors and be ready to fire off either 
one at any time.  If you have a clear shot to the edge of the screen, you can 
discard balls you don't want by firing them there, although in practice there 
is almost always somewhere better you can send it. The goal is to destroy all 
of the incoming balls before they reach the skull at the end of the track.  

Any time three or more balls of the same color come together, they will 
explode, although it is common for chains longer than that to roll in 
initially--you just need to add one more to these groups to destroy them.
If the balls reach the skull you will lose one life and have to start the 
level again.  If you lose all your lives, the game ends.  You start with three 
lives and receive a bonus life every 50,000 points.

-=< GAME MODES >=-

There are two basic modes of play, Adventure and Gauntlet.  In adventure mode, 
you need to clear all balls from each map to progress to the next map.  After 
a certain number of maps (a handful in the early levels, but more at higher 
levels) you will progress to the next level.  For example, the first map is 
called "1-1", map 1 level 1, and the next is 1-2, 1-3, and so on to 2-1.

Once you have reached a new level, new adventure games will start at the first 
map on that level by default.  However, you can select an earlier level by 
moving the cursor on the screen that appears after you select "Adventure".

There are three levels in each "temple".  Every three levels, you will unlock 
an achievement and move to a new temple.  After the 12th level, there is a 
special 13-1 level and then you have completed adventure mode.  Good luck!  
The list of people who have this achievement is fairly short.

The other game mode is gauntlet.  In this mode, you only play on a single map 
and you can never clear it or "win" the game--the goal is to get the highest 
score possible.  As you go along, it will progress in difficulty from "Rabbit 
1" to "Rabbit 2" and so on up to "Eagle", "Jaguar", and "Son of Sun" 
difficulties.  When you have achieved a higher difficulty level on a map, you 
can start the next gauntlet game on that map at that difficulty or any easier 


There are four kinds of special balls that have additional effects when they 
are destroyed:
    Accuracy: This ball will cause your frog to shoot balls faster for a few 
    Bomb (round spot): This ball will create a large explosion, taking out all 
balls near it even if they are a different color.  These balls are 
particularly powerful where a track U-turns or crosses another track.
    Slowdown (double bar "pause" symbol): All balls on the track will 
immediately slow down for a short while.  I believe it also causes other 
special balls to appear/disappear more slowly during this time.
    Backwards (triangle): The best one of all, this causes the balls to run 
backwards on the track for a few seconds.

-=< "ZUMA!" >=-

On each level you need to reach a certain number of points before you will 
hear voices shout "Zuma!" and the track will reverse for a few seconds.  Your 
progress is measured by the orange bar (called the Zuma bar from now on) in 
the upper right corner.  When the bar is completely full you have achieved 
"Zuma!" and it will turn green.  

In adventure mode, when it starts moving forward again, no new balls will 
enter the track.  Eliminate the remaining balls and you will progress to the 
next level.  In gauntlet mode, the bar will be cleared, you will advance one 
difficulty level, and the game will resume.

Unlike some games where high-scoring moves are just risky bonuses, in Zuma you 
should always concentrate on getting the most points.  Until you hear "Zuma!", 
you will face a never-ending attack of colored balls so there is no point in 
playing timidly.

-=< SCORING >=-

You get points every time you destroy a set of balls; I believe it is 10 
points per ball.  You will not fill your Zuma bar very quickly at 30 points a 
shot, so try for these bonuses:

    Chain: If you destroy balls on every shot in a sequence of 5 or more 
shots, it is called a chain and you will get a bonus of 10 points times the 
length of the chain.  For example, the 19th shot in a chain will get +190, the 
20th will get +200, etc.

    Combo: When the remaining balls around a gap are the same color, they will 
draw together, and if there are more than three of them they will be destroyed 
as well.  This is called a combo and gets +100 points.  If the second 
explosion causes a third one it is +200 and so on.  This is good for points 
but more importantly it also generates a backward momentum which gets stronger 
each time.  After a triple or quadruple combo, you will have a significant 
knockback and the balls will pause for a few moments before beginning to roll 
forward again.

    Coin: Occasionally coins will appear on the other side of the ball line.  
When two balls of the right color are in front of a coin, aim for the coin and 
fire two shots rapidly, one for the balls and one for the coin.  Coins are 
generally worth several hundred points, making them one of the easiest ways to 
fill the Zuma bar.  Hitting a coin will not break a chain, but missing it will 
of course!

    Gap: If you create a gap and then fire through that gap to destroy balls 
in a more distant part of the track, you will get bonus points.  The narrower 
the gap, the more points.  The points are nice but you need to be very fast!  
Firing through two or more gaps awards even more points.  After a large combo, 
the balls will stop moving for a few seconds so take advantage of the easy gap 

    Level bonuses: When you complete a level, you are given a bonus for the 
amount of track remaining between the skull and the last ball.  If you 
complete the level in less than the "Ace Time" you also receive a bonus based 
on the difference.


You can score the following achievements on Xbox Live:

Name             Points      How to unlock
----             ------      -------------
24h                10        Play the game for 24 hours (all games combined)
Adventurer         20        Complete adventure mode
Chain 16           10        Chain 16 or more balls in a row (see Scoring)
Coin Collector     20        Collect 100 coins*
Gap Finder         20        Earn 100 gap bonuses*
Popo Poyolli       20        Complete Popo Poyolli temple (adventure mode)
Quetzal Quatl      10        Complete Quetzal Quatl temple (adventure mode)
Score champion     20        Earn 2,000,000 points in adventure mode
Secret Shrine      20        Complete Secrete Shrine of Zuma (adventure mode)
Sharp shooter      20        Complete a level in 5 or fewer seconds**
Son of Sun         20        Reach Son of Sun rank on all maps in gauntlet
Temple of Zukulkan 10        Complete the Temple of Zukulkan (adventure mode)

* There is a lot of debate about whether these apply to gauntlet or adventure 
only, and whether they are cumulative or need to be achieved in one game.  
There are many people claiming it's cumulative but according to many (and my 
own experience) it seems to take many more than 100 to actually unlock these 
achievements.  My personal guess is that it may be something in between, such 
as being cumulative but being reset to zero whenever you quit the game.  Or 
possibly it's just buggy.

** This is very hard but possible; "OWD" has sent me a video of this and his
achievement can be verified on xbox.com.

-=< STRATEGY >=-

I have found there are basically two modes of play and to be successful you 
have to be able to use both, switching back and forth as the circumstances 

    Tactical: Playing tactically means living in the moment and matching 
colors as fast as you can.  Keep an eye out for coins and gaps for bonus 
points, get all the special balls you can, and don't break chains if you can 
avoid it.  This is the best mode for learning, for handling emergencies, and 
for getting large chain bonuses.

    Strategic: This is the harder, and riskier, way to play but very important 
as the game gets harder at upper levels.  The idea here is to eliminate balls 
by firing the fewest shots possible.  This means leaving large combo setups 
alone until they are ready to trigger, which results in the line moving 
perilously close to the skull as you build up single balls into pairs, 
punctuated by huge bursts of combo and chain action. For example, say you have 
a green ball (G) in the frog's mouth and there were a chain of balls that 
looked like:


It is very tempting to knock out the long string of (G)(G)(G)(G) in the middle 
there.  However, you could wait for a (B) instead, which would eliminate both 
(G) groups and the (B) group, earn more points, and stop the line for a 
moment--a much better move overall.  Leaving combos alone like this also makes 
it a lot easier to take advantage of coins and special balls when they happen 
to appear.  So, strategically, the best option is to put the (G) between the 
two (R)s because you'll need it there eventually anyway, and wait for a (B). 

However, it's not worth breaking a long chain to build up singles, or taking 
too much risk if the line is very close to the skull.  As I said before, you 
have to be able to play both ways and know when each is appropriate.

-=< CREDITS >=-

Thanks to D.Y. for figuring out what the accuracy ball does and various other 


This FAQ is copyright (c) 2006 Scott Vachalek with permission to be hosted at 
GameFAQs, Xbox 360 Achievements, Cheat Code Central, and Neoseeker.  You may 
freely copy this information as long as it is kept in its original form, in 
its entirety including this copyright notice.

-=< CONTACT >=-

If you have any additions or corrections please send them to my email address 
found at the top of the FAQ.  Include "Zuma" in the title so I don't assume 
they're spam.

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