Orphans and Checkerboarding | Pet Rescue Saga

On many levels in Pet Rescue Saga, the overall goal is to bring something (usually pets, naturally) to the bottom of the screen or level. Another frequently repeated goal is to clear some percentage of the blocks on the level. Suffice it to say, in a lot of Pet Rescue Saga levels you need to clear as many of the blocks in the level as you can. One situation you’ll find yourself in often is where you’ve got a whole bunch of blocks that are adjacent to each other of different colors. I call this checkerboarding. As part of our Pet Rescue Saga Guide, this article will cover checkerboarding and what you need to do to fix and/or avoid it.

Checkerboarding occurs when you’ve got a group of blocks in Pet Rescue Saga that can’t be matched together, because there are no similarly colored blocks next to each other. I call this “checkerboarding” since the blocks often times end up in a pattern of alternating colors, like the way a checkerboard’s red and black squares do.

Pet Rescue Saga Checkerboarding

Avoiding Checkerboarding

Checkerboarding occurs when individual blocks of different colors end up next to each other. Thus, the easiest solution is to avoid this situation in the first place. When you’re making matches, pay attention to what happens when the match is completed. Will blocks of the same color end up closer to each other, or further away?

Similarly, when making matches, make sure you’re not orphaning single blocks all by themselves. Since blocks will fall down when the blocks underneath of them are matched, it’s generally better to start from the top. Look out for sets of 2 blocks of the same color next to each other, especially horizontally. If you can get rid of these small matches before you get rid of the blocks underneath, you can avoid separating the match and leaving orphans behind.

However, it’s also important to consider orphans that are buried under other blocks. If you see a single block buried by itself, can you make a match that brings other blocks of the same color adjacent to it? If so, it might make sense to match lower in the pile first.

Fixing Checkerboarding

Since many levels feature random elements, you’re bound to end up checkerboarding occasionally. On some Pet Rescue Saga levels, it’s even a fixed part of the level that always starts in the same pattern! Thus, it’s important to understand how to fix checkerboarding once it’s started.

If you’ve got a tall column of checkerboarded blocks, and the recharging rocket boost (“column blaster”) is available, consider breaking that column with your rocket boost the next time it charges.

However, if you’ve got a big block of checkerboard, the rocket boost is kind of unlikely to fix it. If the rocket boost clears the whole column (ie, there’s no glass blocks or pets) and the screen doesn’t scroll, there’s a chance that the remaining blocks will shift together after the column blaster does its thing. If so, then you might have a shot at clearing more of the blocks. This takes some advance planning, though, so make sure you’ve thought through what is going to happen before you use your rocket!

The other way to solve checkerboarding is to clear blocks below it, causing the relative heights of the columns to shift. For example, if you clear a T or L shape of blocks from low on the screen, the rest of the columns will fall in a different pattern, which might give you a way to clear the rest of it out.

Running Your Moves Dry

Finally, if there aren’t any matches on the whole screen, the top row of blocks will clear out. This process of losing rows repeats itself until there is at least one match.

This is kind of a bad thing, though, as in order to get into this state you have to have absolutely no moves left. A key or a bomb counts as a move, even if there is nothing to blow up or unlock. This can put the level in a practically unwinnable state! Additionally, your recharging rocket boost counts as a move. This can cause you to waste your rocket at a time that isn’t ideal for it.

Also, if the top row of blocks includes pets, you’ll lose the pets, which can cause you to lose the level prematurely. The same thing happens if you’re tasked with clearing a percentage of the blocks but too many are lost – you’ll lose instantly.

On top of all this, you’ve got a really limited set of moves to choose from in this state, so chances are you’re going to end up causing more orphans and checkerboarding in the rest of the level, where you can’t really see it. Checkerboarding – the gift that just keeps on giving!