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Oct 12, 2011

Once you pop, you won't ever stop

Chuzzle Deluxe
Game Category: Casual - Puzzle, Match Three, Kids
Developer / Distributor: Raptisoft / PopCap Games
Release Date: 12 May 2005 
Rating: ESRB - Everyone

Oh look... cute little fuzzy furballs with such sweet innocent looking eyes. Look at that, I've never seen anything like them; they're like miniaturized pom-poms stuck in a 6 x 6 square grid. They come in so many bright colors, and can you listen to that, they sound so adorable with their petite squeaks and squeals of delights. Don't you just want to take one home to cuddle with at night?

Brought to you by PopCap Games, the people who also brought you such casual greats like Bejeweled, Zuma, Peggle, and Bookworm, you must admit that Chuzzle Deluxe is a great game for all in the family to play.

If you have never tried your hand at Chuzzle Deluxe before, then you might like to know there's an online version of the game for you to try out.

In the meantime, you can read the full review for Chuzzle Deluxe below.

Get ready to pop pop pop pop pop pop pop and pop!
Game Play
Chuzzle Deluxe comes with no background story whatsoever. The game features mindless matching fun with some puzzling elements as it's key selling point. For a single player game, I'd rate Chuzzle Deluxe as casual game in the tradition of other greats such as Bejeweled, or even the evergreen Tetris.

As you can see from the colourful menu, Chuzzle Deluxe comes with four game play modes - Classic, Speed, Zen, and Mind Puzzle. I'll cover the modes further into the review. First, you'll need to know how to play Chuzzle Deluxe.

Four great modes to choose from
The rules of the game is so simple that even a child can grasp it. You just use your mouse and either drag a row or column of Chuzzles in the 6 x 6 square grid. Your objective is to make matches of 3 or more Chuzzles. There is no need to match them in a row, a cluster of same coloured Chuzzles is perfectly acceptable.

There, done... well, not really.

The only instructions you'll ever need
Here are some additional quirks to the game to make life even more exciting while playing Chuzzle Deluxe:

Locks - These will randomly appear on a Chuzzle during the game. This will cause a particular row and column to be locked down. You will have to quickly make a match involving the locked Chuzzle to remove the handicap. After ridding yourself of a lock, you get a few precious seconds of lock amnesty, so get to it and continue to make matches.

Super Chuzzle - If you match five Chuzzles at one go, you'll get a Super Chuzzle. Matching the Super Chuzzle causes a huge 3 x 3 square explosion. Blow up several Super Chuzzles in a row and enjoy the chain reaction.

Let's begin!
Fat Chuzzle - Fat Chuzzles are 2 x 2 square grids in size. Moving them will cause two rows (or two columns) to move together. To make matters worse, fat chuzzles can never move off the side of the grid to wrap around to the other side; they will definitely complicate matters for you, so clear them quickly by matching them up with two or more regular sized chuzzles. Fortunately, I have never encountered more than one fat chuzzle at a time on the grid.

Rainbow Chuzzle - These guys appear randomly later in the game. Due to their rarity, making a match of three or more rainbow chuzzles will net you lots of points.

Somewhere over the rainbow...
Now that you know enough about the rules of Chuzzle, here's the difference between the four game modes that I mentioned earlier:
  • Classic Chuzzle gives you two difficulty modes (Casual and Expert) to choose from and features the most basic style of play.
  • Speed Chuzzle builds on Classic mode and adds a timer. When the time bar (found at the bottom of the screen) fills up completely, a lock will be placed somewhere on the square grid. The longer you take, the harder will be the game as you find fewer opportunities to make a match.
  • Zen Chuzzle is a never ending mode (without the stress of locks) that makes playing this game so much fun. If you have the perseverance, you can even play until you reach a score of 100 million points.
  • Mind Bender has you moving the rows and columns of Chuzzles until you match the required pattern shown at left.
    Mind Bender - Puzzling madness
    To wrap up this section, here are a few other things that you should know about Chuzzle Deluxe:
    • The beaker at left must be completely with what you could call "Chuzzle eyes" before you can move on to the next level.
    • There's a handy hint button that penalises you in two ways - your beaker gets emptied slightly and you get a penalty to your score every time you use it.
    • Repeatedly clicking (using both the left and right mouse buttons) on a chuzzle will cause it to react differently to your actions. Try it out and see what I mean.
    • You get trophies for completing special objectives in the game. For example in Mind Bender mode, completing all 20 levels (comprising 5 puzzles each) nabs you a well deserved trophy.
    And, you only get 2 scrambles in Classic and Speed modes
    Oozing with cuteness, the graphics will absolutely appeal to kids; if you ask me, the bright colours and adorably innocent look of the Chuzzles really help to accentuate this feeling of charm. I never tire looking at those cute little eyes that follow my mouse cursor wherever I move. The characterization of the Chuzzles, right down to their pretty irresistible blinking and childlike behaviour set off by your random clicking, is a joy to behold.

    The music is catchy and fits with the overall theme of the game. The clincher however would be the delightful cries the Chuzzles make as they go pop.

    • This is truly mindless excellent fun that will keep you glued to your monitor for hours upon hours.
    • You get four varieties of game play.
    • The game is not locked at 800 x 600 mode; I could go as high as 1280 x 1024 (see my PC specs at the sidebar on the right).
    • The game even features a mode for those who are colour blind.
    • You can play the game with a customized cursor that looks like a wand with a star at one end.
    • This is an excellent game for kids and parents alike.
    • No boss key? No problem, just Alt+Tab. It worked fine for me, time and again.
      Colour blind, no issue
      • Mind Bender puzzles may not be everyone's cup of tea. It gets extremely difficult at the higher levels.
      • You can't press the Escape key to get to the menu while playing.
      • Some of the trophies are really difficult to get. They are more dependent on luck than anything else.
        Cool! Another trophy for my collection
        Chuzzle, like most other games from PopCap Games is a true delight for a casual game. Not only are the rules of the game simple, the visual and aural appeal of the game will also win over the hearts of anyone who gives the game a spin.

        What more can I add to a game that speaks volumes for itself?

        If you truly like it, what's keeping you from getting yourself a copy of the full game right now? Once you start popping the Chuzzles, and you'll probably be busy with these cute little critters until the end of time.

        Daily PC Game Review Score: 8.5 / 10
        Review Date: 12 Oct 2011


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