I’ve been playing Candy Crush on my Android phone since early July-ish. I thought I should have at least one game on there, because, why not? And I picked this one because my sister played it and it looked like fun. I’m a very simple person.
485 stages and 65 Dreamworld stages. What a trip! It’s been very annoying and frustrating at times. In fact, most of the time. But now that I’ve finished the whole thing pending further releases, I’m feeling very zen about the whole experience. Right now I’m doing a victory tour of all the earlier stages, playing them all once just to remind myself what I’ve been through. Level 33! Level 50! Level 65! I never thought I’d finish 76 and 77! The whole stretch in Salty Canyon from 96 to 110! They all seem so cute and friendly in retrospect, with their little bombs and cute widdle chocolate. Awww… All bets are off as to whether I’ll still be laughing when I replay stages like 418 and 421, the only stages that made me seriously contemplate quitting the game.
But that’s not what I’m here to post about today. I’ve seen a lot of derisive and even false comments about Candy Crush out there. Comments that if I’d read before trying it would have put me off even getting near the game. In fact, “hate Candy Crush” gets over 100,000 results on Google. Don’t get scared – King.com isn’t paying me to plug their game. In fact there’s nothing to plug, because the hate isn’t entirely undeserved. But it’s still a game that kept me amused for about 6 months, so today I’m here to cast Dispel on:
Myth #1 – It’s addictive.
Truth – It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Having only five lives which only refill in real-world time did make me a little paranoid when I started out. I even set alarms (wait, why am I admitting this?) so I wouldn’t “waste” any lives. Soon afterwards, though, I discovered the ‘Unlimited Lives’ cheat. Which isn’t really a cheat, you just move the clock on your phone forward a day and presto! Full lives! Once you know you can play as much as you like as often as you like, the addiction factor goes right out of the window.
Myth #2 – It’s expensive.
Truth – I made it through all 485+65 stages without paying a cent, and so can you. I haven’t even entered my credit card details into the system, and it’s going to stay that way. To be honest I had enough fun with it that I’m not completely averse to throwing a few dollars to the developers, but I refuse to do it by paying for boosters. Plus now that King gives you a free booster every day, there’s no reason to ever pay for anything unless you want to.
Truth – Oh sorry, that’s not a myth. Let’s move on.
Myth #4 – It’s fun.
Truth – See Myth #3. Nah, I kid. ^^;; Some stages are really fun. The first 50 or so levels in particular really draw you in, then it gets less and less fun the further you progress. For individual levels, whether you enjoy them or not depend on the person, on the level, and on how lucky you are that day.
There are stages like 281 that we can all admit are fun, and others like 463 that can be fun depending on what mystery eggs you get. Then there’s @#$^ like 418 and 421. <bleep> 418 and 421. While it’s not easy to tell in advance how hellish a stage is going to be, there are some good indicators. Are there any bombs? Are there any generators? Is it an order stage? If you get any or all these factors together, it’s definitely going to be crap.
Myth #5 – It’s a puzzle game.
Truth – It’s a luck game. Okay, there’s a tiny bit of puzzling involved in deciding whether to make X move versus Y move, and a bit of strategy involved in holding off certain moves so you can get better combos later. And there are some basic principles to follow, e.g. start from the bottom in jelly stages. But really, most levels just boil down to getting lucky. There are some stages where I just know the game just decided I’d suffered enough and let me win.
Truth – Like I said, it’s a luck game. It’s only as hard as your luck is. You might get to a famously hard stage like 350 and just blast through without a thought, then get stuck on one of the easier ones. So take heart if you’re stuck somewhere. It may take days, weeks, or even months, but as with the million monkeys with a million typewriters theory, it will all come together in the end (whether the world ends first or not is a different matter).
Myth #7 – It would be much better if you could just pay $XX and get all the stages unlocked.
Truth – I used to think that too, especially when I would get stuck at the worst places, but now I think the current format is the best. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were cheats that opened up the whole game, but IMO that would destroy the game. The majority of Candy Crush levels aren’t much fun to play on their own anyway. I would have quit long ago if I had access to them all. Above everything else, it’s basic game design: finish level 1 to move to level 2. And if it’s too hard, quit. Simple.
Of course, just because I wrote all that to clear up some misunderstandings doesn’t mean I’d actually recommend Candy Crush to anyone. I’m basically trying to say to anyone who thinks ill of Candy Crush Saga without having played it: “You’re not completely wrong, but it’s not that terrible either.” Still, if you think you’re going to hate it, you’re almost certainly right, so I won’t tell you to give it a try. I’m not that cruel.
To anyone who’s thinking of starting, though, I won’t say “Don’t.” After playing this for 6 months, I’ve totally lost the right to do that. And to be honest, for all the maddening, frustrating moments, overall I’ve had more fun than not. Isn’t it wonderful how the human mind just papers over unpleasant memories? 😀
But seriously, it’s much better now than it was when I first started out. For one thing, the free boosters make things a lot easier now. King is also decent about revising extra-difficult stages to make them more palatable. Off the top of my head 410, 417 and 425 were fixed, so overall the game is less frustrating than it used to be. So if you want to try it, go ahead. Don’t believe the hype, don’t expect anything except frustration, and see you in 6 months when you finally catch up!