4th & Battery recently released its second iPhone and iPad title, Candy Train. A independent, and more irreverent studio, from PopCap Games, 4th & Battery was started to create smaller and simpler games. Think edgier titles like its first release, Unpleasant Horse. Free-to-play, Candy Train follows the first two points of this criteria but is actually one of the oldest of PopCap.com’s online game titles. It was remade by Sophia Hohing and Adam MacDonnell.
Best described as a puzzle game, Candy Train is a simple concept of keeping a train — made out of candy — running as long as possible by connecting pieces of track while it is moving. Score-based, it is one of the simplest quality games we’ve seen on any iOS device in some time, and is a sort-of combination between Snake and old tabletop game, Candy Land. It’s simple but entertaining and is targeted to a starkly different audience that 4th & Battery’s previous app, Unpleasant Horse.
In Candy Train, users are given a sizable grid space with every square holding a random piece of track. They may contain left turns, right turns, straight pieces, or four-way intersections, and users must rotate them so they connect, using a simple tap. The catch is that once players have started the game, their candy-made train will begin moving, following the track they have laid out.
The general idea is to keep the train from running out of track for as long as possible, with points being earned for each grid space it clears. Additionally, random candies and train cars will also appear for pick up, tasking the player to redirect their track. These both grant bonuses to score, but the later will actually add length to the train. This is where a small bit of Snake comes into play, as grid spaces cannot be rotated until all cars have passed over it.
This is where the challenge comes in. As time goes on, the train will accelerate and single grid spaces will periodically change what type of track piece they contain. This means that the courses will have to be continually updated to compensate, which gets progressively more difficult. Additionally, most of the track pieces on the board are turns, which means that the courses players create will be very twisty. In order to mitigate the challenge somewhat, a “Level Up!” tunnel will appear somewhere on the board once players have collected all the cars.
Like we’ve reported in the past, 4th & Battery is PopCap’s studio for experimental ideas. It seems like the studio is testing the waters for different user demographics. While Unpleasant Horse felt more tailored to teenagers and young adults (those that would watch television programming such as Adult Swim), Candy Train is geared much more to a younger audience.
Regardless, with the games colorful Candyland art style, Candy Train is an app that can still be enjoyed by just about anyone. Moreover, the game is completely free and doesn’t even host a single banner advertisement. All things considered, it’s a game that is certainly worth a quick spin.