Thursday, July 18, 2013

Game: Candy Crush Saga... rigged?

How I started:
I started playing this because everyone my circle of influence was playing it. It has become popular to the point where my mom and aunts were also playing. They often get stuck and somehow they make the connection that a software engineer (aka "computer guy") can help with these "puzzles." Of course, I do not help the stereotype by actually beating it in a couple minutes while arguing (in a very nice, respectful way) that they should not make such assumptions.

Gameplay:
The game is pretty easy to learn. It is a rendition of piece swapping games like Bejeweled except in puzzle format. Unlike a puzzle, there is not necessarily a winning scenario kind of like solitaire or mine sweeper. There are some rules that you have to figure out as you go further into the game. Each stage introduces a new challenge with rare exception.

My status:
I am currently past 410 with currently 440 levels. I did not spend any money and will never spend money. I have been stuck on certain levels for several days. I finished the first 100 level within a day or two. The next 200 levels within the next week. Some of the last few levels took several days. I am close to not playing this game again partially because of the reason below and partially because the game is reaching a new level of boredom. 

Rigged?
The game is not rigged as some people states in other blogs. There are strategies you can use to improve your odds of completing the levels, especially the first 200 or so levels. The different boards and obstacles are standard game-play for games. I am ok that this game does not guarantee a winning scenario. In other words, you can hit a streak of bad-luck which makes it impossible to beat the level. 300+ levels, I had to play some levels several times (there is one which actually depended on the right combinations just to get enough points).

What I dislike about the game is that the falling pieces are not proportionally random in my opinion. Especially in the later levels, I have noticed that there are more combinations from falling pieces if you have a special candy within its range which often triggers the candy prematurely. I rarely get combinations if special candies are not present. There seem to be some AI to the chocolate, candy drops, and tornadoes.

There are some glitches that I have not quite pinned down. I think there are some situations where the special candy gets triggered even when not matching in color. It appears to trigger just from falling due to other matching colors in the vicinity. I thought it may be because there is a new match, but I find it unlikely that I would fail to see that every time. Also, this only occurs at certain times that is needed to complete the game. Chocolates and licorice seem to generate with uneven regularity. The latest level introduces whirlwinds that seems to have a particular algorithm to where it moves too. There is an actual bug where the game gets stuck too (particularly when I am doing extremely well).

In conclusion, I think the game is developed to favor certain scenarios to cause higher odds of near failures. Although not impossible, the algorithm does leave some room for a chance to win without making it too obvious. What I do not like about this game is that the appearance of fair chance is not the same as the actual game engine. It does this by making the game fool people with the early games that skills are required. I do not like that the game tricks people's perceptions on the fairness of the game no matter how legal the practice may be. If you are ok with that condition, the game is fun to play and free. 

Bug/Glitch?
Below is an image of Candy Crush Saga glitches. Tornado does not destroy pieces and just gets stuck there. The only options to get out of this is to either end the game using the option at bottom left or refresh the page. This seems to come when I successfully use the pink ring in a productive manner. I feel sorry for those people who purchases power ups and then gets wasted on something like this.

Update 

8/3/2013 - Currently on level 438.
8/11/2013 - 447
8/13/2013 - Completed 455
9/24/2013 - Completed 485; added Need help section
10/15/2013 - Completed 500; stopped playing
http://douglastclee.blogspot.com/2013/10/game-candy-crush-saga-addiction.html



7/13/2014 - Started playing again about a month ago to test out Camstudio, then just continued playing Dreamworld.  D:
8/7/2014 - Added video link

Need help?
I was trying to find an article to see if anyone found how the tornadoes move, but stumbled across this link which I thought some reader's may find helpful.
http://flickrshare.blogspot.com/p/candy-crush-saga.html

Videos

http://youtu.be/BMPIoHGpV7U - Candy Crush Saga 634 with Broken Black Swirly Licorice

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