Possible Candy Crush Replacements
I heard about Puzzle and Dragons but it seems to be only available to iOS users or certain Android devices. The search led me to Pocket Monsters: Dragon Rage (PMDR, by Softgames), which seemed like the German son of Candy Crush and Rage of Bahamut. A few weeks later, my friend Rowena introduced me to Tower of Saviors (TOS, by Mad Head Limited), a game that’s almost exactly like PMDR except that it hailed from Hong Kong.
I’ll put the screenshots of both games side by side while I make comparisons, placing PMDR on the left and TOS on the right. You can click the images for a larger view.
Ok, let me rephrase how I described these two games: PMDR and TOS are like the spawn of Pokemon, Candy Crush, and Rage of Bahamut. Or Puzzle Pets Adventure and Rage of Bahamut, which makes me cry a little because these two are exactly the games I had envisioned developing before I left my last job as a video game producer.
The objective of both is to basically collect as many monster cards as your inventory would allow. For you to be able to do this, you’d have to fight against strong monsters by way of match-3 puzzles.
PMDR and TOS have the exact same mechanics. The only difference is that the second — and I suspect newer — title has captivating art and intuitive user interface. I have an easier time doing combos for TOS because, as you can see from the screenshots, each elemental gem is shaped differently. My eyes don’t strain so much trying to distinguish one gem from the other.
The language makes a world of difference as well. PMDR’s wordings seemed to have been pulled straight out of Google Translate. I can barely understand what it’s saying.
You can’t click the back button easily either and the German “OK” button, which can help you go back to the previous interface, blends with everything else. In contrast, you can see TOS’ “OK” button clearly on the right screenshot.
The irony here is that even though I’ve played PMDR longer, I only figured out that the skills are usable (and not passive) because TOS taught me how to use them! The latter has nicely done tutorials and even loading screens provide tips. I hate invasive instructions, so I appreciate how you’re not bombarded with information when you’re new to the game.
The above screenshots show how PMDR depends too much on texts for game navigation, whereas TOS uses a simple yet beautifully drawn map.
And the gallery. Wow. I realized I wanted to collect cards when I started playing TOS. With PMDR, all I wanted to do was progress through the stages. Looking at the gallery below, you can probably guess why.
Yup! Even the weakest of monsters in TOS look really cute and well-drawn, while my PMDR deck makes it seem like someone has yet to outlive his/her Dragon Ball fantasies. To be honest, I’ve actually transacted with TOS more than a few times because I wanted to expand my gallery. I have no such desire with PMDR, though I did transact with them once just to see how they monetize.
Compare the card art, too:
I thought PMDR’s card art on the left looks nice, until I encountered TOS. They exhibited high level of polish and did not skimp on the particle effects. When you get a text message alert, the right background also moves from side to side. I swear, whenever I load this game, I could not help but think, “Darn you, I wish I could make a game as good looking as this!”
There are three ways of gaining new cards. The first is, of course, by battling. The second is if you’ve earned friend points (which is why I’ve just about friended everyone I see in both games). The third is if you’ve earned enough magic stones (for PMDR) or diamonds (for TOS). I like the third option because you get to summon powerful and cool-looking cards.
Except it kinda looks funny for PMDR (left) and badass for TOS (right). I’m actually also horrified by the choice of words PMDR uses when you want to level up or evolve your cards: “Eat these pets?”
I’ve obviously been very biased towards TOS but there is one other thing that makes it the better game:
Notice I have 5 tabs on this screen? This is my deck arrangement screen. The first deck is for my human cards. The second for my beast cards (pictured here). The third is for my dragons. I just found out today that there are also fiend cards so they’ll probably end up on my fourth deck if I’m lucky enough to complete an elemental set. Only TOS has this feature and it’s also the reason why I’ve been farming and expanding my inventory.
Thing is, despite my very obvious leanings toward TOS, I still keep both games on my Android for when I run out of energy/stamina. I would play PMDR when I’m waiting for TOS to recharge. Also, PMDR has one advantage over TOS: you can play it offline and still gain friend points. Sadly, you need to be constantly online to be able to play TOS.
So if any of you are looking for possible Candy Crush replacements that actually allow you to use real tactics instead of blind luck, give these two games a shot. For some reason, I find these infinitely more relaxing and rewarding.