Candy Crush Saga – Review
I started playing Candy Crush Saga on Android and eventually tried it on Facebook. It is a free to play match 3 game with some interesting differences to existing games like Bejeweled. It became very addictive to me for a long time, to the point where my phone would die halfway through the day from playing it.
It works very well as a free to play game, as you can at any point spend real money to make the game easier, but if you work at it and have patience you can move your way through the game without ever spending a dime. I made it to level 99 before I was frustrated enough to quit playing having never spent anything on the game.
The things I found that made it different from other Match 3 games was that different levels provided different kinds of challenges. Some would be timed and require making a certain number of points before being able to move on, some would require a certain score within a limited number of moves. By limiting the player to only 5 losses before waiting 30 minutes for another try to renew you have a firm cut off time. This would imply that you could start playing and know that you won’t be playing all day. Of course you could if you continue to win games, and that meant sometimes the games went on for up to an hour before I realized I should be doing something else.
There are hard locks every 20 or so levels which require you to either spam your friends on Facebook (if connected), spend $1, or (if you aren’t connected to Facebook) play through three matches which have a 24 hour cooldown in between. This last option is hidden to anyone who has linked to Facebook, so a lot of people I spoke to didn’t even know that was an option and instead spammed their friends or stopped playing entirely.
Candy Crush Saga has many different and interesting gameplay features that differentiate it from typical Match 3 including the specialized bombs which take out rows, columns, or an area around the candy; the ability to combine bombs in different ways; locked off areas that can be unlocked by making a match with the candy behind the lock, or next to it; invasive chocolates which take over a candy next to it unless you work to reduce the amount on the screen; and ultimately bombs which count down every move and end the game if you don’t get rid of them before they hit 0. This was the last innovation I saw and ultimately what caused me to become fed up and walk away from the game. This pointed out just how random the game was and how out of control the player actually is.
In the end it was a fun game for a month of bus trips and bathroom breaks, and I can see how it monetizes so well but wasn’t enough to keep me interested or convert me to a paid customer.
Pros: Ability to play without paying, fun discovery of special moves, variety in stages and special blockers
Cons: Frustrating at times, ability to win a stage is wholly dependent on the candies that fall, not necessarily on the players skill