Papa Pear Saga review

Papa Pear Saga is a new Facebook release from King, currently in open beta and available for everyone to play on the social network. The new game’s launch coincides with King’s 10-year anniversary and rebranding from to just King. It’s also set to hit iOS and Android mobile devices “soon.”

Papa Pear Saga is a new take on King’s previous Web-based game Papa Pear, itself inspired by Japanese pachinko mechanics. The game also has more than a few similarities to PopCap’s popular casual game Peggle, and this is firmly in keeping with King’s track record of taking well-established, familiar casual game mechanics (match-3 in Candy Crush Saga, bubble shooting in Bubble Witch Saga and so on) and putting their own twist on them. Adopting this approach rather than creating completely original, potentially complex mechanics gives King’s games a strong sense of “pick up and play” immediacy which has doubtless contributed considerably to the strong success of titles such as Candy Crush Saga, which is currently the top game on Facebook.

The basic mechanics of Papa Pear Saga involve aiming a cannon at the top of the screen using the mouse, then firing out objects (here crash helmet-wearing pears) which subsequently bounce off an arrangement of pegs on their way down the screen. The bottom of the screen houses several buckets, and dropping the pears into the buckets scores points, as does bouncing off pegs. Other bonuses are provided for special moves such as lots of bounces in rapid succession or eliminating all of a particular type of peg off the screen, and occasionally special pegs appear that confer benefits ranging from increasing the score multiplier to making the bouncing pears increase in size. In a slight twist on Peggle’s formula, it’s possible to fire up to three pears at once instead of just one, and certain special pegs cause additional pears to appear.

Peggle’s basic formula simply required the player to eliminate all of a particular type of peg from the level, but Papa Pear Saga features several different objectives, much like Candy Crush Saga built on the basic formula of Bejeweled and added different level types. Players will divide their time between levels where they must land at least one pear in each of the buckets at the bottom of the screen, levels where they must cause several special “fruit” objects to fall into one of the buckets at the bottom of the screen by clearing a path for them, and levels where they must clear a certain number of a visually-distinct type of peg from the screen. In the latter case, rather than being randomly scattered around the level as in Peggle, the pegs to be eliminated are always in the same position.

The game monetizes through sales of booster items. Unlike many other Facebook games, these may only be acquired via in-app purchase — there is no currency system in the game at all, meaning that those who play for free will not be able to use boosters in the same way, though the effects of boosters also appear as the special pegs that appear throughout the levels. Players may also pay to acquire extra pears if they fail a level, or pay to restore their lives if they run out. Much like in King’s other games, lives are only lost if the player fails to complete all of the objectives of a level (which usually include a specific objective and scoring enough points to earn at least one “star”) meaning that non-paying players may continue playing for as long as they are skilled — though the game does include occasional, sudden difficulty spikes at times, clearly intended to rob the player of their lives a little more quickly than usual. This is a pattern that Candy Crush Saga also followed, and it’s a little jarring to suddenly come across a level that is significantly more difficult than the previous ones without warning. That said, these more challenging levels are never unfair — they’re simply a bit more difficult, which helps keep players on their toes.