Candy Crush Saga is a free-to-play Match-Three Game by King.com. It is available for Facebook (link), Android and iOS, and Windows 10 as "Candy Crush Soda Saga", with a storyline and level progression. There's also a best-score-in-three-minutes version available at their website. As suggested by its name, the items you try to match three of are candies. Your main character is Tiffi, who goes around trying to help characters out, such as trying to get a candy machine working and waking up a yeti. There's also another character named Mr. Toffee who gives you tips along the way.
As in most Match Three Games, you get special candies for matching more than three candies at once:
- Striped candies, which you get by matching four candies in a row. When used in a match, they clear an entire horizontal or vertical line of candies (the direction of the stripe tells you whether it will clear a horizontal or vertical line).
- Wrapped candies, which you get by matching two three-candy matches in a cross-shape pattern. When used, they explode in a 3x3 square area twice.
- Color bombs, which you get by matching five candies in a row. When used, they destroy all candies of the color of your choice.
Other special items include Lollipop Hammers (used to crush candies or obstacles on single spaces), Jelly Fish (which multiply and eat jelly on Jelly levels; however, they will not reach jellies hidden under popcorn), Lucky Candies (used to create combos needed to complete Orders levels), and Coconut Wheels (which, on Ingredients levels, turn three candies in a row into striped candies that go off automatically). Note that many boosters can only be used on certain types of levels - for example, the Coconut Wheel is available only for Ingredients levels (although it will sometimes appear from a mystery egg in other types of levels).
There are five types of levels that are in Candy Crush. All of the levels have a distinct kind of background music, although the Score and Order levels share the same background music (which is also used in the free version).
- Orange circles are the most basic ones. You just have to gain a certain score before your moves run out. The first five levels are these and there are a few levels along the way. Usually considered the easier ones, especially between Jelly levels. All levels make you keep a score. Be careful though, some Orange circles contain Timebombs which, if allowed to explode, will cost you a life, even if you've reached the target score already.
- Blue circles are Jelly levels. They contain Jelly squares which only dissolve when you make a match adjacent to them. Usually considered the harder and trickier levels in the game (especially ones where it's easy to clear the jellies, but hard to get the minimum score). Most jelly is double-layered, but there are some that are just single-layered.
- Green circles are Ingredient levels. Interspersed with the candies are a number of ingredients (cherries or hazelnuts) which must be down to the bottom of the board by clearing everything in their way. These are introduced in the second world of the game, Candy Factory.
- Purple circles are Timed levels, where you have to get a certain score before time runs out (usually 90 seconds, but the time limit can be as short as 15 seconds). You can get candies that give you extra time if you make combos that trigger five or more matches at once. (As of April 2018, all former Timed levels have been converted to Jelly levels.)
- Red/pink circles are Order levels. These levels don't appear until much later in the game when the area Wafer Wharf introduces them. The objective is to either get rid of certain candies or get certain combos before running out of moves.
Besides Jelly and Ingredients, there are other things cluttering up your board:
- Meringue: Solid blocks that cannot be moved but can be destroyed by creating a match adjacent to them. In later levels, the meringue can be multi-layered with up to 5 total layers.
- Licorice Locks: Some candies are locked in cages made of licorice stripes. You must make a match that includes the candy in the cage to free them. In later levels, blockers, including chocolate spawners, are also locked in licorice.
- Chocolate: They clutter up the board and eat candies, turning them into more chocolate. You can destroy them by destroying the candy adjacent to them (the destroyed candy need not be part of a match; a candy destroyed by striped candy, for example, also destroys chocolate blocks adjacent to them).
- Portals: Items falling into blue portals reappear from pink portals.
- Licorice: Like meringue and chocolate, they can be destroyed if you make the proper candy matches. Unlike chocolate and meringue, they can be moved around, but more of them may fall from the top of the board on some levels. Also, they block striped candy explosions.
- Marmalade: Encases candies, usually Special Candies that the player will need to break out of the marmalade to be able to complete the level with. They can be broken in the same way as with meringues (i.e. making a match next to them).
- Chocolate Spawner: Makes chocolate blocks, but cannot be destroyed like normal chocolate blocks. If locked in licorice (see above), they will not spawn chocolate while locked.
- Bombs: Will end the game if you don't defuse them by including them in a match. Each bomb indicates the number of moves you have left until the bomb explodes; once a bomb explodes, it's an instant fail, sometimes even if you've already completed the objective of the level. Bombs will still count down and explode even if locked in licorice or a Sugar Chest. On the plus side, candy bombs yield more points when defused, which comes in handy in timed levels (particularly if the player uses a color bomb on the same color candy as a bomb).
- Mystery Candy: Can turn into ANYTHING, including special candies (helpful) and unwanted blockers like meringue and chocolate (not so helpful). Oddly enough, they can even get rid of the tile.
- Chameleon candy: Alternates between two candy colors with every move.
- Cakes: 4x4 impassable blocks divided into 4 quarters and 8 segments. Making matches adjacent to the cake or blasting special candies into it destroys a segment or two of it, and destroying it completely clears the board of all candies and strips a layer from all blockers.
- Toffee Tornadoes: Randomly switch to new squares every turn. They cannot be matched and leave cracks in previously occupied squares which prevent candy from falling into them for one more turn. They can actually be helpful if they land on a blocker as they will destroy a layer of it, but they do not remove jelly. Can be removed for 5 turns by blasting special candies into them.
- Conveyor Belts: Moves candies along predetermined path with every move.
- Sugar Chests: Locks up candies (and sometimes, in Green levels, ingredients), but unlike licorice locks and marmalades, can only be opened with keys.
- Popcorn: They hide Color Bombs underneath, but they must be hit four times (getting progressively larger with each hit) first. This is accomplished usually by hitting them with special candies, although Jelly Fish are worthless against them. In jelly levels, they also often have jelly underneath, meaning that the popcorn must be destroyed in order to clear all the jelly.
- Magic Mixers: They turn surrounding candies into blockers such as licorice, bombs, chocolate etc. at regular intervals (usually every three or four moves). They can be destroyed by making matches with adjacent candies (though it takes usually five or so hits to destroy them). Just as with chocolate, making a move adjacent to a mixer will keep it at bay for an extra move, and when destroyed they create a small explosion similar to that created by matching a wrapped candy which will set off nearby special candies and help pop popcorn. However, on orders levels in which the objective is to destroy a certain number of blockers and the mixer creates the blockers, destroying the mixer too soon is an instant fail.
It's fairly complicated, but addicting in the way Match Three Games can be. Accusations have flown around about its Allegedly-Free nature, particularly concerning Difficulty Spikes that encourage Bribing Your Way to Victory. Whether this is true or King have simply managed to adjust the difficulty curve correctly, the net result is that Candy Crush Saga is the highest-grossing game on both Apple's App Store and Google Play. (For contrast, the most lucrative pay-to-purchase app, Minecraft Pocket Edition, is in ninth place on that same list.)
It is now followed by its sequels, Candy Crush Soda Saga (starring Kimmy, Tiffi's sister) and Candy Crush Jelly Saga. Part of the charm of all three games is that, as well as the candy theme, they also have a cardbord-cut-out doll aesthetic, with characters' limbs and other moving parts held on by very visible treasury tags.
Other similar games by King include Farm Heroes Saga (with "cropsies") and Pepper Panic Saga (with exploding peppers).
The game made headlines again in 2015, when its creator, King.com, was bought out by Activision for 6 billion dollars. Among other things, the event also gave added relevance to '''Candy Number Crunch Saga, an IPO stock-trading simulation for titular company, available for free and made entirely in Microsoft Excel.
In the summer of 2017, CBS debuted a Game Show version of Candy Crush utilizing two giant arrays of touchscreen monitors to make for an enormous playing environment, hosted by Mario Lopez. It was an elimination-style competition between four teams of two decided through four rounds of various gimmick-filled, game-themed challenges, with the last round being a face-off between the last two teams to see who could be the first to fifty matches to win $100,000.
Unfortunately, the ambitiousness of the game show production went a little too far when it soon became clear that the giant displays were so big nobody could even view enough of the environment at any given time to competently play the game, even self-proclaimed experts, causing most episodes to descend into bumbling and uninteresting matches. This, along with criticisms about how the show's hour-long run time and the lack of effort to fix these major flaws only exacerbated the problem, and quickly led to the swift cancellation of the game show after only one season, being written off as a mostly overblown Ratings Stunt and another cash-in for the franchise name.
This game provides examples of:
- Advancing Wall of Doom: Each time you don't destroy the chocolate blocks, they'll grow in the board and cover candies. This can really hinder your process if you had a combo ready. The "doom" part comes in if you let the chocolate block incoming candy from coming in, as you'll actually lose a life: if no more matches can be made on the board, the board will shuffle until a match is available, and if no matches are available after shuffling, it costs you a life.
- Allegedly Free Game: You probably won't be able to win later levels without much suffering unless you pay real money for powerups. You won't even get past the first twenty levels unless you're willing to either pay money or pester your friends into playing. Occasionally, you will be rewarded with an hour (or more) of unlimited lives for reaching a certain milestone.
- Alliterative Name: Many of the game's areas have alliterative names, including every single area between levels 111 and 230:
- Peppermint Palace
- Wafer Wharf
- Gingerbread Glade
- Pastille Pyramid
- Cupcake Circus
- Caramel Cove
- Sweet Surprise
- Crunchy Castle
- Alliterative Title:
- Candy Crush Saga
- Candy Crush Soda Saga
- Ascended Extra: The Easter Bunny from Easter Bunny Hills is, in the Flash version of the game, the symbol for the "Order" levels. In the HTML5 version, the Order levels are introduced by Mr. Toffee, just like the others.
- Awesome, but Impractical: Colorbomb + Colorbomb. Perhaps the ultimate of all combos but also very hard to create.
- Big Bad: The closest the game has to one is the Bubblegum Troll, as he wreaks havoc in six episodes. He threatens to take Tiffi's candy in Bubblegum Bridge, wrecks Pepperment Palace, joins Tiffi's party (he's probably a Punch-Clock Villain in this case), terrorizes Pudding Pagoda as a Godzilla-like monster, blocks a railroad track in Butterscotch Boulders, and encases Biscuit Bungalow within a giant gum bubble.
- Bribing Your Way to Victory:
- It used to be that you couldn't use any powerups at will without paying for them. However, recent additions to the game somewhat subvert this trope with regard to boosters, although even these have their limits. There's the "Booster Wheel", which, once per day, allows you to spin a wheel and get a free booster. If you're lucky and land on the jackpot, you get three of just about every type of booster. Mort's Magic Helmets reward players with boosters for completing a level or stretch of levels without losing a life; the more levels you pass, the better the reward, but losing a life sends you back to square one. And in certain levels, Sugar Drops (candies marked with the letter C) can be collected and redeemed for free boosters, but once you complete the "sugar track" by collecting a certain number of drops, you have to wait several hours before you can collect more.
- The game was kind enough to give a free item, usually a Lollipop Hammer or "+3 Moves", to a player each day for a week on the last week of March 2013. This perk was revived recently, as the web version has also introduced a feature in which you get boosters simply by logging in each day, and the boosters get progressively better with each day; but if you miss a day, you, again, are sent back to the beginning of the cycle. It should be noted, however, that the player still never gets to choose which boosters he or she wants - you get what the game gives you.
- The trope still applies with regard to lives, however; if you run out of lives, you still have to either wait 30 minutes to get a new one for free, or actually buy lives with your real money.
- You also need to pay real money to unlock new levels if you don't want to spend at least two days completing three random Mystery Quests.
- Combination Attack: Switching any two of striped candy, wrapped candy, and colorbomb, or combining one type of candy with another, will produce an effect much greater than either one individually. Early on, getting them can amount to an Instant-Win Condition; they become required in later levels.
- Critical Annoyance: Odus will start dancing when he's about to fall off the moon scale.
- Defictionalisation: The candies you crush are now real.
- Difficulty Spike: You may be meandering along the levels, having completed four or five levels in a row quite easily. You might even be passing the 'Hard' levels in one or two turns. And suddenly along comes a level that has an obscene time limit or a crippling number of moves, and it's not even called Hard. And then, for no reason, it gets easy again.
- Downloadable Content: The boosters. Formerly, there was no way you could get them in the game unless if you wait until Chocolate Barn, where the game introduces mystery eggs (which are similar to the Lucky Candy items, but they can turn into obstacles instead). Thanks to the Booster Wheel and other newer features, the player can now get boosters for free, although the player does not have a choice as to which boosters he or she gets. These include Coconut Wheels and Jelly Fish. If you wait until Delicious Drifts (the area immediately following Chocolate Barn), you'll actually see Jelly Fish AND Coconut Wheels as marmalade covered items. Free for use.
- Easter Egg: Every time you get a Divine (the largest of the Idiosyncratic Combo Levels), there is about a 1 in 1,000 chance that the "Divine" will be said in a different voice. Due to the random, unpredictable nature of this happening, and the admittedly eerie sound of the voice, experiencing one in-game can be a little surprising.
- Edible Theme Naming: The episodes are named after sweets, like "Candy Town", "Lemonade Lake", and "Chocolate Mountains".
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: There's one in the Jelly Jungle.
- Excuse Plot: After clearing the first set of levels, Tiffi declares to go out and explore the world, helping people along the way.
- Expy: The dragon in Lemonade Lake looks like Steven Magnet.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: The Tooth Fairy is the one being helped in the world Pearly White Plains, which has been ravaged by colour bombs. In-game, they destroy every candy of the same colour on the board. Outside gameplay, they hit like nuclear bombs, turning a happy paradise filled with pristine shining pearly white teeth into an irradiated wasteland, with the teeth cracked, broken, and rotting. A Colorbomb is also used to hold a volcano.
- Gimmick Level: The first level of each world is always some way to introduce something new to the game. The level will focus mainly on that new obstacle. For example, the first Portal level is just a simple "Bring Down the Ingredients" type of level, and in the first bomb level, the timer is the same as the number of moves.
- Guide Dang It!: The Frog. The game gives you no explanation on what to do with him, but you're supposed to wait until you get enough matches for the announcer to say "FROGTASTIC!" and then slap the frog on a space which can get rid of the Jelly. The first level in "Cereal Sea" can be very confusing because of this.
- The Hero's Birthday: During Sweet Surprise, Toffette comes across... a large cake. After finishing the last level of the world, all of the characters she's helped come out and surprise her!
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Mr. Toffee, the helper, and Toffette/Tiffi, the main character. Justified, as Tiffi is implied to be a child and Mr. Toffee is an adult. (And no, they're not in a romantic relationship; Tiffi is, according to Word of God, his adopted daughter.)
- Incredibly Lame Pun: The Jelly Fish. When you can eventually get it during levels (as opposed to just during a sugar crush or through a free booster feature such as the Booster Wheel), it turns out to specifically target jelly, and can even destroy it through any number of layers of meringue. This is specifically required in some levels, since you don't have enough moves to destroy the jelly manually. However, again, they do not target jellies hidden under popcorn until you remove the popcorn; if the only jellies remaining in a level are under unpopped popcorn, jelly fish will simply eat other candies.
- Infinity -1 Sword: The combos. Note that certain order levels require you to make a certain number of these combos to pass.
- The Wrapped Candy + Striped Candy combo creates a giant 3×3 striped candy that clears all candies vertically and horizontally. Fairly easy to make and can be extremely useful on Jelly levels that aren't licorice-filled.
- Wrapped Candy + Color Bomb, which turns every candy of the same color as the wrapped candy into a wrapped candy then activates them all, is an exceptionally powerful tool in almost any level.
- And the ultimate of all combos: Color Bomb + Color Bomb clears the entire board (except certain blockers).
- Large Ham: The voice. You can't deny that.
- Level Ate: Besides the fact it's a candy-themed game, the sections are all based on candy. Heck, even the loading screen on Facebook is based on candy as well.
- Luck-Based Mission: The whole game. Bejeweled, the Match-Three game that provides the basis for Candy Crush, has a Time Limit, relying on your speed of hands and how quickly you can spot a move. Candy Crush has a Move Limit for five out of its six types of levels, meaning that even if you know the strategy for the board, winning relies entirely on the candies falling in your favour. It doesn't matter how fast you can spot a match if none of those matches allow an ingredient to fall.
- Made of Explodium: The Wrapped Candies.
- Made of Indestructium:
- Even though they can be destroyed by candies touching them (you can move them too), licorice squares are pretty tough to handle. Striped candies (even from the Striped/Wrapped Candy Combo) are pretty useless against them.
- Except for Magic Mixers, no generator can be destroyed — the glass bubbles that release ingredients/bombs/licorice, and the chocolate generators, are all invulnerable. A purchasable power-up will stop the latter for a few turns, though.
- Match-Three Game
- Mirror World: The Dreamworld is a Dream version of Candy Crush, with the world map flipped horizontally and a new mechanic which can benefit you or screw you over far worse than the Bombs do.
- Nerf: The Wrapped Candy + Striped Candy combo will absorb any licorice around it... but in the iOS/Android versions, it doesn't absorb them and just breaks them, thus making levels like Level 382 much harder.
- Nintendo Hard
- No Fair Cheating: You can use a certain cheat to replenish your lives right away (hint: see the very bottom of this article)... but glitches have been known to happen to people's time counters who tried this.
- No-Sell: Some obstacles are immune to certain candies and combinations:
- Wrapped Candies on top of Ingredients do pretty much absolutely nothing at all.
- Setting off a striped candy will destroy only one licorice swirl in its path; wrapped/striped combos do little better. In some later levels, licorice swirls spawn continuously along a conveyor belt, effectively making it impossible to reach any of the candies behind the conveyor belt with stripes or stripes/wraps.
- If you use a Colorbomb, normally candies hit will break adjacent Meringue Blocks. However, it won't do the same for Cakes or licorice.
- Popcorn are invincible to Cake Bomb explosions, and Jelly Fish won't go anywhere near them (even if there is jelly underneath the popcorn). Even more maddening, they absorb the impact of striped candies and striped/wrapped combos. Popcorn can only be destroyed with special candies or lollipop hammers or by exploding a nearby Magic Mixer.
- Number of the Beast: Level 666 revolves around this. The layout and the blockers are set up to resemble the devil's face, and you have to clear 666 blue candies. Seriously.
- Puzzle Game
- Random Effect Spell: The mystery egg introduced in level 231 (Chocolate Barn) is this. It can turn into beneficial items such as a color bomb, striped candy, wrapped candy, jelly fish, or coconut wheel. However, it can also turn into a 1-5 layered meringue block, chocolate block, licorice, or even a bomb (the counter on the bomb varies, it could even be a 5-turn bomb). There are even reports that in very rare cases, it can turn into the dreaded chocolate generator.
- Schizophrenic Difficulty: You can often find easy levels followed by hard levels, and the other way around. If you visit the Candy Crush Saga wiki and read the page of almost any episode, you can see how much the difficulty jumps up and down.
- Smart Bomb: The two-colorbomb combination clears the entire screen.
- Spiteful A.I.: Unlike a time-limit Match-Three game like Bejeweled, the Move-Limit of Candy Crush means that you rely on the board dropping candies in your favour. People have reported being stuck on levels for weeks before suddenly winning with thousands of points to spare. In fact, you might like to look up "Candy Crush Rigged" on Google. This is how the game wrangles money for boosters out of you:
- In a Time-Based level, +5 seconds candies drop completely randomly. Additionally, when your time runs out (during "Sugar Crush"), +5 candies turn into wrapped candies which detonate immediately and all your other special candies will go off, and potentially make more special candies, which will also go off. This could mean making your quota — if the game feels benevolent enough to let the right candies drop.
- In an Ingredient-Based level, it doesn't matter how many Special-Candy matches you can spot if none of them will allow your ingredients to drop to the bottom.
- In an Order-Based level, Special Candies mean nothing if the right colours don't drop. Candies go from fairly equally dropped to suddenly lacking in one specific colour — always one of your orders. When Special Candy combos are required, the game is suspiciously good at setting off those candies just before you can make the combo yourself. You can also count on cascades setting off special candies before you have a chance to use the special candies to achieve the objective of the level.
- In a Points-Based level, combo drops become much rarer.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Like candy.
- Teleporters and Transporters: You'll start seeing portals in later levels which warp candies from one tile to the other. In the first level they're introduced in, you have to drop ingredients from the first half of the board to the next using these portals.
- Theme Naming:
- The levels are named after candy.
- All of the other games by "King Games", the company responsible for Candy Crush Saga, have a name in the format "Game Name Saga". And they're all puzzle games.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The Sugar Crush. If you have remaining moves, you'll get a bunch of automatic combos, such as Candy Fish and Striped Candies. Unused powerups (Striped/Wrapped/Colorbomb) will go off as well. This can help you get a lot of points, especially in the Timed Mission levels.
- The Swarm: Jelly Fish. Unfortunately, you can't get it for free (unless if you're using the Mystery Candy, win it off a Booster Wheel, or get a Sugar Crush in jelly levels), and the game only gives it to you once early on. These fish will be represented by color tiles and when set off, they will come out and destroy tiles of their corresponding colors. That said, there are some later worlds which feature them prominently, including some levels in which they fall with ordinary candy. Their usefulness has limits, as they do not eat jellies located under popcorns until the popcorns are destroyed.
- The Tetris Effect
- The Walls Are Closing In: Chocolate blocks will feel like this unless if you can destroy them fast. If your move destroyed one, then it won't grow the following move. Later, generators will create more automatically, meaning you can never be fully rid of it. Some Magic Mixers spawn chocolate as well, which if left unchecked can quickly take over the board, as they spawn up to four chocolates at a time and many levels have multiple mixers.
- The Worf Effect:
- Remember earlier levels where Color Bombs were considered instant-win items? Well, later on, a Color Bomb itself (unless if it's an Order level, where Color Bombs are required sometimes) are considered not as effective.
- The powerful Striped/Wrapped candy combo is practically worthless against thick layers of licorice.
- Even the Color Bomb/Striped candy combo, arguably the most powerful combo in the game, isn't safe. It's pretty much a weak move against triple-layer meringue blocks.
- During the levels where you can get Jelly Fish for free, they're pretty much considered this.
- Time Bomb: Introduced in Salty Canyon. If you fail to get rid of certain Bombs in a set amount of moves, the game will automatically end, requiring you to juggle getting rid of the bombs and clearing jellies/getting ingredients down in time.
- Timed Mission: Some levels are these. As the only levels without a move-counter, they can be easier, with literal infinite scores possible on some. There are exceptions, though, particularly where bombs are concerned, since you can't consider the timer in the context of how many moves are remaining in the level.
- Unicorn: There's one in Lollipop Forest.
- Useless Useful Spell: Moonstruck, one of the main gimmicks of the Dreamworld. It's supposed to clear a lot of the board out for you so you can do powerful combinations... but here's the thing... even after moves of balancing the Moon Scale, which can be very tough and annoying... the Moonstruck will clear only one candy if the board doesn't have all six Candies present, and sometimes the Moonstruck expires after one move. Even worse, Moonstruck can work against you in Candy Order levels, as some of the Candies that are on the Moon scale are also the same candies that are required.
- Video Game Tutorial: The first world "Candy Town" is this. Heck, the first five levels basically teach you how to play the game, use striped items, and the fifth level lets you use a Striped/Wrapped Candy combo freely showing you how it works (And one shows you how to use the Colorbomb). The next levels are just simple Jelly levels.
If you're playing this game on your Android or iPhone, there's actually a way to cheat. Just set your clock 2.5-4 hours ahead and the game will give your lives without waiting or paying for them. As for Facebook, if you have a second account, you could just log in that account and get lives back and forth. Or if your device is rooted or jailbroken, just install one of those hacks that lets you get in-app purchases for free.