Still have a sweet tooth after playing Candy Crush Saga? Get your fix with Cookie Jam, a similar Match-3-style puzzle game for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch (and Android devices by April).
Make no mistake: SGN's Cookie Jam is a blatant clone of King's Candy Crush Saga – which, to be fair, borrows heavily from Bejeweled – but those looking for a more challenging head-scratcher with a couple of new twists will find this new app to be a delicious download.
In case you haven't played a Match-3 puzzle game before, you're presented with a board with a couple dozen game pieces on it. Your job is to swap two adjacent pieces so that there's at least three of the same game pieces – such as a red heart or orange star – in a row or column. When this happens, they disappear from the board and the game pieces cascade down to fill up the empty spaces. If you can match 4 or 5 of the same game pieces in a row, it creates a special piece that can be used to destroy multiple game pieces at once – same goes for aligning game pieces to create a letter "L" or "T." Swapping these special pieces creates an even bigger explosion to help clear the board.
Similar to Candy Crush Saga, Cookie Jam has a food-related theme. You're creating French dessert "recipes," such as a cupcake or pie, and some of the special pieces you'll create are cake slices, cookies and colorful 'smores. You'll break apart sugary donuts, pack up boxes of treats and use whipped cream to select multiple game pieces in the same column. You get the idea.
There isn't much of a story to follow but the game's press release tells of Monsieur Chef Panda, who embarks on a culinary adventure to travel the world and collect recipes for a baking competition (I didn't catch any of this in the game itself). Just like Candy Crush Saga, some levels only give you a certain number of moves to reach your goal, plus there are a limited number of power-ups you can use to help break off or swap game pieces for you, such as a rolling pin, wooden spoon or an oven mitt.
While Cookie Jam's look, feel and overall gameplay is very similar to Candy Crush Saga – even the map you travel through between levels is nearly identical – this game is much tougher than King's popular app and Facebook game. Whether it's trying to create a match to destroy a quick gingerbread man before he can reach the top of the board or destroying a fudge layer before you can break a waffle cone, Cookie Jam gets credit for being a harder game. As you progress throughout the 100-odd levels and try to earn all 3 stars for each level by playing well (yes, just like Candy Crush Saga), you'll unlock new challenges, including a wider array of matching types, shifting map shapes and more on-board obstacles.
Ranging from $0.99 cents to $49.99, there's also the option to spend real money to buy virtual coins for more "lives" in the game. Or, like Candy Crush Saga, you can ask Facebook friends to give you lives.
Despite its lack of originality, and the fact there's no Android version at the time of writing this, Cookie Jam is a lot of fun – especially if you like challenging puzzles. And plenty of sweets.