PopCap is the premium developer and publisher of addictive casual games. Their lineup consists of Bookworm, Peggle and Bejeweled 2 that are all gems in the App Store. While waiting for PopCap to release Plants vs. Zombies we get a port of match 3 puzzler Chuzzle.
Chuzzle is basically a combination of Bejeweled 2 and iPhone classic Trism. You match 3 by dragging rows and columns of cuddly fuzzy Chuzzles. At times some of them get locked, and that column or row isn’t able to move. There are 4 different game modes in Chuzzle: classic mode, Speed mode, endless Zen and puzzle Mind-bender.
Classic mode is untimed letting you take your time making matches, and trying to chain combos together. When you are unable to make any further matches you have to use one of your lives, or scrambles. This scrambles the chuzzles, and you can have another go at matching as many as possible. The eyes of the matched chuzzles fly into a jar at the bottom of the screen, and the goal is to fill the jar completely to reach the next level. Large chuzzles, rainbow coloured chuzzles and locked chuzzles add to the difficulty. In Speed mode you have a timer counting down quicker and quicker adding real pressure to the game. When you fail to make matches within the time chuzzles get locked, and in the end you won’t be able to make any matches at all. In Zen mode on the other hand you just relax without any goal or pressure.
Mind-bender mode is basically a puzzle mode where you have to replicate a pattern dragging chuzzles into new positions. It is quite fun, and becomes really challenging quickly. I have played this exact game for the iPhone under the name Rolo. It is a nice distraction from the hectic match 3, but I rather play the classic or speed modes instead.
Chuzzle is a really polished title with bright vibrant colours and effects. And it should be polished considering it has been around since 2005. The music is stressful wacky electronic stuff that I actually found quite pleasing to listen to. In any other context than matching furry animals I would have reached for a mute button. The sound effects are good as well with some cute chuzzle chirps, and if you play your own music at startup you can keep the sound effects in the background.
There are only local leaderboards available, and I really hope PopCap get their act together concerning online functionality for their games. All casual games benefit greatly by having the chance to compare yourself against all other players with too many breaks at work. To add a hefty amount of gamelife Chuzzle comes with a lot of achievements. The Mind-bending puzzle mode also adds a lot of time to the game. Still most players will probably play the classic and speed modes for hours, and then some more.
I really like Chuzzle, and it has taken the spot of my go to game when I have five minutes to spare. Earlier it has been Drop7 and Bejeweled 2 stealing my short breaks. The polish of Chuzzle paired with the great controls and game mechanic make for a pleasant game. Crank up the volume of the wacky music, and you are gone in the world of Chuzzle. I recommend it, and it receives four stars out of five. It is a weak four though as online leaderboards are mandatory for any casual game but especially for a game at five bucks. Even one-dollar games manage to integrate online functionality using OpenFeint, Agon or PLUS+ making it hard to accept that a large publisher like PopCap can’t seem to get it going. You can try the game before you buy on your PC or Mac by downloading the trial from PopCap here.
Seller: PopCap Games Inc.