Puzzle levels take up a unique position in Candy Crush since they can be extremely unique. While there is no checklist for how a puzzle level is created, they often require the player to take a series of defined tasks to progress within the level. Those tasks can be independent of one another or have to be followed successively.
There are some elements that often appear in a puzzle-type level such as the Order Lock, the Sugar Chests and their required keys, and - of course - Samantha the Candy Frog who often shows up in levels that require a more complex approach.
This would be the first level I’d consider a proper puzzle type and it is quite experimental too. I wanted to give the player a fully charged Frog from the very start and give it a bit of a double edge: on the one hand, it is required to clear the Chocolate on top and let the candy spawn normally, on the other hand, it blocks the spawners, meaning it has to be moved again to make the candy fall down. To make sure that the frog can be charged, the dispenser in the middle spawns Color Bombs as well as regular candy.
This six-color level is the result of a challenge to myself: I wanted to see if I manage to create a level with an unusual number of candy colors that would be both playable and require this exact number of colors (there is a two-color level as well). To make sure that this six-color level was distinct so I decided to use each of the colors for Order Locks. Only by merging enough of each color, the player would open up the Magic Mixers - which were one of the goal requirements. Destroying the Mixers would not only count down the order requirements but also open the path for the Color Bomb spawners which in turn would charge the Frog who would enable you to collect the four keys.
Similar to the first puzzle level, this one uses the Frog as a blocker, this time for the orange candy cannon (with orange candy being part of the order). It also makes use of the newly introduced Color Cannons, dividing the level into two parts on the top that get mixed by the Conveyor Belt on the bottom. Counting the orange and purple candy spawners in the middle, this can even be counted as a six-color level. Contrary to the more common use, the Order Locks on top don’t cover any key element but keep the Lucky Candy from merging instead. Once those are out of the way, a small number of orange candy will unlock the purple candy cannons which are needed to charge and move the Frog (by using a Color Bomb).
Another puzzle level that doesn’t include a frog. Instead, it is the yellow candy that plays a major role: on the Conveyor Belt, it works like a timer, automatically merging when the yellow candy reaches the bottom. Since everything concerning this color is protected by the indestructible Licorice Fences, the only way to interact with the yellow candy is by using a Color Bomb. This is also the only way to destroy the Magic Mixer since it activates the Striped Candy above. Even when the Mixer is destroyed and the cherries can fall down, the yellow candies play a crucial role since they have to be collected for the various Order Locks at the bottom.
PIXEL ART LEVELS
While constructing a level around certain game mechanics or elements, my personal favorite approach would be the creation of pixel art levels. Starting with the overall shape and trying to see how to make the game elements fit into the mold can sometimes be a bit challenging since, in the end, gameplay beats aesthetics. On the other hand, the creation can be extremely fast and intuitive for me, if I have a clear vision of how the image is supposed to look like. After some more practice, I can proudly say that pixel art levels became sort of a specialty of mine and nicely complemented the other designers’ more geometrical levels.
A fish-ception level in the shape of a fish that uses a lot of fish candy. Nearly all of the available tiles are limited to the Conveyor Belt shape which is supposed to give the level an extra challenge. The only other available space is located in the fish’s tailfin, which is also where the fish candies spawn from. The negative space outside of and within the fish shape is filled with Jelly and fenced off by indestructible fences, some blocking the effect of Special Candies, some leaving it through.
Similar to the fish-level, this one is made in the shape of a happy frog and features Samantha the Candy Frog. The cherry ingredients that the player has to collect in order to complete the level are located in the frog’s mouth and secured with different kinds of locks: the top row is locked in Sugar Chests with different layer numbers, the bottom row requires the player to collect the Licorice Shells in the frog’s eyes and last but not least the row in the middle can only fall down if the player lets the frog land on the red Striped Candy and destroys the Marmelade. The player can choose freely which row they want to unlock first.
Samantha the frog has snatched herself a car and is on the run with a Fish Bobber and a key (as hinted by the broken Crystal Candy). While the fish candies within the wheels can help to collect the Jelly once they are unlocked, the Jelly tiles on the road can only be reached by charging the frog and directing it there. To give an additional hint that the frog has to be used multiple times, according to its order number.
Initially, the elephant was created to see if I could construct a level around a more challenging shape. In the end, I decided to make the trunk the main focus of the board by turning it into a Conveyor Belt and placing the cherries on top. The player has to clear the board from the middle to the outer sides/ ears. Once the paths to the key dispensers are unlocked, the player can begin to open the Sugar Chests that enclose the cherries. The cherry collectors are located within the main board, so the player has to clear the center of the elephant head before they can fall down from the trunk.
HOLIDAY THEMED LEVELS
Since I enjoy creating levels that resemble pixel art and have a strong aesthetic focus, making boards that had a specific theme came as a logical conclusion. And while the Christmas levels came in a bit too late, having a better understanding of the release structure helped me to put at least the Easter levels into the episodes in time.
The primary focus might be on the aesthetics but that doesn't mean they don't possess their individual twists.
A Christmas tree with Conveyor Belt garlands and Order Lock baubles. The player needs to collect cherries that fall down from the tree’s stem but are blocked by licorice which has to be sniped away to make the cherries fall down into the collector. The keys to unlock chests that block the cherry collector and cherry dispenser are enclosed in the Order Locks. Despite the use of Conveyor Belts, the level shuffles a lot as long as the Order Locks remain closed.
Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer had a Bobber as his nose
And Jelly in his antlers - you will need some fish for those
Key elements of this level are mainly the eyes and nose which are both protected by Candy Cane, meaning they can only be hit by Special Candy effects. In order to unlock the Bobber which summons the fish candies, the player needs to merge a Color Bomb, which can either be merged or gained after opening the Sour Skull on the eyes.
A simple Rainbow Rapid level for Easter in the shape of a bunny. In order to complete the goal, the player has to clear the path so the rainbow dispensers on the tip of the ears can connect down to the molds of Rainbow Candy in the eyes. While this sounds pretty straightforward, the goal is divided into different steps, meaning the player has to collect the two keys that are held in the Sour Skull cheeks and then destroy the Rainbow Twist nose. The ears and central set eyes limit the space that the player can navigate in, which is why the level has only three candy colors.
A literal chocolate Easter egg made out of regular and three-layered Dark Chocolate. The upper part of the egg is filled with low-layered Frosting that the player has to clear in order to get to the bottom and open up the Special Candy dispensers. Since the lower part is not only blocked off by self-regenerating chocolate but also indestructible Candy Canes, meaning the player has to snipe those sections. The final Jelly is to be found under the Magic Mixer which has to be destroyed in order to finish the level.
PRIDE THEMED LEVELS
Since King is an amazingly inclusive studio, showing support to LGBTQ+ players and employees has been a big part of their work culture. So what started out as a rough suggestion became an entire project: making LGBTQ+-themed levels that would be released during Pride Month/ June. The levels were designed to be either easy or medium and used colors and/ or symbols of specific orientations and pride flags.
Check out our players' amazing colorful photos here:
A heart-shaped Jelly-Order level in the classical rainbow pride colors. It is divided into two parts with the left one containing the Jelly that has to be collected. To use an alternative form of excavation, I decided to use destructible walls instead of the more typical blockers which usually occupy one tile on the board. The Color Bombs that are set as the secondary level goal ended up creating themselves when the other candy cascaded but to be extra sure we decided to add a cannon that would disperse them on low intervals.
Another Jelly-Order level, this time representing asexual pride colors and symbols ( ). the narrow space on the board fills up with licorice (which is part of the order) while the Jelly is found outside of the shape and can only be collected by using the fish candy since the Licorice Fence blocks any special candy effects. In the end, the level ended up having a lot more cascading than I would have liked.
Read more about Asexuality here:
This level represents aromanticism, one of the lesser-known orientations and I tried using both the colors and the arrow symbol. The tip of the arrow is separated from the rest of the board and includes both the licorice blockers and the cherries that have to be collected. The player has to use Striped Candy to destroy the licorice blockers as well as the Sugar Coats that are spawned constantly by the Magic Mixer.
Read more about Aromanticism here:
Read more about Aromanticism here:
Even though this level doesn’t use any pride colors per se, it uses the unicorn as the inofficial(?) mascot of all things fabulous. Head and mane feature different colors while the horn disperses Color Bombs which have to be used in time before being turned into Toffee Swirls by the Magic Mixer.