Farm Heroes Saga
Love 'em or hate 'em, King.com has basically nailed the market for relentlessly addictive and simple mobile games with the likes of Candy Crush Saga and its (much less popular) brethren Pet Rescue Saga. Now they're back for more with their latest free match-3 game for iOS and Android, Farm Heroes Saga, and, yes, it's basically Candy Crush Saga but with an adorable farming theme, and, yes, it's saddled with its share of microtransactions... but is it less obnoxious than in other games? (Note that you can play Farm Heroes Saga online free at King.com in simplified format, though registration is required.)
In each level, you're given a specific type and number of "cropsies" to collect by swapping adjacent ones to make matches of three or more. By matching cropsies, you can add multipliers to nearby ones to increase their value when they're captured. You have a limited number of turns to reach the requirements, and failing to do so before those run out means you can either pay the in-game currency to keep playing, or just retry at the cost of a life, which replenishes with one for every thirty minutes. Sound familiar? The game also comes with power-ups of varying usefulness, and other bonuses like extra turns... all of which you can buy more of, of course. See, those things cost gold, which can be purchased with real money, and other things cost the beans you're awarded for clearing levels based on your score. There are even special flower cropsies that must be made to bloom by matching multiple assortments next to them, and boss battles of a sort with Rancid Raccoon, where every match you make causes his health to decrease. So, yes, Farm Heroes Saga is still everything you love... or, y'know, hate depending on your perspective.
As gorgeous as it is with its colourful, cute visuals (ignoring the annoying gasps and coos of its characters), Farm Heroes Saga is very simple, but also very fun from a casual, "I'm waiting for the bus/an appointment/have some free time/should actually be working right now" perspective. It's still frustrating, of course, since it feels like success in levels is largely dependent on luck since their layouts and drops are randomised, so you may eventually run out of ways to play freely without having to wait several hours. Not that I don't think developers should be paid for their work... quite the contrary, since I'd be happy to plunk down a few bucks for the game if it had a flat price tag! But the sheer amount of timers and transactions detracts from the charm, which is a shame since Farm Heroes Saga has charm to burn. Vote with your wallet if you don't want to play, and keep an eye on your wallet if you do, but Farm Heroes Saga is a dangerously addictive if very simple arcade style puzzler than can be enjoyed at face value completely free... as long as you don't mind waiting for a few hours between bursts.
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.