Zuma: Tips for Getting Past Level 7

Mario Brothers came out when I was an adult, I’ve never played a video game except Tetrus, and play that only because it came on my first Mac. Recently, while visiting a friend, I began to play Zuma on their computer, and when I got home, ordered it myself.zuma board

Go for the points, not the skill. After being stuck at Level 5, then 7, I began to look for strategies that others had developed. Because I am the wrong demographic for the games, it took me a while to figure out it’s about points. I was focused on skill. Wrong choice. It’s all about points. I discovered that a lot of the “help” and “strategy” sites are just videos of kids playing, with no explanation. So I thought I’d do the Zuma addicts a favor and give some hints.

If you have never played. It’s an addictive game with colorful, jungle/Mayan/Aztec-style graphics and drumbeat music that is quite infectious. A line of colored balls snakes through a maze. A frog, located at the center, spits colored spheres from his mouth. The object of the game is to score points by creating groups of 3 or more of the same colored ball. There is a dot on the frog’s back so you can tell what the next color ball is. There are different mazes to get through. You get more points by shooting the balls through the gaps you create by combining colors, or by hitting special balls that make the game slow down. This isn’t a tutorial, so I’ll skip the description of the balls, death-trap and how many frog lives you have.

Getting out of Level 5. At this level, you can’t depend on luck, although luck has a lot to do with the game. The balls begin to move faster, and different colors are added.

Spit out useless balls. At this level, if you still have room and you come to a color you can’t use, turn to a free space and spit it out. If you aren’t in a spot you can do that, remember where you spit the useless color. You’ll get another one very shortly, and can pile them up in the same place.

The existing balls switch colors. Confusing? Yes. You remember a long strand of blue, spin around to spit an upcoming blue . . .and the strand is now yellow. Visual memory is no help here. You just have to stay alert.

Go for the coins. After level 5, it’s impossible to get ahead without hitting a coin. When you fire the color that will create a gap, fire twice in rapid succession. It’s the only way to hit the coin, and the color doesn’t matter if it’s a hit.

The gaps get smaller and shut faster. When you are firing at a coin, the double-fire technique is a must. Do the same for a gap, however, and you might wind up shooting a red into a strand of yellows. Don’t worry. If it’s far enough away from the skull’s head death-trap, you’ll have lots of chances to create another strand.

For Level 7. To get out without losing a frog, you have to get through the line of balls fast. The only way to do that is to hit coins and shoot through gaps. The more coins you hit, the fewer the total number of balls sent into the game. While it’s harder to hit coins, it helps you in the long run.

Don’t fire at random. Firing any color anywhere is a trip to the death trap. Quit switching colors so often and learn how to turn the frog quickly. You are not in control of the color sequence, and much of the game is chance.

Sit farther away from your computer screen. I sat too close and my eyes began to unfocus and I had trouble identifying the colors because everything moves so fast. (I warned you that I was the wrong demographic.) Moving back from the screen helped a lot.

Build chains within chains. One of the best ways to get the forward moving chain to slow down is to make multiple hits. To do this, watch for a long string of one color, and interrupt it with 3 balls of a different color. Shoot red balls into a yellow string, instead of taking them all out by adding another yellow. When the third red hits, you have two yellow strands connecting. This gives you more points and slows the game sufficiently for a shot at a coin or another combination.

Rapid fire the same color. In the example above, as the yellow chain closes and explodes, it actually helps to add a yellow ball, if one is up. It adds points.

Go for another frog life. At 50,000 points, you get another frog life. The easy way to get there is to start at a lower level and work up. For example, I’m in level 9 now, and find that if I start at 7, by the time I get to 9, I have some points saved up. If I start at 9, I die too early.

Have fun with this addictive game, even if you aren’t the right demographic. I have learned, however, to set a timer because an hour can zip by and you won’t notice it. I don’t have that much time to spare, so a timer helps remind me when to quit.

–Quinn McDonald is the owner of QuinnCreative, the home of training, creativity coaching, life coaching and paper arts. (c) 2007. All rights reserved. Zuma image courtesy osx.iusethis.com

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15 thoughts on “Zuma: Tips for Getting Past Level 7

  1. tell me how you can win when the you fire a red ball from the frog at a line of red balls and when it gets there its another colour that you dont want

  2. Nobody has commented on this game in a long time, so I’m not sure how many people will see this, but I found something interesting on the Zuma splash screen. On the PC version of Zuma Deluxe (and presumably on other versions, but I haven’t seen them), the splash screen has a stone obelisk with signs (buttons) that say “Adventure” “Gauntlet” etc. If you hover over the signs, you will hear voices chanting in different tones. If you go successively from top to bottom (and left to right on the bottom row), the tones sound like the five-tone theme from “Close Encounters” and, if done right, a small UFO will enter the screen. Clicking the UFO will take you to a credits screen. No apparent effect on the game, but it is amusing. Also, try a single click on the frog that is on that same splash screen. –Etamni

  3. I have finished leve 12 several times, but never 13. The problem is that I have to go through lever 12 everytime in order to get to lever 13, I can’t just choose lever 13. Is this the way the game is?

    • Yes. You have to do Level 12 to get to 13, because Level 13 is not a set of challenges, like the other levels. It is one game that you must finish in 4 minutes to complete. Instead of a track, like in the other sets, it’s a long lose line of balls that floats unevenly in a starry sky.

      When I play, I start each game at Level 1 and work my way up to Level 12, because that’s the only way you can get really big scores. –Q

  4. One technique that has saved my ass many times is closing a gap when the front end of balls close in on the death hole.

    I know that having a gap has its advantages to score extra points by shooting through the gap, but when the balls are dangerously close to the death trap, you need to suck those balls back to buy you some more time.

    Gaps will close when the ball color matches at each end of the gap. When a gap closes, the front end is always sucked backwards.

    You can close the gap by shooting a matching color ball at the end of the gap. For instance, if a gap has red at one end, green at the other, then shooting a new red ball next to the green one, or a new green ball next to the red one, will close the gap, because then you’ll have either red and red, or green and green.

    If your next ball isn’t a color you need, check the color of the next ball on the frog and right click to swap. If neither colors will work, shoot those balls off into empty space. If you don’t have empty space, shoot it somewhere on the back end of the gap. This way the leading end won’t nudge closer to the death hole. Keep firing off the balls until you get the desired color (in our example, either a red or green), then fire it on the inside of the gap to close it.

  5. I am not sure if this is the place to ask this question but I’ll try anyway. I am new to this game so I am probably just missing something. I have gotten through 4 mazes. When I win at the forth level a symbol comes up on the screen and the game ends. How do you get to the additional levels?

    Thanks!

    —There are different versions of this game. The free downloads often end at lower levels. I purchased the whole game, and that’s probably the difference. You might want to try playing it online, sometimes they give you the whole game, but for a limited time. Good luck! –Q

  6. Help!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I can’t get past level 9, and I thought level 10 was the last level, now I find that there are more beyond that……..aaaaaagh! I finally gave up the game cause it was giving me tendonitis I was so hooked. I try picking it up once and a while but can never get past level 9.

    —–If you are doing each level individually, 10 gets really hard. There are 12 frog levels, then one more that’s kind of free form, where you have to get rid of all the balls in under 4 minutes to get lots of points. Try starting at one and working up to 10. You will accumulate extra frogs along the way, and that gives you a cushion when you get shot down. The way to get the most points is to get coins. Speed is important, but get those coins. Look for places to shoot colors and don’t worry so much about creating chains. That will come later. -Q

  7. Interesting tips. I have been playing Zuma for quite a while now, and my scores would make me look like an expert. I’m not really sure if that is true, but it seems like the game is too easy for me now. What made the game so easy?

    Well, many of the tips I use have already been said. Here are my favourites:

    1. Coins are very important. If you are to watch someone play zuma, you will notice that in the latter half of the game, a simple takeout will not even faze the zuma bar, however, a coin will shoot up the bar by about a sixth!

    2. Combos are what change the face of the game. Like I said before, a simple takeout might be alright early in the game, but when you get into the later temples, yo better be making more combos than just being fast. Remember that there are two different ways of making combos! This is how I determine which combo to go for.
    – if there a ton of sets of on colour, yet the whole board seems way to scattered, I go for the first type of combo (what I would call a progressive combo). I shoot at anything that will blow up in one shot, and I DON’T ever shoot a useless ball. If I get to a colour that doesn’t break anything immediately, I right-click and bring up the other ball. Obviously there will be times that you will have to stop your combo, but then you start another one. This turns even simple shots worth a lot more. Also take note: shooting a coin in the middle of a progressive combo will not stop the combo, so go for them still!
    – the second type of combo is the collapsing combo. This is when you shoot one colour, breaking a set, but it’s surrounding colours are the same, which bring together and break. This gives you good points, and pushes the line back. Of course, the more collapses, the bigger the points, and the farther you will go back. In this case, sometimes it is bettter to “stack” your shots. You might have a collapsible sombo available, but you might also be able to make it more spectacular. For example, say you have a bunch of two colours basically alternating. instead of shooting the first available combo, I would add a ball to each singular colour to make doubles, then when I was done doing that, I would shoot the middle set. This turns what could have been 2 or 3 smaller combos into one heaping, point-filled ball buster!
    (Also, you can use the idea of the collapsing combo to better your game even if it doesn’t break any balls. Instead of shooting the balls close the end of the track, try shooting the other side of the gap. It will pull nall those scary balls back to a more comfortable place. Plus, every time there is a collapse, there is a slight stoppage or reverse of the approacing balls.)
    -The best point maker in the game is to mix the two. You will get to a point that you can see the bigger picture, and the chain reaction combos will come a lot more often, no matter how scattered the colours.

    3. Gaps are another point of strategy that is pivotal. taking in mind points 1 & 2, gaps multiply on that even more! The double tap strategy is a very good one, and is almost fool proof. Gaps are worth more when they are smaller, but don’t let that kepp you from playing with the large gaps. If you EVER have an opportunity where you have balls closer to the end and a huge gap between it and the new balls approaching, leave those balls alone! This way, every shot you shoot will be a potential gap combo, increasing your points exponentially.

    4. I really do like the idea of backing up from the screen. There is a big habit of tunnel vision when you sit too close. Don’t you just hate it when you shoot a ton of little shots, only to realise that one shot could have given you a massive collapsing combo? Or how about shooting sets of 2 or 3 when you could have been saving some time and hitting that giant string of yellows that were just released! Seeing that bomb ball in the middle of a colour mob or that pivotal slow down, reverse, or accuracy ball can change your game ten-fold.

    I Have used these strategies for a while, and can say that I lose very rarely. My last game finished with 32 lives and over 3 million points. My goal is no longer just to win, but to win without oever losing a life! Hope you find your way to master the game

  8. Whoah. Zuma. I was totally addicted to that game for months on end.

    I’m not sure what you mean about going for ‘points’ vs. ‘skill’. For me the goal was simply to finish: each level in turn, and then ALL levels to get to that final Congratulations screen. (I only managed to finish level 13 four times, and there were lots of ‘failed’ games in between those.) Anyway, points as such didn’t matter to me. If I finished level 13 with, say, 150,000 points that was a WIN. If I lost my last life on level 11 that was a LOSE, even if I’d racked up 200,000 point.

    Not that you have to look at it that way, just that was my mindset.

    Here are some strategies that I found helpful:

    1) Picking up Gold coins are good, but even better are those successful ‘gap’ shots. It should be obvious, but to do a successfull gap shot, you need three things: a string at least two long in the closer layer, a string at least two long in the layer behind it, and consecutive shooting balls of the two colors. There’s not much you can do about the shooting colors, but taking some time to ‘seed’ your marble field with lots of two-ball strings often pays off.
    What I mean by ‘seeding’ is taking time to shoot a matching marble next to singletons. That is, if you have a yellow ball up, and you spot a string of yellow balls AND elsewhere a single yellow ball, shoot this marble next to the singleton instead of going for the immediate string kill. If you can keep the number of singletons in your field down as much as possible, you will greatly increase the number of times that there will be a doubleton (or better) right behind the gap you create. Score!
    Obviously, this takes time away from pruning down the field, so don’t do it so long/often that you end up with the balls closing in on the skull. Priorities!

    2. Learn to ‘juggle’ your shooting balls quickly. That is, a red ball is up, and of no immediate use. Right click to swap the balls and shoot what used to be the second one. Then the red ball is up again — still no use? Juggle it again. Keep doing that until you have a good place for the red ball OR the second ball is red, too, OR time is getting tight because the field is closing in on the skull. It is faster to juggle an unwanted ball than to turn your frog to a place you can safely shoot the ball off the field.
    If juggling isn’t practical, and you cannot dispose of the ball, at least ‘waste’ it in a stretch of the marbles that won’t soon be hidden under an overpass or behind another layer of balls. That keeps you from having to create ANOTHER singleton of that color soon.

    3. Some levels have ‘good’ areas for making gap shots — the two layers are close together, and far enough from overpasses for you to look ahead. Spend a lot of your time ‘hanging out’ in that area if possible, rather than spinning around all over the place, taking out a blue string in the north and then a red string in the south, etc. Again, you have to keep pruning the field, but if you have time, doubling up singles while hanging out in the prime gap shooting areas is better than killing small strings elsewhere.

    4. Personally, I always started each game from scratch. That is, create a new name (I used the date) and start from level one-one. This gives you extra practice, has you fingers limbered and reflexes honed, AND lets you build up some extra frogs — all very handy when it comes time to tackle whatever level is your current sticking point. (Practicing that level under the other mode is also good, of course.)

    Good luck!

    And remember, it does come down to luck many times — you do or don’t get the color of ball that will save your life, you do or don’t get a ‘slowdown’ or even a ‘reverse’ when you just have to have it. So don’t beat yourself up too much over a narrow loss. It’s not ALL your fault. 😉

  9. have you tried Bloxors?

    http://www.addictinggames.com/bloxors.html

    free online; and haven’t yet researched whether it’s available for download.

    it’s a logic game; my biggest problem is that I can no longer find the help/description without starting over, so I recommend reading the introductory rules carefully or copying them for future reference; it also has good background music.

    if you get a chance, let me know what you think.

    –baa

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