Candy Blast Mania
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Considering the cash cow that Candy Crush Saga has become, we figured it wouldn't be long until the knock-offs showed up. With this in mind, here's TeamLava's Candy Blast Mania, a game that tries to deliver its own take on King's puzzle juggernaut.
The concept is the same for the most part. In each of the game's 100+ levels, you receive specific goals to complete. They mostly involve candy collecting, though the count grows higher as stages go on, with more difficult level designs. Challenges also appear once you beat enough stages, letting you unlock gems and power-ups.
There are some decent tweaks to the Candy Crush formula. The Gummy Bear King boss battles, for example, add a competitive twist to the proceedings, as you attempt to score as many matches as possible before he floods the board with jawbreakers, which take time to crack. In addition, some of the power-ups are innovative, such as power squares that, when lined up correctly, clear the screen in a hurry with a good chain reaction. It's a real treat - no pun intended - watching dozens of candy pieces disappear.
Despite these additions, Candy Blast Mania is barely original. The match-three gameplay is strikingly familiar to Candy Crush, and its freemium system is equally frustrating, requiring payment or waiting for charges for additional turns and gems to purchase continues and power-ups. The wait time is even longer than Crush's, with approximately an hour to get one whole charge back. Eventually, you'll need to put down some cash if you become addicted.
Another thing copied from Candy Crush is the Facebook integration. You can sign in to your account and get a gem bonus, then see how you fare against other players through interactive leaderboards. It's hardly groundbreaking, but it's a pretty good feature if you've got friends playing the game.
Candy Blast Mania also uses a cute presentation to attract players of all ages. Unfortunately, the graphics are a bit over the top, whether it's your female character cheering you on with every match, or her candy-flavored dog waving its tail right in the middle of the stage.
Finally, the music comes up short. Although it's a lighthearted collection of tunes, the soundtrack becomes annoying over time, to the point where you'll shut it off completely.
Candy Blast Mania rips off a lot of Crush's better assets, and the freemium model is bound to frustrate. That said, it's still worth checking out, especially for its power-ups and boss battles. Besides, it's nice to have something to play while you wait for turns in Candy Crush Saga.
Download Candy Blast Mania: iOS
What's Hot:Classic match-three gameplay, challenging puzzles, boss battles mix things up, free-to-play (at first), good Facebook integration.
What's Not:Obvious rip-off of Candy Crush Saga despite a few minor changes, eventually you'll have to pay or wait for charges and extra gems, graphics are too cute for their own good, music might get on your nerves.