I’ve been rather obsessed with a Facebook game lately. Yes, a Facebook game. Sorry about that. Do I have to hand over what precious reputation I have now? The game in question is Zuma Blitz.

A bit of background to explain – I love Zuma. It was one of the first XBLA games I bought and since then I’ve bought it for the PC as well as Zuma’s Revenge too. It’s a fantastically simple concept but very addictive too. Zuma Blitz makes it all the better.

You have one minute to gain the best score on a level. The levels change every week keeping things nice and fresh. After the minute, you gain some experience based on how well you did and your high score goes to the central leaderboard which in turn pits you against your Facebook friends. Only a few of my friends play it but it’s still compelling to try to beat their high score. You get top score for the week, you get a gold medal and a smug feeling of victory. The first week I was totally hooked, I was in the lead until the last 8hrs. I went to bed and the next morning an American friend had beaten me to it. Currently I’m beating them quite comprehensively though.

As you accrue more experience, you level up. This then unlocks new powers and bonuses. Things like the pieces of fruit scattered around the level gain you more points, you can unlock abilities that help you fling balls faster or give you a better multiplier to start with. These powers take up mojo though which you gain slowly but steadily after each 1 minute session. It’s all a slightly careful balancing act, although after a while you can gain some pretty decent high scores without any abilities active.

Oh and of course because it’s a Facebook game, you can buy credits with real money in order to buy more mojo or xp bonuses, as well as restore your lives (you only have so many attempts otherwise you have to wait 6-7 minutes for another life to pop up).

It’s a little more involved than that but that’s the basic gist. It’s damn addictive too, assuming you like Zuma anyhow of course. It’s a good game to unwind with in the evenings. I like it a lot.

The 3DS

So the 3DS comes out on Friday and I’m all ready and eager to pick mine up. I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to review Ridge Racer and Nintendogs + cats for two different sites so that’s a couple of launch titles already arranged. I have however got enough credit to buy two 3DS games if I so wish and I’m sorely tempted.

I’ve been quite savvy with my plans. I don’t normally trade games in as the mark up is so iffy but it’s gone in my favour lately. I bought Dragon Age II at launch, completed it, was immensely disappointed by it so traded it in at Game for £35 meaning it only cost me £5. Not bad at all.

Then I heard that if I traded in Dead Space 2 at Tesco, I could buy Homefront for £4.97. Intrigued by Homefront’s divisive single player campaign, I went for it. Dead Space 2 had only cost me £24 a month or so earlier, also from Tesco, and I knew the trade in price was normally quite low, so it was a good deal.

I’ve heard conflicting reports that HMV are either offering £30 credit for Homefront or £35. Either way, I’ll be trading it back in on Friday.

In which case I’ve got enough (or nearly enough) credit for two 3DS games but I can’t decide.

It’s mostly between Ghost Recon, Pilotwings or PES looking at recent reviews. I might well decide on the day, or I might save some of the credit for another game.

Pile of shame
The pile of Xbox based shame has been heavily depleted at last. I finished Dragon Age II and was thoroughly disappointed so I didn’t bother with a second playthrough of that. Homefront single player really did only take 3-4hrs to complete and was pretty poor. I finished the Bulletstorm single player and really enjoyed it, just need to get round to some multiplayer now.

Also over the course of the rough weekend and some sleepless nights, I finished off Battlefield Bad Company 2 having started the campaign around this time last year. Really enjoyed it. Much more so than recent Call of Duty games and Homefront too. Nice amount of achievements to gain without much effort too which pleased the achievement whore in me.

That leaves: Deadly Premonition, Fallout New Vegas, Halo Reach, Kane & Lynch 2 and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.

I’ve played enough shooters for a bit so really it’s down to Deadly Premonition, Fallout: New Vegas or Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.

I’ve given Fallout a quick go but I’m not settled into it yet. I might switch to Deadly Premonition instead and play Need for Speed during lighter moments.

It’s satisfying clearing such a chunk though. At least until I dig out the rest of the pile, the games that didn’t make the cut for the first pile of shame.

Zuma Blitz, the 3DS and Pile of Shame update