Love it or hate it, there is no denying that Candy Crush Saga is massively popular and an obscene number of people still play it every day. It is the second most profitable game on the mobile platform right now and earns millions through in-app purchases.
Over a period of time developer King.com has come up with several clones of the game in an effort to also clone the success of the original but none of them have taken off the way the original did (this may have something to do with none of them being particularly different to make anyone want to play them). The latest one is Candy Crush Soda Saga, which is a slight improvement on the original. Having played the original for a while (back when everyone else did) I thought I’d give this new one a try.
Candy Crush Soda Saga is more or less identical to the original game. The couple of new tricks here include soda bottles that you have to match with similarly colored candies. Some levels can only be completed when you raise the level of soda till the top of the level and to do that you have to get rid of all the soda bottles in the level, which can be done by matching them with other candies.
Another new feature is candy bears which are trapped behind ice and you have to match the candy on top of the ice to break it and free the bears behind. In some levels you have to match candy next to the honey to release the trapped bears.
There are a couple of candy features. You can make a grid of four candies of the same color to make one of those fish thingies, which previously had to be purchased before a level. There is also generally a lot more fish in this game, at least till the point I played. Another new feature is combining seven candy into the new Coloring Candy, which unlocks some of the locked candies and changes it to the same color as itself.
Other than that, the game is exactly the same as the standard Candy Crush Saga. Admittedly, the game is addictive, and you find yourself playing it again and again until you complete the level.
But the gameplay was never a problem. The thing that annoys most people about these King.com games is the annoying freemium model. This means that the game is free to download but you only get five lives. Once you exhaust those, the game suggests you wait for the lives to refresh, which takes 30 minutes for each life. You can also instantly get more lives by begging your Facebook friends, spending in-game currency (gold bars) and if you exhaust those you have to spend real money to get them. Even worse; even though the game has over 140 levels, the levels are split into sections and once you complete a section you again need to either beg your Facebook friends or pay real money.
The begging to Facebook friends part is particularly annoying to everyone involved, even your friends who don’t play the game. Once you connect the game to Facebook, it lets you sync your progress across all the devices where you are logged in, which is a good thing. But it also sends requests for lives and to unlock levels to ALL your Facebook contacts, even those who have never heard of the game. Somehow they haven’t managed to figure out a way to send requests to only those contacts who connected the account with the game, even though it knows exactly who they are.
Candy Crush Soda Saga looks similar to Candy Crush Saga but the menus have a different design. They also have some new animations and some of the candies have received a slight redesign. The colorful visuals make the game look nice, especially on high resolution displays. The colors are overbearing on AMOLED displays, but that’s hardly the game’s fault. I notice a lot of low resolution assets on the iPad, which wasn’t the case with the original Candy Crush Saga, which was well made overall.
The music is meh. The updated sounds for the explosions and animations are decent though. The guy who said things like “SUGAR CRUSH” is back, and is now saying things like “SODALICIOUS”. He also speaks far too suggestively while talking about is essentially candy and soda. I guess he just likes candy a lot.
The original Candy Crush Saga is a fun game and so is Candy Crush Soda Saga. But while there is no denying that, there is also no denying that the game’s business model is absolutely horrible and is essentially designed to annoy you and your friends into either paying or stop playing altogether. It’s everything that is wrong with the mobile gaming industry, which is why it’s hard, in good conscience, to support and recommend these games. If you want to play, play. It’s fun. Just don’t annoy your Facebook friends who have no interest in it.
Pros: Fun, addictive gameplay, looks nice
Cons: Terrible freemium business model designed to frustrate you into paying, spams all your Facebook friends regardless of whether or not they play the game
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