Review: Candy Crush Saga
At a Glance
|ESRB Rating:||E - Everyone|
|My Rating:||Ages 10 and up|
|Review Published On:||January 26th, 2019|
Your progress is recorded automatically upon leaving a stage.
While this game features a lot of bright and happy characters, it also tends to push players towards the in-game store, where they can buy in-game items and perks using real money.
One of the things that'll help you clear the levels are the various powerups that can be earned, bought, or created. In fact, you might find it hard to progress without powerups; a detail that can be a bit frustrating at times. On the plus side, many of the more common powerups can be created by manipulating the candies within a level, and there are number of relatively easy ways to gain more through gameplay.
However, no matter how good you are at Match 3 games, you will eventually lose a level or two, and this is when things go downhill. When you lose a level, you also lose various perks and bonuses you've acquired in previous levels. Thus, if you try again immediately, you'll be starting the level with a disadvantage and likely lose again.
This is where my biggest issue with this game comes into play. Since everything depends so heavily on powerups, losing your bonuses is treated as a big deal. Instead of just accepting the loss and moving on, you're prompted (sometimes more than once) to purchase extra moves. In theory, these extra moves can help you solve the level, but this isn't always the case.
The problem with this (and other prompts that you'll come across) is that you buy these items with gold bars. Gold bars, while a fictional currency, are purchased using real money, and you need a lot of gold bars to buy even the cheapest things. Effectively, you're regularly steered towards spending real money on things that don't really help you.
Don't get me wrong; there is a good, solid Match 3 game here. But the way it constantly pushes players towards its store makes it unsuitable for kids.
Points of Interest
For example, you'll get introduced to chocolate early on. Chocolate blocks off the spaces it occupies, and over time, it spreads over the board, making it a cumbersome obstacle. You can free up the spaces it occupies by making a match nearby, and if there's no more chocolate on the board, you don't have to worry about it anymore. But, later on, you'll encounter chocolate generators. These pieces cannot be matched or cleared, and they'll create new chocolate pieces regularly. In those levels, you can only work around the troublesome candy.
On a side note, you can also go back and replay a level you've already cleared. This not only allows you to try and earn a better score, but your actions in the level will also count towards charging up your powerups, feeding your pet, and other bonuses.
The special object is also the most important item, as it automatically gives you powerups when you enter a level. The more it has been charged up, the more powerups you'll get. This is also one of the perks you'll lose if you fail to complete a level. When this happens, then your best bet is to replay an easy level a few times to charge it back up.
There is also a piggy bank that allows you to earn gold bars by clearing levels. This would be a reasonable compromise, but you can only open this piggy bank by paying $3 in real money.
Concerns and Issues
The main problem here is that it's very easy to lose a level. Since losing a level also means losing some or all of the active powerups you have, your next try is going to start with a huge handicap. And of course, the game will actively try to stop you from accepting a loss by throwing up various messages warning you that you'll lose these bonuses if you give up now. If you don't give up, you'll need to purchase more moves or some other special item using gold bars, and if you don't have enough gold bars, you'll be taken to the store where you can buy some more.
But this can be broken down further. Gold bars cost $0.15 on average, while powerups and extra moves usually cost 3 to 15 gold bars each. In other words, a second chance at beating a level will run you about $2.25, and there's no guarantee that you'll win with those extra turns.
There are two exceptions to this "no-interaction" rule: The first is the Yeti, who will pop in randomly to offer you a chance at finding treasure, and the second is a baby dragon and their older relative. The baby dragon takes the place (and functionality) of a candy pet, while the older dragon collects stars that are awarded based on your performance in a level.