Review: Chuzzle Deluxe

Posted by | July 10, 2009

Color matching games have long become the Connect4 of the penultimate puzzle arcade game experience for the PC—the solace of sleepy housewives, bored office workers, and insomniac marathon Made for SciFi movie watching. Chuzzle from Popcap games is no exception to the shifting bands of random objects, matching up to three similar to cause them to vanish from the field…

At least—during a cursory examination.

Chuzzles appear to be cute blobs of fur, akin to Koosh balls with eyes. The object of the game is to shuffle rows of these fuzzy animals to that similarly colored chuzzles line up in as few as three. When this event happens they explode with a squeak and their eyeballs are sucked up into a flask on the side of the screen. Their eyeballs!

Chuzzle is a morbidly adorable color matching game where we are asked to pop cute, fuzzy animals and take their eyeballs.

Each level is ended with the flask corking itself, shaking up, and then expelling a spume of eyeballs into the heavens as the bonus points get added to the score.

Setting aside the ghoulishly cute effect of taking these creatures’ eyeballs, the game is addictive. The squeaking and purring of the chuzzles keeps me playing, and the music is extremely compelling. As you progress through the levels various obstacles get added to the chuzzle species in order to increase the challenge of the game.

The first type are exploding hyper-chuzzles—these little cross-eyed fuzzballs shake slightly with barely contained energy, pulsating on the screen—when they are matched up with more than two of their same-color brethren they detonate, knocking out all the chuzzles around them.

Then there are rainbow chuzzles. These are just a different type of colored chuzzle—at first we suspected they were wildcards, but they’re not, they only match with other rainbow chuzzles. They are rare enough that matching them up can be a challenge and they get in the way. There’s also extra points and a special sound they emit when they’re popped for their delicious eyeballs.

The next type are fat chuzzles—these giant Koosh balls look like normal chuzzles but instead of taking up only one slot, they take up four; moving them also moves two rows up or down instead of one row; and they will not go across the side of the screen and wrap around (striking the side of the screen they say, “Omf!” and little stars appear.)

Finally, there are locks which fall from the sky and shackle a chuzzle in place. From then on that chuzzle cannot be moved by the mouse, meaning that all chuzzles in the horizontal and vertical rows from it cannot be moved—a loud clank! sound emits when trying to move those rows. To kill the locks the bound chuzzle must be popped either by matching or a hyper-chuzzle. Locks are particularly devastating when they fall into line with a fat chuzzle because they then cause two rows to lock.

There are four different modes of play.

Classic: A game which plays out without a clock, just matching, until you run out of moves and you have to use a scramble (rather like a “life”—you have two.)

Speed Chuzzle: Fairly much what it says it is, you run against a clock bar at the bottom which fills up. As you match chuzzles and slurp up tasty eyeballs the clock is knocked back a few fractions of a second. A warning chimes when it gets 3/4s through; and if it reaches the end a lock falls and the timer starts over again. Locks, of course, increase the chances that you will run out of moves and need to burn a scramble (life.)

Zen Chuzzle: Bored at work? Zen Chuzzle is the forever chuzzle matching experience—no need for scrambles here, the matching never ends. Squeaking, purring, popping, and eyeball collection galore.

Mind Bender: Possibly the most fun and most frustrating gameplay mode. You are presented with levels of chuzzle patterns and then asked to match them to a picture. It takes clever thinking—especially outside-the-border in some cases—and a patient hand. There is no time limit, but some of the puzzles are particularly challenging when more colors are in play. (No eyeball suck involved.)

Gameplay hints are provided, but you don’t really need them. While the little critters do blink and glance around, if you wait long enough one of them will shiver or roll its eyes—that’s the chuzzle hinting that if it’s moved it will match up with other chuzzles. Just use that effect instead of clicking the “hint” button as that causes you to lose some eyeballs each time.

The game comes with a giant number of Easter eggs as well.

The little chuzzles react when clicked on with the mouse, as do the fat chuzzles. Here’s a list of things that you can cause to happen and how to get them to happen:

Giggle – Double click on the chuzzle or right click to get a cute giggle.
Burp – Click numerous times on the fat chuzzle to get a nice loud belch.
Dizzy – Drag a line of chuzzles back and forth to make them dizzy.
Grumpy – Leave your cursor on one of the chuzzles for a little bit and it will get grumpy and bat it off.
Bald – Click numerous times on a small chuzzle to make it sneeze and lose all of its hair.
Sleep – Let your chuzzles sit for more than 5 minutes and they will fall asleep.

Be sure to check out The Helvetica Venture (here on Vox ex Machina) and Black Hat Magick by Kyt Dotson.

1 Comment so far
  1. RyAnne
    July 10, 2009 6:26 pm

    I can’t believe you actually reviewed Chuzzle Deluxe. :)
    I love this game for all the cute noises and visuals.
    I have not gotten to play Deluxe, because I hesitate to spend money on something that addictive and completely non-productive. I might consider it now, though, since it’s cheap, and I really really really want to make a Chuzzle go bald!

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