King is aiming for a sweet hat trick with the upcoming release of its third Candy Crush game, coming to Android and iOS this week. Candy Crush Jelly Saga will once again be free to play, and offer a twist on the match-three puzzle game formula that’s proven a hit with mobile gamers.
Players accustomed to the original Candy Crush Saga or its follow-up, Candy Crush Soda Saga will find the new game familiar but with enough new features to warrant a download. Levels will also offer new challenges, rather than simply clearing candy or hitting high scores.
The biggest change players will notice early on is that some game grids have been “exploded”, seemingly providing no way to actually make matches. It’s actually a way to introduce new tactics, particularly around the new jelly theme. Making select matches over the purple gel spreads it over clean areas, with stages completed by completely covering the map. Some levels are multi-stage, with a move limit to fill several screens’ worth of candy grids with jelly.
Other types of matches, such as forming a 2×2 square, produce power-ups, such as the returning fish, which spread the jelly to un-attached areas. New power-ups and boosters are also introduced.
Jelly-spreading also factors into the new Boss Mode. As you progress through the newest region of the Candy Kingdom which now, rather beautifully, stretches out into the distance rather than presenting as a flat, top-down map you’ll encounter the Jelly Queen. Battles see you taking turns to make matches, with victory coming from gaining the most territory. It’s a nice, competitive twist on the usual Candy Crush experience, though sadly there are no signs of actual multiplayer against human opponents.
The last new mode features “Pufflers”, Candy Crush’s answer to those fluffy marshmallow sweets. The worm-like puffler creatures hide under icing, and must be revealed by making matches over them. If they’re not fully uncovered though, they’ll move around the map. A similar boss mode sees you taking turns to find the pufflers, with more icing added to the board after each turn.
There’s even a bit of a story to it Jelly Saga follows “a young, adventurous yeti girl named Jenny”, defeating the Jelly Queen and her minions while travelling to visit her Uncle Yeti. The game launches with 120 levels, with King planning regular roll-outs of new levels.
Jelly Saga is the first major release from King since its acquisition by Activision for $5.9bn. It will be available on smartphones starting today.