It’s fun to be critical of Candy Crush Saga. After all, it’s the most casual of casual games, it has a sharply effective monetisation system, and the publisher of the game, King, isn’t the most popular in the world right now.
But Candy Crush Saga is good at what it offers. Each new level offers players a new challenge and board layout, there is literally hundreds of levels, the social sharing features are addictive and the game has personality thanks to some excellent production values.
Then there’s Candy Match 3, a cancer of a game that represents all the cynical evil that can plague this industry. It’s a game that sells itself by directly inviting comparisons to Candy Crush – i.e. it’s a match-3 game with “candies” and “candy” in the title, and then doesn’t even try to offer a compelling experience to back up that association.
There’s only the one game board this time, and there’s a timer that will slowly run down unless you continue to match “candies” (heck, I’ll call it for what it is; they’re coloured shapes that look nothing like anything I’d like to put in my mouth, let alone a candy). Match enough of them and you’ll get a lot of points and “level up.” Later levels introduce shapes that can’t be moved around the board, and there are some score multipliers and glowing shapes that will blow up when matched, but that is literally all there is to this game.
Other match-3 games with timers, such as Bejewelled Blitz, have the good sense to include online leaderboards. Not Candy Match 3. Other match-3 games with timers, such as Zookeeper, have the good sense to create frantic action via a competitive 2-player mode, and the ability to move multiple objects at once to create big, exciting chains. Not Candy Match 3; it’s single player only and players can only move one object at a time. Other match-3 games have the good sense to either add depth via RPG mechanics (Puzzle Quest) or at least try and offer some nice presentation values such as what we saw in Pokemon Link: Battle!. Not Candy Match 3. Oh no, all you get with this game is an ugly-as-sin graphic wasting pixels on the top screen and boring coloured shapes which are meant to be candies on the bottom.
That’s it. That’s Candy Match 3; a game that got produced and released on the 3DS for $10 Australian (sorry, $9.99, but don’t think I don’t know the sale psychology B.S. that created that price point), at a time when independent developers with truly original and innovative ideas turn to Kickstarter in desperation to try and get their game made.
Candy Match 3 truly offends me. It’s a nasty, exploitative game that contributes nothing to this industry beyond taking money from consumers that could have gone to a game that deserved the support.
– Matt S.
Find me on Twitter: @digitallydownld