Candy Crush Saga


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Candy Crush Saga

DoraIt's easy to get snobby when you review games for a living, and that was definitely the case with my attitude towards King's juggernaut of a free-to-play match-3 arcade game, Candy Crush Saga, which various in-laws had been nagging me on Facebook to play for a long time now. The thing is, though, someone refusing to play anything but the classics, the deep-thinkers, and the complex concepts, is just as shallow-minded as someone who refuses to play them at all. Sometimes you want X-Com: Enemy Unknown or Journey, and sometimes you just want to be dazzled by high scores and flashy effects as you swap and match candies across a bizarre landscape while it's all being narrated by the world's most unsettling announcer. And if that's the itch you've got, Candy Crush Saga, it turns out, will oblige.

Candy Crush SagaAt its core, Candy Crush Saga is basically Bejeweled with a bit more frills and twists. Each stage has a goal, ranging from getting a certain number of points within a limited amount of moves to clearing the board of jelly, and you tap and drag on candies to swap them around. If you make a line of three or more candies of the same colour, they'll vanish and net you points, and bigger lines and combos means more points and power-ups. As you progress, levels get more and more complicated, requiring careful thought and strategy to win. If you fail to meet a stage's requirement, well, you either pay for a power-up or some extra turns, or you lose a life. You can only have five lives at a time, and you get a new one every half hour of real time. Candy Crush Saga has a staggering 395 levels, and you can play all of them for free... provided you're patient and/or clever, since some of the restrictions and requirements for stages can be extremely demanding.

If you, like myself, are the sort of person who prefers to pay a flat fee outright for a mobile game, Candy Crush Saga's enforced wait periods and "come on, just one couldn't hurt" approach to microtransactions is going to frustrate. Especially since the level requirements often feel less designed to challenge and more to squeeze a dollar out of you, particularly when many power-ups can be bought but not kept in reserve or carried over. Despite that, however, it's hard to deny that Candy Crush Saga is actually a very fun little arcade game. Apart from an amazingly repetitive soundtrack, the game constantly keeps you on your toes by introducing new elements and strategic levels. Comparatively simple and shallow in places? Sure. But Candy Crush Saga is well-produced, addictive arcade fun, perfect to fill the moments when you want something breezy and light. And now you can all stop e-mailing me about it. You too, mom.

NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the HTC One S. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.

9 Comments

I do not understand this game at all. My father and sister are both obsessed with it, and they spent my whole life making fun of me for my video games. I played a few levels, and it seemed to me to be the same thing as the million other Bejewled clones. What is it about this game that made it so successful on top of every other game exactly like it?

The simplest answer is, like many mobile games, its market tends to be non-gamers. Much like how Angry Birds is better known than Crush the Castle, Candy Crush simply got their first with the burgeoning market of gaming newcomers (people with smartphones who had never touched a game before for the most part) and did so with a lot of flash and production value. It takes a simple format and concept and serves it up in bite-sized plays. Add on the casual playstyle and twists (Candy Crush does offer more power-ups and level variations than Bejeweled) and you have a game that's primed for newcomers or people looking just to fill time in a much more accessible fashion.

It's not a bad game, it's just simple, and being something that shows up in our suggestion box a lot, I felt like it was time to say something about it.

I have to admit, I was addicted to this game for a long time when I had a Facebook account. There certainly is a very strong fun factor when you start playing. The problem is, once you've played for a long time, especially up around the level 150 mark, the "fun" completely disappears and it turns into complete frustration. By the time I quit playing it, I hated it. Not because the levels became difficult, but because they became a test of patience and luck. There were so many levels that if you didn't have the right candies set up in the right places when a level started you were better off just quitting and starting over; and with the limited amount of games you could play due to the time limit between "lives," it just became too tedious to even bother playing any further. I stopped playing and don't regret it for a second.

So, long story short, fun for a bit, but then the fun goes away. I'd recommend playing it just until you get tired of it.

That's a good review. The game is good but it could be better if it weren't trying to squeeze money out of me. Mainly because it can't! I haven't spent a penny on it, so it's just a game with occasionally almost impossible levels to overcome.

I am not ashamed (well, *mostly* not ashamed) to admit that I began playing this game back in June and that I am now somehow on level 267.

Yes, I know that the levels are shamelessly hard to try to squeeze money out of me (which I steadfastly refuse to let happen). Yes, I know that winning all too often depends on sheer dumb luck. But I still find the game fun enough to while away a couple of hours every day on without it taking up my entire time.

With that said...I hate these damn bombs they throw at you in later levels. Hate hate HATE them.

I refuse to pay for these games designed to squeeze you for IAP or play to win model. Plants vs zombies 2, real racing 3, etc. I'll pay for a good game or a new set of levels, but this game is just designed to get money through frustration and harassing your friends an family. No thanks. I deleted it and blocked everything on facebook.

Just complementing what I said before. Yes, it's a good game that turns the difficulty up to "encourage" you to buy boosts. But even with the high difficulty, it's a nice time killer for those who are not in a rush to play all the levels (is anyone?) and have to wait in a bank line or something.

However, this also shows that there's a lack of free quality games, at least on Android. Can't say for iOS as I don't own any iDevice. Thus when something half decent comes along for free it's a sensation! And I'm even putting angry birds in this sack.

There are good games for Android though. I believe it's the convenience for charging through the google play store that creates this paradigm. Something browser games couldn't do as easily.

I played the game on my wife's iPhone and enjoyed it, so I downloaded it on my Droid. It runs OK on my older phone but it causes it to reset randomly at times and it's a bit slow to load.

I never played Bejeweled but I loved Puzzle Quest, and this reminds me a bit of that (without the RPG aspects of course).

I haven't and will not pay into the game, so when it becomes impossible to win without entering my credit card then I will quit. But for now it's a fun distraction.

In facebook, there are currently 455 levels, some 60 more than on the phone.

I started playing it on February, and what pushes me to keep on leveling up? My friend(s) is in a higher level than me. (Yes, one is even touching the roof!)

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