It's honestly surprising that Zynga hasn't turned its hand to the consistently-lucrative "match-3" arcade puzzle genre before now, but Ruby Blast changes all that with a variation on the formula popularized by Wooga's Diamond Dash.
By Pete Davison From Inside Social Games
Gameplay in Ruby Blast is very simple and easy to understand, though Zynga feels it necessary for the player's first two full games to have intrusive tutorials get in the way rather than just letting them play. Against the clock, players must click on contiguous groups of three or more gems to make them disappear. If the destroyed group is adjacent to a layer of bedrock at the bottom of the screen, the rock is also destroyed. If all the rock above the on-screen line is destroyed, the player "digs down" and is rewarded with additional time.
Bonus items such as score multipliers and rubies (which act as experience points) may sometimes be found within the rock, and as the player gains in levels, they gain access to various powerups to make the process of clearing the board easier — though these need to be "charged" before use by matching gems of a specific color. Like most other "Blitz" puzzlers, these powerups cost soft currency to activate. Up to three powerups may be used at any one time, but they are all level-locked and may not be acquired early through expending hard currency as in some other games.
Ruby Blast monetizes through sales of both soft and hard currency. Soft currency is reserved for the activation of powerups, while hard currency is used to purchase 15-second "time extensions" at the end of a game or refill the player;s energy bar, which is expended five points at a time. Social features include the seemingly-obligatory weekly tournament and the ability to earn more rubies (and thus level quicker) the more of a player;s Facebook friends that are playing.
One of the most noteworthy things about Ruby Blast is its excellent presentation — though a high degree of polish is not unusual for a Zynga title. Ruby Blast makes use of Flash 11, allowing the game's special effects to be rendered by the computer's graphics processor rather than the CPU itself. This means very smooth animation as well as visually-pleasing special effects such as the game going "out of focus" when the player performs a Facebook action such as viewing their notifications. It's certainly a noteworthy step forward in presentation for Facebook titles, even if the gameplay is rather familiar.
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