Candy Crush Saga is a free-to-play match-three puzzle video game released by King on April 12, 2012, for Facebook; other versions for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows 10 followed. It is a variation of their browser game Candy Crush.
In the game, players complete levels by swapping colored pieces of candy on a game board to make a match of three or more of the same color, eliminating those candies from the board and replacing them with new ones, which could potentially create further matches. Matches of four or more candies create unique candies that act as power-ups with larger board-clearing abilities. Boards have various goals that must be completed within a fixed number of moves or limited amount of time, such as a certain score or collecting a specific number of a type of candy.
Candy Crush Saga is a “match three” game, where the core gameplay is based on swapping two adjacent candies among several on the gameboard as to make a row or column of at least 3 matching-colored candies. On this match, the matched candies are removed from the board, and candies above them fall into the empty spaces, with new candies appearing from the top of the board. This may create a new matched set of candies, which is automatically cleared in the same manner. The player scores points for these matches and gains progressively more points for chain reactions. Additionally, creating matches of four or more candies will create a special candy that, when matched, can clear a row, column, or other section of the board.
The game is split among many levels, which must be completed in sequence. Each level poses a different challenge to the user, such as achieving a minimum score in a fixed number of moves or clearing candies in a fixed number of moves to bring special ingredients to the bottom of the board. Boards have a number of different configurations and may include special spaces that have their own unique rules, such as spaces covered with jelly that must be cleared by making a match on that space. If the player meets the level’s goal, they will be given from one to three stars based on their score and can proceed onto the next level. Otherwise, they will lose one life and must try again. If the player runs out of lives, they have to wait for some period of real-world time while their lives regenerate before attempting the level again. Completed levels can be replayed if desired.
The game has been expanded with a number of episodes, adding a few dozen new levels per episode as well as new gameplay mechanics. Each episode has 15 levels of gameplay. In the game’s first major expansion, the game added a separate set of levels in the Dreamworld. While levels had the same goals, the players had to balance matches of candies of two randomly selected colors to avoid disrupting the sleeping Odus the Owl; if they failed, the level had to be repeated. If they collected enough matched candies to fill a meter, the game would automatically activate the Moon Struck power: the board was cleared of all candies of those two colors, and the player gained a few turns of additional matches without needing to balance colors. After this, Odus returned to sleeping and two new colors were randomly selected for the balance. This continued until the player completed the level or ran out of turns as in the main game. Dreamworld levels used a different set of lives from the main game, allowing the player to switch back and forth between these modes. The Dreamworld is no longer accessible.