Many mobile games struggle with graphics, especially in this genre but Candy Crush Saga uses cartoon-style graphics that suit the candy-themed game. Each candy in the game has a different appearance that makes them stand out while keeping to the overall theme of the game; they have a variation of patterns according to what they do.
The levels and worlds in the game vary with content; some of the levels are focused on clearing jelly blocks that are in a specific location on the board. While this is a piece of nice mechanics, the jelly is similar to glass and can be hard to spot on some devices depending on the brightness settings.
The game features a limited but solid tutorial that teaches players the basic mechanics of the game; it's a nice way to teach players how to the game. The tutorial is taught across several levels where a new idea is introduced to the player at the start of each, a skip button is included at the start of each level that allows experienced players to start playing without restrictions.
A tutorial is always good to see in games and even though the game mechanics aren't too complicated, it's still a useful way to teach players the basics. The cartoon-style graphics and simple gameplay make this an easy to pick-up game for all ages which is partially why this game is so popular on several platforms.
Players need to form a line of matching tiles by swapping the ones next to each other; tiles can only be swapped when they form a line however which does place some restrictions on the potential moves. When in a line of 3 or more tiles the candy will be 'crushed' and the ones above it will fall down to take their place while more candy is dropped into the grid for the player to immediately use for matching candy.
Matching more candy in a line results in a higher score reward and it can also provide the player with special candy; the type of this special candy the player is given depends on the size of the line, they may also need to be matched in a line of their color to work. It's a nice bonus mechanic and the special candy can reward the player with a larger number of points.
While each level has different completion requirements, they all make some use of the high score mechanic; some levels requires that the player reaches a specific number in order to pass and move on to the next level. The high score is used to determine what star level the player finished that level at, the maximum number of achievable stars is three per level.
There are currently six level types for players to experience and each one has a different objective that needs to be completed to pass the level; the different level types are introduced slowly throughout the game and instructions are provided for each one. Having such varied levels is good for keeping the game diverse even without drastically changing the gameplay.
Each level type also has some unique features to them and a Sugar Crush affects them all differently; a Sugar Crush happens once the objective has been completed and they usually activate any leftover special candy. It adds a more interesting twist to the expected end for each game and can help to add a slightly more strategic element to the game.
As to be expected from a free-to-play game, there is an option to purchase premium currency from an in-game cash store. Purchasing Gold allows players to buy items such as more moves, or boosters which can be used for specific levels. It's also possible to purchase Tickets which are used to unlock new episodes in the game to reach more levels in the game.
Tickets can also be collected by sharing Facebook posts; to do this, however, the player needs to obtain three tickets from three different people.
Unlike most other games of this genre, it features cross-platform play where players can move between different platforms without losing their progress. This does require the player to log-in to the game through Facebook, however.
Getting controls right for puzzle mobile games is important and thankfully, King has created a good system for the game. It's a piece of cake, really, and players just need to use their finger to move the tiles one space and to swap it with the tile in that slot.
Players also have the chance to play an extremely limited spin-the-wheel in-game which is done by tapping on the stop spinning button; there's no need to do this however and it's only accessible to players who have run out of moves to complete the level.
There's not a huge amount of action in this game but the controls work well and the game mechanics match it well.
Replay Value 7/10
Candy Crush Saga has a somewhat high replay value, there are several hundred levels for players to complete and the range of level types keeps every play session diverse. Players can replay all completed levels regardless of the episode or when the player completed the level.
Each level uses a Star System where players are rewarded with stars according to the final high score for that level; it's possible to replay levels to increase the high score also which can be shared online with other players.
This can be a very addicting game due to the simple yet satisfying gameplay and a hodgepodge of new levels in this game make it very easy to play for long periods of time. It does feature a Hearts System however, which works exactly like the classic Energy System seen in many mobile games. This system limits how long a player can play the game for, once the Hearts run out the player needs to wait for them to regenerate or purchase more using premium currency.