Candy Crush Saga has been exploding lately. It seems like everyone’s getting in on some candy matching goodness. It can be a frustrating game, though. If you’ve gotten stuck and you’re looking for a break, or you’re just tired of bugging your friends so you can progress, allow me to suggest some of the best games like Candy Crush Saga for your puzzling enjoyment.
Candy Crush Saga is a “match 3” game, the first of which was likely Shariki, released back in the good ‘ol MS-DOS days. The genre really took off with the introduction of Bejeweled from PopCap. That is to say, this is an old genre with deep roots and many games on offer.
Nowadays, there’s a thriving class of games that use “match 3” as a core mechanic. Some are better than others, so I’m here to help you sort the good from the bad.
Honestly, how can we have a “best of match 3” article without mentioning Bejeweled? Bejeweled Blitz is the current entry in the series, and it brings the core match-3 game that everyone knows and loves to a new generation of iOS and Android devices. You can compete with your friends and unlock new game modes just by playing.
It’s not as deep as Candy Crush Saga, but it’s still hopelessly addictive. I loaded it up to take screenshots and got lost playing for a good five or ten minutes. If you’re new to match 3 games like Candy Crush Saga, you really should take a minute and pay homage to the granddaddy of all match 3 games.
Smiles takes the traditional match 3 game and wraps it in a cute exterior, much like Candy Crush Saga does. It’s got a bunch of game modes and a charming exterior. You can’t really go wrong if you’re in the mood for a match 3 game.
The only downside is that there’s no free version. Most of the games on this list you can play for free, but this one you’re going to have to shell out cash for. You can grab it for Android here or iTunes here.
If you like the puzzle/matching aspect of games like Candy Crush Saga, but you’re looking for something a bit deeper wrapped around it, there are many choices available to you. I actually prefer my match 3 with a bit of RPG mixed in, so I’m going to give you my favorites.
10000000 (“ten million”) is a dungeon crawler RPG that uses match 3 elements as the core of its gameplay. You’re an Indiana Jones-style adventurer trapped in a dungeon littered with evil beings. However, you’re equipped with a sword and a magic wand that allow you to do battle, as well as a near-infinite supply of keys and defensive shields.
The goal of the game is to rack up score by surviving as long as you can in the dungeon. The more tiles you match, the more enemies you kill, and the more loot you find, the higher your score. Between runs of the dungeon, you can use your accumulated loot to upgrade your gear and your character.
I lucked out and picked it up free as one of Amazon’s “app of the day” promotions. You can follow them for Android updates here. They give away one app a day, typically, although not all are games.
Puzzle Quest 2
Puzzle Quest 2 is another RPG-slash-match 3 game, but there are far deeper RPG elements on offer here. There’s more equipping, looting, a world map, actual experience “levels” and so forth. There’s also no time element, so this is a better one to pick up if timed levels in games like Candy Crush Saga stress you out. You can usually take as long as you want planning your next move.
It started out life as a console game and eventually got ported to phones and tablets, thus, there’s a “full game” of content on offer here. It’s a beautiful, deep RPG with match 3 elements that will keep you engaged for a long time.
There’s a “demo version” available, which includes the prologue to the game. You can grab it for Android here and for iTunes here. There are a myriad other versions for consoles and handhelds, though, so if the Nintendo DS or Sony PSP is more your speed, check for a copy wherever you buy your games.
Puzzles and Dragons
Puzzles and Dragons (or PAD for short) seeks to combine the “gotta hatch em all” addictiveness of a game like DragonVale with the match 3 aspects of games like Candy Crush Saga or 10000000. It then throws in social interactions and cooperation like a special sauce. Best of all, it’s free to play!
You explore dungeons and fight monsters with your party of monsters and dragons. Combat is similar to 10000000 in that you’ve got to match 3 reasonably quickly in order to make progress and survive. It’s a bit less intense than 10000000, though. As you play, you unlock eggs that hatch into new monsters for your adventuring roster. You can also “borrow” monsters from friends to accompany you, and the game rewards you with “friend points” that can be used in various ways.
What did I miss?
Have you got a favorite game in the match 3 genre that I’ve missed? Let our readers know about it in the comments…