Secrets to beating Candy Crush's hardest levels —straight from the game’s designer

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 Candy Crush Saga)

Candy Crush Saga has some notoriously difficult levels. We asked one of the game's designer how to master them. (Photo: Candy Crush Saga)

Crushing candies, collecting boosters, color-bombing, contending with Bubblegum Trolls—it’s just a day in the life of a Candy Crush Saga buff. Since the ubiquitous app was launched in 2012, it’s been downloaded a dizzying three million times, making it one of the most in-demand games of all time—about as crave-inducing as sugar itself.

It’s not just Americans getting a rush out of Candy Crush Saga, though—the app is played on all seven continents including Antarctica, with fervent gamers getting their fix everywhere from the doctor’s office to church. Players are covering a lot of ground, too: each day, eager fingers swipe more than 146,000 miles within the app. That’s equivalent to driving from Florida to Washington state more than 52 times.

Candy Crush Saga has been downloaded more than 3 billion times—why are we all so hooked?

So what exactly has made Candy Crush Saga such a sweeping sensation? “That’s the million dollar question,” says Rasmus Eriksson, Senior Level Designer of Candy Crush, to Yahoo Life. “In short, I think it’s the old trope of ‘easy to play, hard to master.’ You can really play the game the way you want it.”

Eriksson says this kind of tailoring is intentional. He and his team of more than a dozen designers may create bubble levels and Bubble Witches, but they certainly don’t create Candy Crush Saga in a bubble. They’ve consciously created a game that appeals to players of all styles and skill levels by listening to what players have to say and taking their feedback to heart.

Are you the competitive type? Born to strategize? Or would you rather just kick back and relax, kill some time? Maybe you’re amused by captivating visuals and cute characters? Eriksson and his team created Candy Crush Saga for all of the above. “It's a little bit like a toy box, and there's something there for most people, no matter if you’re a big puzzle enthusiast or you just like to watch some fireworks,” says Eriksson.

The sweetest cheat sheet in The Candy Kingdom

Casual players and Candy Crush Saga connoisseurs all have one thing in common—you want to learn how to sail through levels and lick the competition (you know you have your eye on that leaderboard!). So here are Eriksson’s top tips for crushing the game’s most notoriously challenging levels.

Level 31: Combine special candies and watch the level blow up

 Candy Crush)

Candy Crush Level 31: Your first major obstacle awaits. (Photo: Candy Crush)

Brace yourselves, newbies: the eleventh level in Lemonade Lake is your first opportunity to learn how fierce Candy Crush Saga can get. The way to master this ostentatious obstacle is to get your paws on as many special candies as possible—then pair them up to set off seismic explosions.

“Special candies or boosters, as we like to call them, are very beneficial,” says Eriksson. “You have the colorbomb, for example, the brown candy with the colored dots. That one can affect the entire board. It can take candies from everywhere.”

And if you combine a colorbomb with another special candy? Well, then you're in business with explosions galore.

Pro tip: Aim to combine colorbombs with striped candies—or double up on color bombs alone.

Level 62: Clear a path and cascade away!

 Candy Crush)

Level 62: Cascades are your friends. (Photo: Candy Crush)

Strategy will yield you the best rewards when it comes to playing Candy Crush Saga—whether it’s this twelfth level of Minty Meadow or beyond. And a key move is to align as many identical sweets as you can, also known as creating cascades.

“If you learn how to create a lot of special candies—or we call them cascades—that's when the level can play itself for a bit,” says Eriksson, describing how cascades trigger explosions, which start sweeping the board automatically. “As a good player, you learn how to set up cascades and get a lot of free movement.”

Combine two candies or create cascades—you’ll know you made them when you see words like ‘Sweet,’ ‘Tasty,’ and ‘Divine’ pop up onscreen—to set off a chain reaction, prompting powerful ingredients like cherries and hazelnuts to drop. Cherries and hazelnuts score you tons of points in one fell swoop and are required to pass the level. The faster they fall, the faster you win.

Pro tip: Don’t focus on removing all the blockers—focus on clearing a path instead. Your path should be a few tiles wide below the ingredient. Once a cherry falls, aim to remove all the candies in that column—then it should be smooth sailing from there on in.

Level 190: Pivot your strategy and focus on squashing spawners

 Candy Crush)

Level 190: Smash those spawners. (Photo: Candy Crush)

The fifth level in Caramel Cove is a doozy. The regular rules don’t apply on this devilish level. Normal matches simple won’t yield you the amount of candies you need, so you’ve got to elevate your strategy on this one.

First, create colorbombs and try to match them with other special candies. For instance, try matching a striped and a wrapped candy.

Second, make sure to unlock all the spawners at the top. Spawners are elements that, well, spawn other ingredients—and not necessarily the ingredients you want. Spawners can introduce frustrating blockers like marmalade and chocolate—delicious if you’re making recipes from the Candy Crush cookbook, but less-than-appetizing if you’re trying to pass this challenging level!

Pro tip: The easiest way to unlock spawners is to use the special candies placed at the bottom of the board.

Level 360: Spawners are the enemy

 Candy Crush)

Level 360: Beware of bomb spawners! (Photo: Candy Crush)

You’ve only got 13 moves to complete the tenth level in Fudge Islands, so use them wisely. Colorbombs alone won’t help you wipe this one out, so mix them with wrapped and striped candies and you’ll be golden.

Then keep your eye on those evil spawners. “Make sure to always remove chocolates and magic mixers and dark chocolate, all these things that can duplicate or can grow on the screen. Always try to get those rid of those as soon as possible,” says Eriksson.

Pro tip: Do not remove the icing under the bomb spawners. These candy bombs have very few ticks, so they’ll explode very suddenly.

Level 1945: The key to mastering this expert level? Get the keys!

 Candy Crush)

Level 1945: Unlock it with keys! (Photo: Candy Crush)

That’s right: first and foremost, your focus on the fifth level in Spicy Shop should be to get the keys. Those are keys to success on this nearly impossible level of Candy Crush Saga.

The next thing you want to do is explode the cake bombs by creating—you guessed it—special candies. “This is a very explosive level,” says Eriksson. “Create a ton of special candies and it will explode and it will be great.”

Pro tip: Don’t worry so much about getting rid of the jelly. Most of it will be removed by all those delicious explosions you ignite!

Level 5359: Get to the bottom of it—the bottom layer of blockers, that is

 Expert-level obstacles ahead.

Level 5359: Alert: Expert-level obstacles ahead.

If you’ve made it to the fourteenth level in Cocoa Courtyard, congratulations—you’ve arrived. Yes, you’re in the upper echelon of Candy Crush Saga players, which means you’ll have to pull out all the stops to ensure a victory here.

First, make use of the spawning striped candies, especially by combining them with other candies—a.k.a. those special candy combos that can be your best offense. Then remove that bottom layer of blockers by all means.

Pro tip: “To remove any kind of blocker that you can, you don't want to have a space, as big space as possible, and have that as soon as possible,” says Eriksson. “That might mean that you don't go for low-hanging fruit, but instead focus on taking out as much of the level as possible, because it will make the later part of the level a lot easier.”

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