Generally speaking, I don’t like mobile games, and for the most part, I hate the free-to-play model. For all intents and purposes, I should despise Candy Crush and its puzzle based brethren, but alas, I do not. While I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I love Candy Crush or its equally addictive compatriot, Farm Heroes Saga, I would certainly go as far as to say that they represent two of my favourite puzzle games in recent memory, and despite what I tell myself, are without question, two of the games that I have spent the most time with over the last year or so.
Before I go any further though, I’d like to stress one thing – I play both of these games exclusively on the toilet – exclusively on the toilet in work to be exact. I don’t play them on the bus, on the couch, not even on my own porcelain throne. Nope, these two games have become synonymous with my almost unerringly consistent 10am bowel movement (too much info?). Anyway, the point is, these aren’t the kind of games I would spend genuine free time on, but as a time waster, both of these do a more than admirable job.
I’m sure that extended play would see me hit a pay wall of some type and the inevitable frustration that comes with them, but as its stands, as games played out in 3 to 10 minute intervals (again, too much info?), both Candy Crush and Farm Hero represent enjoyable, addictive and well-made video games, ones that, despite the array of other games on my phone, are home to nearly all of my toilet based gaming attention.
Sure, extended play would inevitably reveal them for the money grabbing chores that they can be (although they are far from alone in that respect), but still, underneath the pay-to-play model that serves them so well (financially speaking of course) are really rather brilliant puzzle games, games that, if played in short bursts, are not only free, but offer an all but never ending stream of content.
They’re structure ensures that they will never be remembered with the kind of fondness that games such as Tetris of Columns are (the latter might be just me), but these are games that are certainly deserving of a little more respect than they are usually offered. You might well hate the play-to-play model at the heart of their design, but the core gameplay is perfectly pitched puzzle fun. Shit, there’s a reason that people have to delete this game off their phone and iPad’s. Flappy Bird may have proved that any old crap can hit big on the current mobile platform, but Candy Crush, that’s a game that has stood the test of time, the kind of game people are still playing long after the internet’s collective gaze has moved on.
They’re far from perfect then, and certainly pay the price (no pun intended) for their commitment to the free-to-play model, but remove the pay structure, forget about their reputation and what you have left are two fine example of modern puzzle gaming done right.
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