Status: Reached the pay point; stopped.
Most Intriguing Idea: Using match-three gameplay as the basis for a light puzzler
Best Design Decision: Using row/column clearing as the base special
Worst Design Decision: Combining random boards and drops with puzzles
Candy Crush Saga riffs on its basic match-three gameplay with some light puzzles that require the player to remove “jelly” from certain spots by making matches inside them, eliminate “frosting” obstacles by making matches next to them, or to move special pieces down the board to the bottom. Challenge is added by putting gaps on the board that pieces and special moves may cross but matches may not, and by traditional means such as move limits or timers. However, the starting layout and all the drops are random, which makes many of the challenges extremely dependent on luck, especially when frosting or unusual layouts are involved. No quantity of good judgment is sufficient to ensure success on certain boards within the move limit.
As such, Candy Crush Saga is a fundamentally broken game, and it works around its brokenness by allowing players to pay real money for additional turns, powerups, or faster tries at a puzzle. By creating challenges that test the player’s luck while pretending to test the player’s skill, it encourages em to buy extra moves or more lives out of sheer frustration, rather than enjoyment. Candy Crush Saga generates player distress and leverages that for monetization purposes. It is exploitative and should be avoided.