Part of the popularity of King’s games is that they synchronise your progress across Facebook, mobile and tablet. This means that even if you only have a few minutes to play you can continue where you left off and make progress. No matter where you go it’s easy to find someone sat tapping away at their most popular title – Candy Crush Saga.
Now King have brought Farm Heroes Saga to mobile and tablet devices giving you something else to do while you wait for your Candy Crush lives to replenish. This latest game is another take at the popular match-3 genre which means it will be competing directly with Candy Crush.
The setup is just like their other games with a large map showing the journey ahead of you and how well your friends are doing. To progress along the journey you need to tackle and beat the many puzzle stages along the way. Again you have a finite amount of lives that reduce each time you fail. You can trade lives with your Facebook friends who play the game or if you’re impatient you can always pay real cash for more as well.
At first glance Farm Heroes Saga is very similar to Candy Crush. There’s a new farm inspired setting that means you’ll be swapping fruit, vegetables, water and sunlight instead of sweets. The game starts out simple enough in order to get you hooked. Most of the time you’re playing to harvest a specified quota of items. These start out small but gradually get tougher to meet.
The further you progress the more new elements are added to the game. You’ll start to see things like flowers that you need to grow but matching items around them. There’s also eggs that must be matched to hatch chicks and ice that can only be thawed by matching the frozen item with the same items.
As things become more difficult you get access to special booster items to help you. Initially you can try them out for free but before long you’ll find yourself hopelessly stuck. It’s here where you must decide if you’re happy to pay for boost items or if you’ll try and progress without them. There’s a certain satisfaction in beating a level you’ve been stuck on for days. One thing we weren’t keen on is that if you fail you’re presented with one of the cartoon animals crying. It kind of makes you feel guilty and want to buy some extra moves to see them happy again.
There’s a neat twist to the matching of items that grants bonuses on surrounding items. It’s essential to get a grasp of how this mechanic works in order to maximise the items you harvest. If you don’t then it becomes difficult to meet your quotas.
If you meet the requirements of a stage and still have moves left to play then Hero mode is activated. This allows you to really boost your score for bragging rights by throwing out increasing bonuses to the items. Hitting Hero mode is really addictive and makes you feel great thanks to a change in music and extra visual effects that take place.
In addition to the increasing difficulty the game also has some boss stages where matching the required items reduces a bosses health bar. These can be tricky but you have the option of trading in magic beans that you have collected to reduce the difficulty. Other levels reward you with an animal based on how well you do.
Farm Heroes Saga is another excellent game from King and probably their best since Candy Crush Saga. If you’re already a fan of their games or other match-3 titles then there are hours of fun to be had here. The microtransactions are optional but the game does get mighty tough later on if you avoid them. It’s a perfect game for short play sessions and a great way to pass the time while waiting for more lives in their other games.