Farm Heroes Saga is a new Facebook game from the newly-rebranded King, released alongside the recent Papa Pear Saga. Access has been somewhat limited until recently, but the game is now open to all players, and being actively promoted via the front page of Facebook’s App Center.
Like most of King’s other games, Farm Heroes Saga takes very heavy cues from well-established puzzle game mechanics. In this case, it follows the same Bejeweled-like mold as the company’s immensely popular Candy Crush Saga, which is presently being heavily promoted in a variety of different media and topping both the MAU and DAU charts as a result. Farm Heroes Saga is presumably an attempt to ensnare the same 45.5 million (estimated) monthly active users and 15 million (estimated) daily active users who are currently playing Candy Crush Saga on a regular basis — but is releasing an almost-identical game the right way to go about it?
Farm Heroes Saga’s basic gameplay will be immediately familiar to anyone who has played Candy Crush Saga or Bejeweled. Players swap various fruits and vegetables around on a grid in an attempt to make matches of three or more like-colored objects in a horizontal or vertical row. When a match is made, it disappears, causing objects above it to drop down into the space that has been made.
Logo Game is a Facebook game from Canadian developer Media Sense Interactive. It’s available now for anyone to play on the social network, and is presently showing up in the Trending section of the App Center.
Logo Game is a very simple and straightforward game that tasks players with identifying brand logos. In the case of logos which have distinctive text, the words have been removed and only the basic graphic design left behind. In the case of logos which are nothing but text (such as Google), certain letters have been left behind. The player’s job is to identify the logo from the clue given and then type it in using their keyboard — this means they actually have to know what it is rather than hoping they get lucky from a multiple-choice question.
Crush City is a Facebook game from Qublix. It’s been showing activity since January this year, but is currently showing up in the “Trending” section of Facebook’s App Center.
Crush City is a puzzle game in the Diamond Dash mold. That is, it’s a color-matching puzzle game in which players must find groups of like-colored objects that are orthogonally adjacent to one another and then click on them to make them disappear. Rather than adopting the fast-paced “blitz” format of Diamond Dash and many of its imitators, however, Crush City instead takes a linear level-based approach with specific objectives to complete on each stage. Players expend lives on making an attempt at each level, and get them back if they are successful.
6 Numbers is an iOS game from Brainbow. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries additional in-app purchases.
6 Numbers purports to be a “whole new puzzle game about numbers” but in actual fact it’s almost exactly the same as the company’s previous title Brainbow Numbers (formerly Numbers Together, which our sister site Inside Mobile Apps reviewed here) with a few important differences. The main distinguishing factor between the two games is that Brainbow Numbers is a fast-paced competitive multiplayer number puzzle, while 6 Numbers is a much more sedate single-player affair with only very mild competition between friends.
Both 6 Numbers and Brainbow Numbers work in the same way, which is somewhat akin to the “numbers round” in the long-running French game show Des Chiffres et de Lettres, better known to English-speakers in its British incarnation as Countdown. Players are given a target number to attain, and must reach it by using only the six numbers provided up to once each, and the four basic arithmetical operators as many times as they desire. Calculations can be completed in multiple steps by feeding the answer to a previous equation into the next one, so in this way the player can work with a much wider range of possible numbers than the selection of six initially appears to offer. For example, to attain the target number of 505 using the available numbers 9, 100, 5, 3, 2 and 4, the player could multiply 100 by 5 to get 500, then add 3 to 2 to get 5, then add the result of the first equation to the second to get the target number.
Mahjong: The Secret Garden is a Facebook game from Inertia Game Studios. It’s available now to all players on the social network, and is presently showing up as a Trending app on App Center.
Computerized representations of mahjong, or more accurately mahjong/Shanghai solitaire, is a surprisingly under-represented subdivision of the puzzle game category on Facebook, as it has been a popular tabletop game to adapt into standalone casual computer games for many years now. There are a few mahjong solitaire games on Facebook, but none have managed to capture the public’s imagination in the same way as the myriad Bejeweled and Puzzle Bobble clones out there — despite the mechanics of mahjong solitaire being no more complicated than those games.
In mahjong solitaire, mahjong tiles (which are printed with various symbols including Chinese characters) are arranged in an aesthetically-pleasing and/or symbolic formation, often with several layers of tiles overlapping one another. Players must remove tiles from the arrangement two at a time by matching those with the same symbol and value that are “exposed” — in other words, able to move freely from side to side without disturbing other tiles. This typically means matching tiles from the outermost tiles in each layer of the arrangement, and tiles from different layers may be matched so long as they are exposed.
Cook Hero is a Facebook game from RapaZapp Interactive Studios. The game has been showing activity since December of last year, but has recently showed up in the Trending section of Facebook’s App Center.
Cook Hero is a match-three puzzle game in the Bejeweled mold — that is, it primarily involves swapping objects around in order to make horizontal or vertical lines of like-colored objects. In terms of overall game structure and presentation, Cook Hero takes extremely heavy cues from King’s immensely popular Candy Crush Saga — players work their way through a linear series of levels one at a time, and every few levels the objective required to complete a level changes, ranging from scoring a certain number of points to destroying all the blocks of ice in the background of a level. All levels have a limited number of moves in which to achieve their objective, and failing to complete the level before all moves have been used costs the player a life. Lives replenish at the rate of one every half an hour, up to a maximum of five, and can, as usual, be replenished quicker either by paying or begging to friends.
Spot It is a Facebook game from Ravensburger Digital. It’s currently being highlighted by Facebook in the “New Games” section of App Center.
Spot It is a game that challenges players to look at pairs of near-identical images and spot the differences between them. Each pair of images has a particular number of differences to find and can be challenged in one of two different modes. There is also a collection metagame that encourages repeat play, and social competition between friends.
The game opens with an initial tutorial in which the player is tasked with completing a simple pair of images, then the process of purchasing “booster packs” of pictures is explained. Players earn coins with each successfully-completed puzzle, and these coins may be used to purchase the aforementioned booster packs. Each booster pack has a specific theme and contains several randomly-selected images from that theme’s collection — “mixed” packs containing images from all themes are also available for a lower cost. Purchasing a booster is no guarantee that you will obtain unique images, however — any duplicates you acquire go into the “trade” menu and can be exchanged with other players, much like a real-life sticker swap meet. At present a special promotion is running whereby purchasing a single booster pack also gives you an extra free one for gifting to a friend — the extra pack cannot be kept for yourself.
Mittens is a new iOS game from Disney. It’s available now as a $0.99 download from the App Store for iPhone or a separate “HD” version for iPad for $2.99, and carries additional in-app purchases to unlock later levels early — and also one additional in-app purchase for an extra level pack that is not part of the main game.
Mittens is a physics-based puzzler somewhat similar in execution to titles such as Cut The Rope. Players take indirect control of a cat as he attempts to make his way to a perilously-located milk bottle somewhere in the level. Players must navigate the cat by making use of various physics-based objects around the levels, which vary from sunshades that can be closed by removing their supports, to blocks of wood that can be chopped in a specific place by swiping through them with your finger. Some levels feature physics-based elements that interact with one another — for example, chopping a wood block so it falls onto a series of gears will cause it to slide down, hopefully depositing the cat in an advantageous position. Each of the game’s “worlds” are themed around a particular aesthetic, and each introduces new mechanics and hazards to the mix.
Solitaire Arena is a Facebook game from Mavenhut Ltd. It’s been available since October of last year but has been showing strong growth recently, and is presently showing up in the “Trending” section of Facebook’s App Center. The developer also claims it is available for iPad but provides no link, and a cursory search of the App Store doesn’t seem to reveal the existence of a mobile version.
Unlike many other recent Facebook-based solitaire games, which follow the simplistic formula seen in titles such as Fairway Solitaire, Faerie Solitaire and Solitaire Blitz, Solitaire Arena is based on the traditional and well-known Klondike Solitaire game that Windows users have been playing for many years now. The unusual social twist on the formula is that it is played in competition against another player, whereas traditional Klondike is played solo — hence the “solitaire” part of the name.
Klondike Solitaire is a card game where players must gradually build up their four “foundation” piles according to suit and in sequential order, beginning with aces. Cards may be sent to the foundations as soon as they are revealed if there is a place for them — and in fact by default, Solitaire Arena handles this part automatically, though this behavior may be switched off if desired. In order to reveal other cards, players must build up stacks of face-up cards in the main play area (known as the “tableau”) by making descending sequences that alternate in color — for example black king followed by red queen followed by black jack. Empty spaces in the tableau may only be filled with a king, and if moving a card to another stack reveals a face-down card, it is turned face-up and can be used immediately. If there are no available moves, the player draws a card from a draw deck in the corner of the screen and may use this if possible. When the draw deck is exhausted, it is reshuffled and may be drawn from again. The player scores one point for each card they send to the foundations, with an additional bonus point per card if their opponent has not yet sent that card to their foundations. The on-screen play area is mostly taken up by the player’s tableau and foundations, but the opponent’s foundations and score may be seen in the corner of the screen so the player may keep an eye on their relative performance.
Papa Pear Saga is a new Facebook release from King, currently in open beta and available for everyone to play on the social network. The new game’s launch coincides with King’s 10-year anniversary and rebranding from King.com to just King. It’s also set to hit iOS and Android mobile devices “soon.”
Papa Pear Saga is a new take on King’s previous Web-based game Papa Pear, itself inspired by Japanese pachinko mechanics. The game also has more than a few similarities to PopCap’s popular casual game Peggle, and this is firmly in keeping with King’s track record of taking well-established, familiar casual game mechanics (match-3 in Candy Crush Saga, bubble shooting in Bubble Witch Saga and so on) and putting their own twist on them. Adopting this approach rather than creating completely original, potentially complex mechanics gives King’s games a strong sense of “pick up and play” immediacy which has doubtless contributed considerably to the strong success of titles such as Candy Crush Saga, which is currently the top game on Facebook.
The basic mechanics of Papa Pear Saga involve aiming a cannon at the top of the screen using the mouse, then firing out objects (here crash helmet-wearing pears) which subsequently bounce off an arrangement of pegs on their way down the screen. The bottom of the screen houses several buckets, and dropping the pears into the buckets scores points, as does bouncing off pegs. Other bonuses are provided for special moves such as lots of bounces in rapid succession or eliminating all of a particular type of peg off the screen, and occasionally special pegs appear that confer benefits ranging from increasing the score multiplier to making the bouncing pears increase in size. In a slight twist on Peggle’s formula, it’s possible to fire up to three pears at once instead of just one, and certain special pegs cause additional pears to appear.