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Square Enix returns to Xbox on Windows Phone with a puzzle game called KooZac

You could be forgiven for not expecting a new Xbox release this week. After Skulls of the Shogun’s long-awaited debut last week, there really aren’t too many upcoming Xbox Windows Phone games that we actually know about. But Microsoft told us the release drought would probably end this month, and it looks like they were right. A shiny new game has popped up for all Windows Phone 7 and 8 users today: the oddly named KooZac.

Almost as exciting as receiving a new release at all these days, KooZac comes from one of our favorite mobile publishers – Square Enix, makers of Final Fantasy. We actually heard whispers of this game coming to Windows Phone at E3 last year, but the representative was so noncommittal about it that we didn’t bother to get our hopes up. Looks like Square Enix hasn’t given up on Windows Phone yet!

You got your math in my puzzle game

KooZac

KooZac is a falling block puzzle game with a twist: it also involves arithmetic. See, instead of matching colors or shapes, the goal is to create vertical stacks of numbers that add up to a target number. The target changes every few seconds, so players really have to stay on their toes and watch both the top and bottom of the screen in order to succeed.

Three medians, I mean modes to choose from

The game includes three different game types:

  • Puzzle: 60 unique levels. To actually complete a level, you’ll need to clear all of the silver blocks it starts with by using them to make a match.
  • Endless: Forget about silver blocks and just go after high scores.
  • Blitz: Similar to Bejeweled Blitz on XBLA, this is a fast-paced 60 second score attack mode. Interestingly, players’ scores are apparently compared against those of their Facebook friends. That makes this the first Xbox Windows Phone game with actual Facebook integration.

Coins and boosting

KooZac includes a grinding focus that could potentially prove quite addicting. Players earn coins by playing Blitz mode and liking the game’s not-quite-ready Facebook page (pictured above). These coins can then be spent on Boosts – temporary score enhancing power-ups. To unlock all of the game’s Achievements, you’ll need to earn and spend a vast amount of coins. Hopefully the game stays fresh enough to sustain those goals (or somebody finds a nice coin-earning exploit).

Early impressions

KooZac seems like a strong port – I’m still surprised to see Facebook integration in Blitz mode since we usually lose out on features like that. That said, the controls are somewhat finicky. When swiping down to quickly drop a piece, the piece often shifted to the side instead of falling straight down. With a little practice, that touchiness can probably be overcome – but I’m still hoping for a patch to tighten up the controls.

KooZac costs $2.99 – a bit more than the 99 cent iOS version. Considering that our Final Fantasy costs $2 less than its iOS predecessor, I guess this evens things out. Anyway, puzzle game fans with a few bucks to spend can grab KooZac here at the Windows Phone Store.

QR: KooZac

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

38 Comments
  • I'm so tired of all these block or Gem games clogging up the game store
  • Amen brother, how about some shooting games. Blood & guts = cool
  • They are the only games i play on mobile. Can't be forced to play anything more complex on a mobile. 
  • I really would like to see some Dungeon games...
  • Completely agree. Ugh. Same game and just variations on graphics and sounds.
  • Granted the concept isn't complex but could any of you show me an example of a number game like this one on the store? I enjoy it, but i too would also like more dungeon crawlers
  • Price only evens out if you buy both games, and both Square titles are not really geared to the same audience.
  • I was all ready to play this, until I got smacked in the face by a $3 price tag. This isn't the type of game worth $3, even if $3 isn't a lot of money. If it was free, I'd be all over it. If it was the same $1 as the iOS version, I'd maybe have gotten it.
  • Publishers sometimes choose to price their Windows Phone games higher because of the platform's smaller user base. It's a drag, but we'll have to live with it until Windows Phone reaches much higher numbers.
  • Bing rewards -> can earn money for WP store.
  • Not on WP7
  • And not outside of the US.
  • I already have, and I used that for Skulls of the Shogun. After that, I still have $4.70 left, plus enough points for another $5 card. However, that does NOT change the value of the game. I would rather keep my credit for better-quality games than blow it on this overpriced one.
  • Well.. i spend less time and more money on a coffee in startbucks..
  • ANOTHER puzzle game ? When are we going to get real games ??????
     
    No thanks, if it was free for the achievements, maybe but, I am really sick of all the puzzle games we need real games...
  • What's a real game? I'd love to hear your criteria.
  • Well, I think what he means is that there is a decent lacking of Xbox games, outside of the puzzle genre. Gun Bros is good, but has bugs (especially when launching). Breeze was dumb. Skulls is very good, but that's about it. We don't have much in the way of platformer/action games, MMOs, shooters, or even racgin games on the Xbox side.
  • I second that, really sick of puzzle games.
  • Also available for WP7.5. Any devs know if 7.8 is a separate compile target?
  • The targets are 7.x and 8.0.
  • Looks pretty good to me, I like puzzle games.  I'll keep it on my radar.
     
    Very nice to see an XBox game be released.  Maybe we'll start getting 1 a week again...
  • My first thought was "another puzzle game, yawn", but I like the twist of the math element - I might pick this up.  The Bing Rewards avenue should work, too (thanks to Etyrnus above for the reminder).
  • They release this instead og FFIV remastered,or (dear god make it so): FFVI, FFVII or FFIX remastered? For shame, SquareEnix... For shame!
  • Sure. Just think of how much less time and money this took to port. But more RPGs are still a possibility in the future.
  • True, but still; when I hear square/enix releases a game for wp8 shortly after they release ffiv for Ios, and it turns out its a puzzle game and not ff, I am a sad panda.
  • This game hurts by Brain with basic math need another game to play. I guess my money is spent better elsewhere.
  • Anything from Square Enix is good news. It gives me some hope we may get more Final Fantasy games on the platform :P I would even buy the horrible FF Dimensions if it led if it led to FF 2-3 and Tactics. Downloading the trial now...
  • Wasn't a fan of the game from the trial but I'm just glad to see WP games.
  • +1
  • Well, it's better than nothing.
  • Good one, Paul. You were able to get three averages in one sentence: mean, median, and mode. :)
  • I'm so glad someone caught that. :-D
  • Sweet. Now dotw please!
  • This, 
     
    And hooray for new games!
  • This game is on Android too. With "unsupported phone" and "unsupport screen size" lol. That's hardware fragmentation.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.squareenix.koozac&feat...
  • Where are Chaos Rings 1, Omega, 2, FF 2-4, Hills and Rivers Remain, Secret of Mana, FFT, The World Ends with You, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, FF Dimensions, and all the other awesome titles you released on iOS, Square Enix?
  • FFVII with FFIV remastered style graphics would be awesome...
  • I wish they could update all the old Xbox live tiles/icons to the new ones with green top/border.