Overall Score 77%
I like sweets. I like lots of sweets. Fudge, mints, chocolate (mmm!), boiled sweets, jelly babies, chocolate, Turkish delight, sours, wine gums, chocolate, coconut ice, caramel, lollipops, chocolate, nougat, toffees and my favourite, chocolate. So naturally I started salivating at the prospect of a puzzle game involving them.
Candy Cruncher involves lots of sweets of different kinds. They fill a grid with one empty space, which you use to move sweets in a similar fashion to those sliding picture puzzles. Your task is to collect these delicious foodstuffs by lining up full rows or columns of the same sweet. Collect enough lines before the timer runs out to proceed to the next level.
It's a simple game - short but sweet, you might say. Controls can be both mouse (click on a sweet to move it, or a row/column of sweets, into the space) and arrow keys (where you can choose whether you move the space or the sweets around it). As levels go up new elements are introduced, such as extra sweet types or the immovable Black Jellybean!
Graphics are bright and colourful. Everything is clear and large enough to see (though I lost the mouse cursor a couple of times against the background menus). One slight downer here is the messages that say "click to continue" - you need to click on the words themselves (which isn't clear). This is also annoying if you prefer to use the keyboard!
We are treated to an entire pick'n'mix of sound effects. Crunches as sweets are cleared, a fun "boing" sound when trying to move a black jellybean and a plethora of supporting sounds (including a bloke shouting "one more to go!" when you're about to clear a level). Sadly there is but one (high quality) constantly looping music track - it makes me think of Harry Potter in a sweetshop - though the action is usually so fast paced that it never gets the chance to distract.
Candy Cruncher is very playable. Thought has been given to controls and you can play with mouse or keyboard - both have advantages over the other. Some people feel the keys should move the space while others feel they should move sweets into the space, so Candy Cruncher offers you the choice. New features are introduced gradually.
The difficulty curve, however, is exponential. I am now at a point (level 8-10, I believe) where the timer for the level runs out rather too fast for me. This timer is the major cause for frustration - it starts off generous but becomes impossibly strict. To see how ridiculous it can really become, try starting on level 22.
Candy Cruncher is a fun and colourful distraction for a while but lacks staying power in the long term. Well presented and enjoyable at first but, like any amount of candy, too much at once can disagree with you. Consume in moderation for maximum enjoyment.
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