As if we need more candy at this time of year

First impressions 

For a time back there, I was a definite Candy Crush Saga addict. I think I single-handedly led King.com Limited (its creator) to launch its ultimately disappointing IPO on the stock exchange. 

My email inbox was filled with invoices from iTunes, thanking me for my list of $0.99 App Store purchases, representing the extra lives, lollipops, and special candies I had purchased to avoid the irritation of not being able to get past a certain level. 

When I learned that putting forward the clock on my iPad would get me more lives without having to wait for them to replenish, or buy them, I was most gleeful … until the day that I looked at my calendar app, and saw that, according to my iPad, it was Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. At that exact moment, I officially turned my back on my sweet obsession, and went in search of apps with no crazy in-app purchases. 

You may, therefore, wonder why, when I saw the latest Candy Crush Saga come down the App Store pike, I decided to download it. In my defense, it was free (like the original, I’ll grant you), and at least I was starting at Level One yet again, so it would be a while before things got so difficult that I’d become stuck. 

I took the leap. Gimme a break. 

How it works 

If you’ve been living on a deserted island, or rotting in a Turkish jail, perhaps you’re unfamiliar with Candy Crush, but the odds are good that most people have tried it at least once, and so Candy Crush Soda Saga opens with little instructional fanfare, jumping right into its sugary world with advice on how to pop all the soda bottles in the game area. 

The same bonkers kind of music plays in the background, along with an enthusiastic narrator that congratulates you on your “juicy” moves, whenever you make them. It’s all very Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets A Clockwork Orange. 

Every time you pop a soda bottle, a cyber concoction resembling Crush (what a coinkidink) grape soda starts to rise up your screen. Get it to the top before you run out of moves (and gain at least one star) and you’re on to the next level. 

You’ll recognize the colored fish from the original game, along with the striped candy et al, but there are some new additions and combinations to be discovered next to the tried and trues, with lots of new obstacles to tackle. It won’t be long before you’re in the levels where you have to free the gummy bears, which are hiding behind various pieces of candy, and can only be released if you make enough matches in time. 

Just as in the first Candy Crush Saga, there is an adorable little girl who looks terribly happy and excited when you complete the level, and an absolute wreck when you don’t make the grade. It’s like you took her lollipop away, you horrible person. You’ll do better next time, you think, and that’s when the rest of the world fades away, and it’s just you, your iPad and Candy Crush Soda Saga. 

Of course, there are in-app purchases, this time disguised as “Gold Bars.” You can purchase various packages of those bars, starting at $0.99 for the “XS” package, all the way up to $39.99 for the “XL” package if you’re absolutely insane. You have been warned …. 

When I played it 

I’d love to say that I had built up a resistance to the sweet siren song of all things Candy Crush after choosing between continuing to play the original app and my house going into foreclosure, but alas, this was not the case. It wasn’t long before I was flying through the first levels with the excitement of a child, soothed by the voice of that narrator, and enjoying the satisfying sounds of candy disappearing from the board. It could just be my repressed memory talking, but I’d swear it didn’t get this difficult this quickly the last time I played. They set you up with 50 gold bars to start, but I predict it won’t be long before you’re dipping into your stash, and before you know it, your eyes will turn to your iTunes account. 

I’m beginning to realize that Candy Crush isn’t very different from the slot machines in Vegas. 

Final thoughts 

Is it a fun app to play? Absolutely! These guys know what they’re doing. It’s got all the color, sounds and gameplay that anyone could want, which is why the first one was so darn popular, and this sequel has been created. I really can’t fault it, beyond the fact that I’m not sure what’s more damaging to one’s health – relentlessly playing this game, or eating the physical manifestation of all the candy on every screen. 

I’ll just say this – if you’re terrified of your device’s battery failing because you’ll have to take a break from Candy Crush Soda Saga, check yourself into rehab. 

Pros: 

Free. Fun. Colorful. Lots of levels. 

Cons: 

Nuts addictive. In-app purchases galore. 

Candy Crush Soda Saga

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Cost: Free (with in-app purchases)
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Seller: King.com Limited

  • Devices: iOS and Android

  • Rating: E for Everyone 
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I’m sure we all remember the magic lollipop from the original Candy Crush Saga.

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Download it at your peril.

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Release all the gummy bears to move on to the next level.

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Time to start the Candy Crush Soda Saga adventure.