Welcome to a new Flip the Media series, where we take a look at the apps that make us go…whaaaaat? (For a variety of reasons.)
To kick off the new series, Candy Crush Saga, the “it” game that everyone is playing, or talking about playing, or know someone who is playing.
Don’t get me wrong, Candy Crush is a fun game with beautiful graphics. There are a lot of rave reviews of the game and for good reason, the game is addictive, well designed and follows a very tried and true puzzle game style that is almost always a hit. Some people are very fierce in their love of this game and it has over 19 million fans on Facebook. I am in no way saying it isn’t a good game, it is just this feeling of something kind of insidious lurking under the cute surface. Please don’t beat me up for pointing out the elephant in the app!
For those of you who haven’t played—the game play is similar to Bejeweled with all the matching options, line up three or more. There is an interesting puzzle aspect to it as most of the levels you are not restricted by time, but instead have to accomplish certain goals in a specific number of moves. Clear the jelly, obtain all the cherries, there are mission specifics in each level which brings a variety to the dynamics that help increase the longevity of game play. Along with moving the delightfully colored little candies around to blast them or to turn them into special powered candies then blasting even bigger groups of treats, you will find yourself unlocking all these special boosters.
When I saw this I thought “YAY! BOOSTERS!” with that special little feeling of butt kicking you get when you unlock an achievement in a game. This lasted until I tried to actually use the boosters. That delightful “5 more moves” booster? Costs $0.99 every time you use it. No, not just to buy it outright to always get to use it in the game…every time you use it. You want to use that pretty little lollipop to bash some meddlesome candy out of the way to help you beat the level? Yeah you might be the gaming genius that unlocked the booster but that will be $1.99, please. Every. Time. There is even one booster that allows you to do something, but only after you have payed $39.99.
What the? What?!? Well, at least the really expensive one apparently is one that you get to keep through all the levels. I don’t know about you but if I am going to be spending forty bucks on something I want more than the capability to turn candies in a game on my phone into megabombs.
So don’t buy the boosters, right? Just keep playing? Well, apparently the further along you get the more impossible this becomes. I have read many reviews where the writers talk about how past a certain level you need these boosters (though for some reason many of these writers fail to mention the cost issue.)
The temptation to just spend a buck to finish a level after you have been beating your head against a level in the game for days is tempting and many people apparently do this as Candy Crush is an immensely popular and profitable game. I can’t help but feel a that creeping sensation in my wallet though that somehow this game is trying to sneak one by me. Maybe it is just me but I really can’t feel all fluffy bunny about the sneaky in-game salesmanship of Candy Crush Saga.
So, what “free to play” game apps are you playing?