Setup & Timing
Candace Kane's Candy Factory has a pretty easy menu system and setup process to work with. "Multiplayer" is right on the main menu and the opening credits aren't ridiculously long. The download, however, is extremely long (over three minutes) and inexplicably broken up by the need for players to notice they must tap to continue. There are no options to choose from at that point (which is why many games break up the download process) and merely delays gameplay for players that get distracted.
Menus & Navigation
Menu options are made exclusively of word labels. There are no boundries (boxes, etc.) around the words and the words are in a list that uses only part of the screen. When tapped, however, the menu options are very responsive.
Ease Of Use / Play Control
For the most part, the controls consist of tapping two pieces of candy to cause them to switch places (or to cause them to stack with each other). The controls are fine under normal circumstances, but when pieces of candy get toward the end of the conveyer belt, the time it takes for some of the candy to swap places can cause a piece at the end to be gone too soon and there isn't a "last chance warning" indicator on the screen. The pieces of candy are pretty small on the screen, but that's also part of the challenge in the game, and not a problem with it.
Candace Kane's Candy Factory is a mixed bag when it comes to content (pun intended). Graphically, the game looks good - not great, but good. Each type of candy is distinct and not easily confused with anything but its own sugared-up version (after candy goes through the Candy Coater for an extra layer of sugar, it looks slightly different and is worth more). The game also helps players visually by indicating whether or not they successfully tapped on a piece of candy by putting indicators around the selected piece. Audibly, the music doesn't help and can be annoying at times, but the sound effects are very useful in indicating if a customer is almost out of patience. For the easiest playing experience, the music wiull simply have to be endured. Unfortunately, while the conveyer belt's randomly generated candy will be different each time the game is played, everything else about the multiplayer will be the same every time because there are no options: players cannot select difficulty, speed, number of types of candy, time limits, number of customers at once, etc. There is also no downloadable Demo, something which would be extremely useful in teaching guests how to play (and to give them a taste of the game - again, pun intended) before jumping into the more complex multiplayer.
Category Score: 11.5 / 15
I have to confess that when I picked up Candace Kane's Candy Factory, I wrongly figured that it would be a low budget, throw-away puzzle title, when in fact it has unique gameplay qualities (specifically the conveyer belt candy-swapping gameplay mechanics) that I haven't seen in other puzzle titles. Yes, I've said the same thing a few times in the last few months, but I'm going to personally attribute that to more and more creative minds working on puzzle games in the last couple of years as casual gaming has increased in sales, the media, and overall interest, not to mention a market full of puzzle games where every game is struggling to stand out.
I had a lot of little issues with the game, but they were all little. Nothing in the game was perfect, but nothing was broken or unplayable, and the innovative nature of the game was a huge positive boost. There's really no other puzzle game quite like Candace Kane's Candy Factory. In truth, I was quite surprised how high my score was for the game. I don't plot out scores ahead of time, you see... I sit down after it's all said and done and I look at each part of the review separate from all of the others. I honestly must confess that I played the single player experience for a while after my reviewing was done, and this won't be the last time I play it. Is the game perfect? No. Is the game good? Yes. Could it be better? Sure. Would I buy a sequel if the additions/alterations I requested below occur? In a second.
Shorten up download time.
Recombine the different stages of the download process.
Use more of the lower screen to display the main menu, making the options larger (and, possibly, boxed in/bordered).
Add a warning line that indicates "one (or two) seconds left until a piece of candy that passes this line leaves the screen" for new players.
Offer options for difficulty, speed, number of types of candy, time limits, etc.
Include an instructional AND playable downloadable Demo.
Overall Single-Card Download Rating: 80 / 100 (a.k.a. 40/50)
Other information available:
If you'd like to contact this website:
to return to the DSSingleCard.com Candace Kane's Candy Factory profile.
to return to the DSSingleCard.com main page.