Keep your tongue off my candy!
CandyMeleon is the type of game which feels like it would have been right at home in arcades in the early 80s, but with graphics and sound a bit more befitting a contemporary title. The premise of the game is that you are in control of a cartoon chameleon with a craving for candy, and one who has a bit of swagger in his walk at that. Fortunately, as he walks through the woods, candy is in abundance, and your goal is to catch as much of it as possible: either by tilting your device left or right to move, or by tapping the screen to flick his long, sticky tongue skyward.
As you catch candy, you earn coins. In turn, coins can be used to unlock new types of candy, new backgrounds, and even new chameleons who have their own individual appearance and attributes. Particularly fun is catching one of the hot candies, which turns the chameleon red and kicks him into a sort of overdrive mode as numerous regular candies pour onto the screen, and a now lightning-quick tongue is put to good use to some pretty awesome music that puts you in the zone. It almost has a certain feel and rush to it, similar to getting the invincibility star in Super Mario Bros.
Collecting candy aside, there are other challenges to take into consideration as you play. As you collect candies and score points, you then go up in levels. But with each new level comes new obstacles and hazards to deplete your three-heart life meter. Hungry fish begin diving up out of the water in one instance, and it doesn’t appear to be candy they crave, but chameleon. Another is a string of butterflies which flutter across the top of the screen, seeking to literally take your hearts right off of the meter itself, and can only be thwarted by your tongue.
For the most part, your only real progress is based on how long you last and how high a score you can get before the odds become so overwhelming that you can no longer keep up. Each time you fall, it’s back to square one again, though by increasing in levels and earning coins, you’re able to change the core gameplay by using the aforementioned new lizards, new backgrounds, and perhaps most of all, by introducing new candies with their various properties into the mix.
It’s a fun and challenging game, though not especially deep, and it felt like we were almost nitpicking to come up with any flaws for it. It does what it sets out to do very well, and features additional modes such as Tournament and Time Attack to provide a little more variety. It might prove a little too simplistic for some gamers who don’t fancy the old-school style, but for those looking to embrace a new style of arcade challenge, you can’t go wrong with CandyMeleon.