The latest game from King Digital is Farm Heroes Super Saga, available now for Android, iOS and Facebook. I’ve been a fan of their casual games for some time, and decided to see how this latest food-swapping adventure holds up against its predecessors. It’s the best Saga game yet!
Visuals – 5/5
Farm Heroes Super Saga is a spin-off of King Digital’s popular Farm Heroes Saga, but with a plethora of new characters, cropsies and challenges. This new title has the most sophisticated animation of the series, and utilizes it in some interesting ways. From blinking and smiling cropsies to charging goats, Rancid’s taunts and one hilariously spastic squirrel, Super really brings this bright and colorful world to life.
This new game comes with a revolving map and charming buildings along the way, drawing players into an idealistic setting for collecting and raising your cropsies. When you complete a level with moves to spare, it’s “Show Time,” and the game board transforms into a fairground at night. I really love the use of light and shadow in the background art, with strung lights and striped tents. Especially on this holiday weekend, it made me want to go find a carnival!
Controls – 5/5
As with any Match-3 game of this genre, all you need is a stylus, finger or mouse to play. Farm Heroes Super Saga requires a bit more strategy to complete each level, however, depending on the challenge. Cropsie movement is determined by the direction of your swipe on some levels, while others involve revolving Lily Pads or your usual gravitational pull down the game board. The game begins with a few tutorial levels, which helps newcomers learn how to play, and returning King game fans an introduction to the new play dynamics.
Sound – 5/5
The music is upbeat and soothing, especially paired with the wind sound effects on certain levels. Composer, Johan Holmström delivers a number of layered, orchestral themes worthy of the big screen, particularly the loop that plays while battling Rancid the Racoon. The score here is very film noir—a 1940’s crime drama ambiance peppered with jazzy beats, muted trumpets and a mysterious little organ number.
The beauty of Holmström’s score is the vast richness of it. Even though a majority of players might never hear the bass or subtle sound effects from our tiny, mobile speakers, Holmström doesn’t hold back on quality. (Candy Crush Soda Saga was recorded at Abbey Road Studios!) As always, you can turn off all music and sound effects in the menu, but I highly recommend playing the game at least once while wearing headphones for the full effect.
As for sound effects, he did a great job there, too. I was especially happy to see Rancid finally get a voice this time around. He really does sound like a giggling raccoon, taunting and laughing as he throws litter onto your garden. Whereas in Farm Heroes Saga we hear a maniacal laugh or “doh” here and there, the SFX in Super Saga brings our foe to life. Other honorable mentions throughout the game include the chattering of the aforementioned spastic squirrel and happy little cropsie sounds as they’re collected. That squirrel really has me giggling!
Gameplay – 4/5
Candy Crush Soda Saga introduced a new move, in which matching a square of 4 creates a gummy fish. In Farm Heroes Super Saga, this move creates a “super cropsie,” worth more by itself and also a required harvest on certain levels. This, as you might have figured out by now, is where the new game’s title comes from. The game features a number of new fruits to collect, including tomatoes, pears, plums and even bananas. For the country fair, I am apparently growing a pineapple, which is a bit odd for the region. (Then again, why nit pick when I’m happily collecting BLINKING FRUIT?)
Better Boss Battles
Although I love Farm Heroes Saga, I never felt like these “boss battles” made a lot of sense. Apparently, matching cropsies makes Rancid so mad that you win? This time around, Rancid appears and we not only see his entire body, he is armed with old tin cans to throw into your garden. Matching cropsies next to the cans will toss them back at his head, until he’s down for the count. Unlike in Heroes Saga, where a Rancid Level cannot be changed, defeating Rancid will banish him from that level, whether you matched all the required cropsies or not. Rancid will also randomly appear on any level, offering a challenge which you can accept or decline.
The theme of Farm Heroes Super Saga is a country fair, set in the harvest time of autumn. Completing levels results in “growth” which is used to nurture a competing cropsie over the course of a week. The more stars you get on a level, the more growth you get. The more your cropsie grows, the better chance you have of placing in that week’s competition. The top 3 cropsies win silver coins that can be spent in the in-app store.
50 coins can also be earned by defeating Rancid when he appears. Although he initially starts on a designated level, Rancid will randomly appear again, giving you the opportunity to earn more coins.
As with all King games, there are also gold bars, which can only be purchased with real money ranging from 99¢ to $4.99 US. In other King titles, such as Candy Crush Soda Saga, challenges offer opportunities to earn gold through effort. As of this posting, no such competition exists in Farm Heroes Super Saga, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see such challenges pop up in the future. King is currently offering 50 gold bars for downloading the game to get you started.
I am enjoying this game a lot, and have managed to get to level 57 without spending any money, but gave in and spent ¢99 to open up additional levels because I didn’t want to wait 3 days. As always, players get an advantage for playing on or connecting through Facebook, as more people will send you lives, growth, etc. Although you can play with a King account rather than Facebook, I find that people are less giving for some reason.
Replay Value – 4.5/5
I just started playing Farm Heroes Super Saga a few days ago when it launched, and am thoroughly addicted. The familiarity of the previous Saga titled, coupled with new challenges and a competitive element have me coming back for more and impatiently waiting for my lives to regenerate. There are 205 levels as of this posting, and many more are expected soon. Players are now treated to a leaderboard, which helps completionists and competitive gamers coming back for more.
As with any game of this genre, it can get a bit repetitive, so different modes of play are really nice. Sometimes I’ll stop playing one Saga game and play another for a while, only to come back to it with a new-found sense of entertainment.
Overall – 4/5
This is just a fun, colorful and addicting time-killer that brings three of my favorite things together; spastic squirrels, autumn and fairs/carnivals. If you’re into other King titles like Candy Crush, you have to try it out for yourself!