Candy Crush Saga iOS review

Candy Crush Saga iOS reviewTake a look at the top free apps on the App Store and you’ll see Candy Crush Saga riding high. It’s pretty popular, man. Now take a look at the highest grossing apps, and right at the top is – you guessed it – Candy Crush Saga.

See, Candy Crush Saga is nothing short of a master-class in how to milk money from the smartphone gaming masses. But that's not to say it's bad.

On paper, Candy Crush Saga is nothing special, a same-old brightly coloured match-three game with power-ups wiping out entire columns and rows and colours and the like. Further combining those power-ups, you can remove seriously large areas of candy in one go. That much is entirely familiar.

Candy Crush Saga’s genius (evil genius, that is) is in its level structure, offering a sense of progression instead of plain old high scores; there’s arguably a ‘point’; something to aim for; “What level are you on?”

That’s what keeps players coming back, I suspect: the notion that there’s something beyond a particularly troublesome level. ‘Heck, if my girlfriend can do it, so can I!’ Candy Crush Saga is relentlessly moreish.

In order to progress, Candy Crush Saga tasks you – more often than not – with destroying the jelly that encases various pieces of candy. A couple of matches encompassing said jelly usually does the trick.

There are variations on the task-based theme, too, with some Candy Crush Saga levels asking you to reach a particular score, or guide ingredients to the bottom of the playing area.

In any case, you’ll all-too-often find that you juuuust run out of moves before accomplishing the task at hand. Gah!

Candy Crush Saga iOS review

But fear not; Candy Crush Saga’s developer Limited will give you five extra moves - five crucial extra moves – in order to reach your goal. All it asks for in return is 69p. Why I oughta…

If you’d rather keep your wallet in your pocket, you can simply retry, with the caveat that you have just five lives to play with; fives lives that regenerate at the painfully slow rate of one every thirty minutes.

Of course, if you’d rather not wait, you can top up your lives by paying – again – 69p.

Yes, everything in Candy Crush Saga, as far as “freemium” (free app with heavy reliance on in-game content) goes, is balanced to perfection. And I mean that in both a positive and negative way. I think.

Candy Crush Saga is really quite difficult, and it’s incredibly tempting to fork out 69p for five extra moves or lives when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But as with all fair and reasonable freemium games, Candy Crush Saga is really a test of patience. Ultimately, you don’t need to buy those extra moves to finish the level; you don’t need to pay 69p to replenish your lives. Just chill and it’ll happen.

It is frustrating that there isn’t a paid version available for, say, I dunno, £1.99? But it’s a sign of the times, I guess. There’s more money to be made this way, and that’s just how it is. Heck, Candy Crush Saga isn’t the first freemium game, and it won’t be the last. And if you don’t like it, don’t play it.

Also, the frustration is arguably a sign of just how good Candy Crush Saga is. We’ve seen scores of games in the match-three genre, but somehow Candy Crush Saga has managed to lure in millions – literally tens of millions – of players. It must be doing something right.


  • Brutally moreish (I hate you, Candy Crush Saga)
  • Over 300 levels
  • Sweet power-ups


  • The freemium stuff
  • Not much in the way of skill; pretty random
  • Seriously addictive

Summary: Plenty has been said about Candy Crush Saga’s freemium element (there’s even a disclaimer on the App Store description), but behind it all is a rather fantastic match-three game.

Developer: Limited

Price: free @ App Store (and Google Play)

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Candy Crush Saga iOS review

Read more about: Apple iPad miniApple iPhone 5iOSApple iPad 2Apple iPad 3Apple iPad 4Apple iPhone 3GSApple iPhone 4Apple iPhone 4S

Add a comment

dazza1011  Apr. 23, 2013 at 18:30

you could also alter the clock on the ipad/phone by moving forward a few hours gets your lives back however put back to normal before bed so will be back to 5 lives by morning

krogothnx  Apr. 23, 2013 at 18:31

when i was playing this a while ago, i found that you only get 30 or 40 something levels until you either HAVE to pay or bug people on facebook to get access to more levels.

uninstalled it on the spot and won't touch another product they make.

kas786  Apr. 23, 2013 at 19:13

Has the reviewer actually played this game? Up to lvl 36 its a well developed game. Yes you don't need to buy any lives & moving the clock fwd does work (but then when you reset it back the game learns you've done this so extends the time till the next life - but who cares when you can keep moving the lock fwd for more & more lives). You don't need to purchase anything up to lvl 36 after which you have to pay 69p or as krogothnx stated you've got to pester your f/book mates (if you're not on f/book you HAVE to pay 69p) to get tickets

NO other freemium app i've played is as bad as this game is for forcing players to pay money to get further. Most other freemium apps allow you to progress to the end albeit with more time spent on the game than not paying.

As a result would rate this game much lower than 4/5. IF a user could progress to the end without payment of any kind this would be a much better game. Shame the developers are even greedier than other freemium developers, just hope this doesn't set a precedent.

lcurdie / MOD  Apr. 23, 2013 at 20:12

Has the reviewer actually played this game?

Indeed I have! :p But after a frankly embarrassing amount of time playing, I remain stuck in the early thirties. I've spent what feels like hours on some levels, stubbornly refusing to pay for extra moves.

As such, I hadn't anticipated the Level 36 stick-up. The App Store simply warns: "Please note Candy Crush Saga is completely free to play but some in-game items such as extra moves or lives will require payment."

A little further investigation suggests you can play "mystery games" in order to access the next set of levels. Hmm...

EDIT: As of version 1.0.10: "Nothing can stop you now! Just play and complete three extra, fun-filled levels to get to the next episode!"

Let me keep playing and I'll get back to you with a follow-up rant ;) has absolutely nailed the freemium thing (I've heard Candy Crush Saga compared to crack); I'm partly impressed, but partly left feeling a tad nauseous.

moonmonkey  Apr. 23, 2013 at 21:29

I am a fan. I'm on level 136 and haven't paid a penny. I just have friends on Facebook...

JanSt / MOD  Apr. 24, 2013 at 10:43

Freemium and Facebook... 2 of the 3 vital Fs...

lcurdie / MOD  Apr. 24, 2013 at 12:19

Freemium and Facebook... 2 of the 3 vital Fs...

The third being... fffootball?

JanSt / MOD  Apr. 24, 2013 at 12:20

Freemium and Facebook... 2 of the 3 vital Fs...

The third being... fffootball?
No, Freud, Siegmund FFFreud :p

Wanza  Jul. 3, 2013 at 00:36

Y when I updated on my iPad mini it took all my lives? I had over 144!!!!that sucks.

JanSt / MOD  Jul. 3, 2013 at 00:57

You need to sync your games progress with iCloud


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