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Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush Saga

November 14, 2012
Developer:
Publisher:

Video Game Cat Review

Date of Review:  June 5, 2013
Format Reviewed:   iOS
Language / Country of Origin:   English / United States
Online Capability:  Players can link the game to Facebook in order to see their friends’ progression (which level they are on) and high scores.  They can also send and receive gifts with fellow Facebook game players.
Equipment Needed: None needed.
Maintenance Required:  None required, except for standard downloadable updates with mobile versions.

Review:

Plot:  
Like many puzzle games of its ilk, Candy Crush Saga does not have a substantive plot. Although players meet Tiffi (a cartoonish young girl) and watch her interact with various other colorful characters in the Candy Crush Saga world every time they complete an episode (after 10-15 levels), she is not the real focus of the game.  Candy Crush Saga is really about solving puzzles and beating levels.  As of this writing, the game features over 385 levels, but more are planned to be added over time as the developers update it.

Each level looks like a grid that is filled with differently colored and shaped candies. Players are given various objectives (reach a certain score or clear all obstacles) for each level that they must complete to progress.  Gameplay primarily consists of matching three or more identical candies to make them disappear and to earn points. Matches of four or more identical candies yield special candies, such as the striped candy which will clear a row, or the wrapped candy which acts like a localized bomb.  Special candies can be combined to create even more powerful results. When candies disappear, more move in to fill the resulting void.  Players are either given a set amount of time or number of moves in which to accomplish their objective.  Some levels include various barriers, such as jelly (which encases candy and impedes its movement) and chocolate (which spreads across the board and covers candies).

Candy Crush Saga is a “freemium” game, meaning that it is free to play under certain conditions.  Players are given a set number of lives (not to exceed five) and once these are utilized, they must wait for them to replenish (30 minutes per life) unless they access the game store and purchase more lives or their friends send them more via Facebook.  Lives are used up if players do not successfully complete a level. Players are also given the option to purchase additional moves or special items to help them complete levels. Finally, when an episode is completed, players have the choice to purchase tickets to make their way to the next episode or wait until their Facebook friends send them tickets.

Cultural / Historical Value:
Candy Crush Saga is one of the most popular games on Facebook and has been downloaded on mobile platforms over 10 million times.

Teaching / Learning Characteristics:
By virtue of the fact it is a puzzle game, players can exercise their puzzle solving skills by repeatedly playing Candy Crush Saga.  It is not an exaggeration to state that some levels are fairly complicated and require that players set up several moves in advance to complete levels, testing their skills.

Replay Value:  
Candy Crush Saga is highly addictive.  The game, despite having a simple concept, changes the objectives of the levels quite frequently and therefore requires players to change their tactics in order to progress.  As of this writing, the game features 385 different levels, but this is likely to change as King (the developer) keeps adding more.  Even though players may have to wait to replenish their lives (if they choose not to pay for them), the game is entertaining enough to maintain interest. The competitive aspect exists as well, as players will want to check in with the game to see where their friends are on the game board and to see who has achieved the current high score. Players can earn 1-3 stars per level.  Repeated gameplay is often required to achieve the three-star award.

Likely Audiences:
The popularity of this game is indicative of the fact that it is suitable for almost anyone.  Casual and social gamers will love it.  Puzzle enthusiasts will also find much to enjoy as there are literally hundreds of levels to complete of varying complexity.

Overall Score:
85/100.

Other Reviews:
1up.com: N/A
Gamerankings
Gamespot
Metacritic
MobyGames: N/A

About the Author:
Shannon L. Farrell, MLIS, MS is a Liaison Librarian at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.  Having been an avid gamer for the last 25 years, she has a great interest in incorporating videogames into library and educational environments.  She has conducted research on the topic, examining current use of videogames in libraries and the resources available for collection development purposes.  Shannon is a member of the ALA Games and Gaming Round Table.  Since she plays videogames on a daily basis, Shannon will be a regular contributor and editor of reviews for VideoGameCat.  She also maintains the VideoGameCat Twitter (@thevideogamecat) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/thevideogamecat) accounts.

Awards

Award Giver Category Verdict
International Mobile Gaming Awards 2013Best Social Game Winner

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