Monday October 20 saw King.com’s worldwide Facebook release of its latest match-3 game Candy Crush Soda Saga, the younger-sister sequel to its popular ongoing game Candy Crush Saga. It had already been on limited mobile release for several months in Europe; however the application package for android devices could be found on the web via a simple Google search. It can soon be installed on mobile devices through Google Play Store and iTunes. The current version of Candy Crush Soda Saga is v1.29.26 and has 135 levels.
I downloaded the android app package of Candy Crush Soda Saga about a month or so ago, and checked out the files stored within it. This game contains many of the original features, concepts and elements as original CCS, but is different enough from CCS as to hold your interest. The new sound effects are cool. And there are new voice exclamations, such as “Juicy” and “Sodalicious,” for example. As nice as the music is in CCS, the Soda Saga music is refreshing, soothing and less annoying when repeated than a couple of pieces in CCS that played over and over again.
The structuring of both games is also similar. You have levels within named episodes, and episodes within worlds. Candy Town is the name of the first episode in both games, but after that the names differ. You also get 5 lives at a time, and the in-game features for getting to the next episode and/or help from Facebook friends is similar.
The main characters are different in this game, although a few of the characters appear in both games. In CCS, the little girl was Tiffi and her dad Mr. Toffee introduced the tutorials and goals in each level. In Soda Saga, Tiffi is gone (although she’s mentioned by other characters in the cutscenes) and so is Mr. Toffee and dark-haired Kimmi takes Tiffi’s place. Mr. Yeti is more prominent in this game than he was in CCS, as he now introduces the tutorials. There is also an elephant which shows you the goal of each level. What was the Yeti Shop in CCS is now the Soda Pop Shop for purchasing boosters and other items.
Most of the candies are the same, except with a few differences. A new diamond-shaped cyan candy is introduced. Besides the familiar dark chocolate in CCS, there is now a 2-layered white chocolate that looks scrumptious enough to eat. There is a fish candy similar to the one in CCS, except it’s not a jellyfish…it will eliminate one obstacle of any type on the board to help you reach your goal; for example, it may remove one licorice cage covering a piece of candy, or it might remove one piece of chocolate. You can make a fish candy by matching 4 candies of the same color in a square. There are layered obstacles like cupcakes, bubblegum and honey squares, among others. The special candies from CCS like color bombs, striped and wrapped candies are present and do the same thing in both games. Now there is a new one called a coloring candy…match 7 of them in a t-form and it makes a candy which, when matched with any one around it, will turn a whole bunch of candies on the board into that color. Here is an example of that I capped and highlighted:
And the fish…make as many of these as you can. So far, I’ve found the fish candy can be your best friend in this game.
The levels are challenging, but in a different way. A voice comes on to tell you what type of level you’ll be playing. There are 4 types of levels so far….
SODA LEVEL: Collect or “pop” one or more soda bottles They can be anywhere on the board. In this screen from level 114, there are 3 orange ones in licorice cages and a cyan one at the bottom right of the board. Since 11 are required to be collected in 30 moves, more bottles will drop down as you clear candies from the board.
FROSTING LEVEL: This is similar to a Jelly level in CCS, except that you’re breaking blocks of ice to release one or more green gummi bears trapped underneath. The bears may be partially or completely hidden, and may be of different sizes. In this screenshot from level 6, you can see parts of the 3 bears you need to release in 20 moves. Blocks of ice may be one or two layers.
BUBBLE LEVEL: In this type of level, you must save a pink bear trapped in a soda bubble at the bottom of the board. You must match candies and soda bottles above the bear, eventually floating the bear above the string of candies near the top to “save” the bears within the specified number of moves. In this screenshot from level 9, you must save 3 bears within 20 moves. This is similar to CCS’s Ingredients level, except in reverse…you’re moving from bottom to top in Soda Saga, and the second bear doesn’t appear until you’ve saved the first one. So far, I’ve found the Bubble level to be the most challenging type. In some of these levels, you may have more than one board as the bears float upward. It’s not as easy as it looks.
CHOCOLATE LEVEL: In these levels, you need to clear or “eat” all the chocolate on the board within a specified number of moves. The chocolate may be dark or white. Here are two screenshots of chocolate levels. The dark chocolate in level 31 can be cleared easily. The white chocolate in level 128 with the “C” are two-layered, remove the first “C” layer and it looks like the other flatter ones. All the white chocolate in this level are blocked by single- and double-layered honey squares.
:) :) And now for some GOOD NEWS! :) :) Unlike CCS, there are no timed levels, at least so far. Also, you don’t need to score a minimum number of points to complete a level. Your goal is only to fulfill the order (eat chocolate, free bears, etc.), and the number of points you get during level play is only to determine the number of stars you earn on completion of that level. This is a big improvement over CCS where you could fail a level, even though you fulfilled the required order (especially in Ingredients levels), because you didn’t get the minimum number of points needed to earn 1 star.
After you complete the goal of any level in Soda Saga, you get an exclamation over a bubbling screen of grape soda:
There are a few style and layout differences between the mobile and Facebook versions of Candy Crush Soda Saga. For example, when you complete a goal, the congratulations screens are different styles. The font used in the mobile version is a typewriter font on a pink background, and the Facebook version uses the candy-style font on a tan background. These differences are minor and don’t affect actual gameplay.
NOTE FOR MOBILE “STANDALONE” PLAYERS: I started playing this as a standalone on my android phone, not connected to Facebook. When the game is installed, you get 50 free gold bars to use however you want in the game. After I completed level 45, which was the end of an episode, and clicked a graphic to progress further, a screen popped up with options to either use gold bars or connect to Facebook and ask friends to help me get to the next episode (compare to tickets in CCS). There was no option given for me to play mystery quests or an equivalent thereof in this game like there is in CCS, so if you want to continue playing past level 45 on your mobile device, you’re forced to connect to Facebook. King has been slowly doing that lately with their games, steering players away from standalone play once they get to a certain point in the game.
I think even seasoned CCS players will like Soda Saga. It has a positive, fresh approach in its challenges, graphics and sound. As much as I love CCS and always will, this game looks to be way cooler in many aspects. :)