Pet Rescue Saga – More of the Same?

Candy Crush Saga made its much-anticipated iOS debut in November of last year after taking Facebook by storm. Since then, the game has gone from strength to strength, prompting developer King.com to release a further two titles in the Saga series: Bubble Witch and Pet Rescue Saga.

Pet Rescue Saga looks set to perform as well as its predecessor, but is that because Pet Rescue Saga is merely Candy Crush Saga in disguise? Let us take a closer look.

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In a Nutshell

For the uninitiated, Pet Rescue Saga is a highly addictive puzzle game in which you must clear as many blocks as possible in order to save poor, defenceless animals from an evil pet-snatching gang. This is done by tapping on groups of two or more similarly colored blocks to make them disappear. Easy, huh?

Wrong.

Each level varies slightly from the basic formula.

Each level varies slightly from the basic formula.

Each level varies slightly from the basic formula. For example, one may demand that you achieve a certain number of points before advancing, while another will require you saving the lives of, say, five animals by guiding them safely away from Snatchers, and so forth. While variation like this may make Pet Rescue Saga infinitely harder, it is also the main reason why the Saga series has such a large fan base. People simply cannot resist a challenge.

Help Me!

Boosters basically exist as a lifeline to help you complete a particularly difficult level. They are unlocked one by one throughout the game, and you are given a free trial of each Booster with the option of paying real cash if you wish to purchase more once the trial has expired.

There are five different types of Booster available, ranging from Block Buster which enables you to remove any one block from the grid, to a Mesh Masher which is used to cut open the wire mesh that covers certain blocks. While Boosters are most certainly useful, they are not a necessity and, according to the developer, it is perfectly possible to complete Pet Rescue Saga without shelling out any money, which is always good to hear.

Boosters can help you complete a particularly difficult level.

Boosters can help you complete a particularly difficult level.

In addition to paid Boosters, Pet Rescue Saga also includes a free Column Blaster which will annihilate one whole column with each use. While this powerful piece of equipment does need charging between uses, the Column Blaster is a welcome addition to the game, and I can only imagine how much easier Candy Crush Saga would be if it included a free Booster like this.

Playing the Waiting Game

Freemium games are notorious for making you wait or cough up cash, and Pet Rescue Saga is no exception. Run out of lives? That will be 99 cents, please. Completed an episode? Yep, another dollar. Well, that is unless, of course, you prefer to wait and/or have a lot of generous Facebook friends.

Facebook friends can help you progress through the game quicker and cheaper.

Facebook friends can help you progress through the game quicker and cheaper.

Connecting via Facebook will allow you to progress through the game quicker and cheaper than going it alone. Why? Because friends can send you extra lives and help you advance to the next episode without paying a penny, simply by accepting your request for assistance. Unfortunately, my so-called friends appear to hate me, and I am still stuck on the same spot that I was two days ago. Thanks, guys!

It’s a Race

Like Candy Crush Saga, Pet Rescue Saga takes place on a giant game board. The board itself is split up into episodes, each one comprising 30-odd levels which get harder and harder as you make your way around the board.

04gameboard

If you decide to connect Pet Rescue Saga to your Facebook account, you will be able to see exactly which level your buddies are currently stuck on. Personally, I think that doing this should come with some sort of health warning because, afterwards, you will eat, sleep, and breathe Pet Rescue Saga. I am not a competitive person but even I was hell-bent on beating every single one of my friends to be number one, and I’m sure that I am not the only one judging by the neck and neck speed of some of my Facebook pals.

Cute and Cuddly

King.com is well-known for developing beautiful-looking games, combining gorgeous 3D graphics with just the right amount of cute. Pet Rescue Saga features ridiculously adorable animated critters that will no doubt tug at the heartstrings of any animal lover, especially when those heinous Pet Snatchers are on the prowl.

Soundtrack-wise, this one is utterly delightful, complementing the overall atmosphere of the game well. I especially liked the addition of animal noises that played every time a pet was rescued, although my dogs did raise an eyebrow at the dog sound effect, probably thinking that I had adopted yet another one.

The Verdict

Pet Rescue Saga is virtually identical to Candy Crush Saga in every way, but is that necessarily a bad thing? I don’t think so.

Sure, waiting a whole half hour for one measly life certainly does grate at times, as does the need to either beg your Facebook friends or begrudgingly pay 99 cents in order to progress to the next episode, but hey, look on the bright side, at least Pet Rescue Saga won’t tempt you into breaking your diet like Candy Crush Saga does! Actually, scrap that, those piggies do look pretty tasty. Hog roast, anyone?


Summary

Pet Rescue Saga is a cute and cuddly puzzle game that's similar in style to Candy Crush Saga.

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