One hot puppy
Start writing a letter to your loved ones: You’re going on a pepper-growing journey courtesy of King, and you’re probably not coming back for a while. Pepper Panic Saga is yet another match-three puzzle game from the creators of Candy Crush Saga that’ll steal your leisure hours by the handful. It’s as addictive as sriracha on pancakes (what? Am in the only one who does that?).
Pepper Panic Saga stars Pepper, a young pup with a curious appetite for hot stuff. Whereas his colleagues spend their days digging up and munching on bones, Pepper is more interested in finding the plumpest peppers nature has to offer. He eventually leaves his doggy life to pursue a career growing peppers.
Obviously, dogs aren’t good farmers, so you need to help Pepper grow his crops. When you match up three same-colored peppers on a level, it grows into a larger pepper. When you grow any pepper past its third stage, it explodes, scatters its searing seeds across the board, and grows all peppers of the same color by one more stage. If you’re lucky, the chain of growth and explosion may trigger a Pepper Panic that racks up huge points, and is frankly just satisfying as heck to experience.
Sometimes creating at least one Pepper Panic is necessary to pass a stage, but there can be other conditions for victory. Sometimes you simply need to collect certain peppers by matching them. Sometimes you need to explode peppers of a specific color. Sometimes you even participate in a Slots-style game that challenges you to make indicated color matches with certain peppers. All of your goals need to be met within a certain number of moves.
No matter which goal you’re trying to reach, expect Pepper Panic Saga to rope you in, keep you engaged, and (of course) frustrate you. The growing / explosion mechanics behind Pepper Panic Saga are difficult to pry yourself away from, even if you’ve grown tired of Candy Crush Saga and other basic match-three games. You will clench you teeth and mumble “Come on, come on” when you start a chain reaction and watch the pepper-shaped counter climb its way to a Pepper Panic (complete with intensifying guitar strums). If you make it, it’s like indulging in your own three-second fiesta. But if you stop short of a Pepper Panic, it’s like being pulled back underwater just as you’re about to crest the surface and start breathing again.
Pepper Panic Saga is free to play, so expect to be tempted by offers for purchasable power-ups when a stage is going badly. As is typical of a King game, you’re also allowed to buy extra moves if you’re tantalizingly close to meeting the goals necessary for passing a stage, but have run dry. However, you pay for power-ups with gold instead of purchasing them directly from an in-game store. You’re also allotted some gold bars at the start of the game, so you can burn through them however you choose.
Pepper Panic Saga is a panic to play. Even when you reach later levels and the odds feel purposefully stacked against you in hopes you’ll crack and buy some power-ups, you’ll persist, eventually succeed (usually without caving in to in-app purchases), and feel oddly fulfilled at the end of it all. Hot stuff.