There’s no denying the ridiculous popularity of our Diamond Dash-inspired layer cancelling grid game. From Pyramid Solitaire to Canada Crush Saga, there are so many of these clone games out now that they almost deserve their own category. Pet Recue Saga is hugely popular and while it follows what you’d expect out of the game, there are visual and gaming twists. Aren’t there always?
Match-3 games are this generation’s Tetris
So Pet Rescue Saga begins with the familiar grid of coloured boxes. However, I can’t quite call it a Match-3 game because you actually only need to click on a group of 2 matching objects. In a nutshell, I like object matching games, so I can say that Pet Rescue Saga is moderately fun to play. But it is slower, dare I say more boring clone. You really can only differentiate yourself in this game genre by creative game play/mechanics and/or graphics. And Pet Rescue Saga does succeed – albeit in a limited way – on both.
Pet Rescue - OVERVIEW
I’m not going to go over basic gameplay as the concept is pretty much the same in all match-3 type games. See my review of Diamond Dash for a similar walk through. Rather, I’ll focus on the unique difference in Pet Rescue Saga. There’s not many, but it is part of the game’s personality. Basic premise is that you are tasked with rescuing pets from the evil Pet Snatchers!
So first, thing to look out for is that on some stages, you may only have to clear a certain portion of the puzzle board to advance. In a way, it’s sort of like a specific mission within standard game play that adds a logic and puzzle element to the general principle. You’ll see a measuring gauge on the side of the screen during gameplay that progresses as you reach closer to achieving your target.
Further, you will encounter a mission where you must “rescue” the pet by clearing a way for it to drop down to the bottom (hence, ‘Pet Rescue Saga’). And watch out, in a bubble-game like twist, you may face a level which actually has a playing surface that is several layers above the top of the screen which drops down as you clear the playing board beneath. When you solve the mission on a particular level you get a bonus based on how much of the playing surface you cleared out.
Of course like other Match 3 games, there are boosts you can get to accelerate game play and make it easier to clear the board and/or pass the level objective. This is where they want you to pony up some real cash to buy up boosts. Like any 80’s drug pusher would say, “the first one’s free!” so if you get hooked on a booster, be warned you’ll be paying cash for more. Usually in most of these types of games (and Pet Rescue Saga is no exception) boosts are unnecessary in the beginning and middle levels of the play. As missions get harder and harder, than the temptation grows for a bit of help. You can also use real money to buy up extra “lives” as well (topping out at 5 lives).
Pet Rescue - STRATEGY
Like all Match-3 games, I like to start clearing out the matches near the top of the screen and work down. Remember that the blocks move down and also compress from both sides. This helps you anticipate your next matches. The more color blocks you can clear out at once, the higher your point reward will be. So try to match the colors to ensure that once they are cancelled out, there will be larger spans of same color blocks in the next hit.
The game becomes trickier even as early as Level 4 where you have to clear the blocks under the pets and then clear the bottom to let the pets hop off the steps that they landed on to complete the level.
The social aspects to Pet Rescue Saga isn’t really necessary for game progression or to obtain any valuable advantage. Of course if your competitive, the leaderboards are fun, but I found Pet Rescue Sage to be more of a one-person game.
Remember, the first dozen levels at least are fairly easy and simple to complete. I think I only lost my first life on level 11 by accident. Use these stages as a chance to really learn the game and the strategy of box clearing. Don’t just randomly clear the board. See the mechanics of how the playing area re-forms after blocks sets get cancelled out to drop your pets. You want to develop an intuitive sense of how the pets will fall so that you can work to strategize on how you are going to clear them. Once you grasp this, you’ll need this skill on higher levels. For example I learned pretty quick, not to clear levels too quickly when I’m saving up for a rocket booster or ensuring you get the point total target objective! Or alternatively, clearing large blocks to earn the booster for a particularly trouble spot to clear out.
Pet Rescue - TIPS, HINTS & CHEATS
- The first dozen levels are pretty simple. Use them to your advantage – learn the strategy of the game but do not use your back-up boosters if you don’t have to.
- Try to clear all colors but one to make a giant chain of one solid colour. Then when you clear that you’ll get lost of points and make your board easier to clear.
- Be weary of the moves limit at the bottom. It varies depending on the level. Revise your strategy accordingly
- When using a pop-up booster, make sure you have enough blocks of the color balloon that will pop to take full advantage.
- I like to let the bombs drop to the bottom and then save them as I clear a path for the pets to fall. When they’re adjacent to the bombs and I can’t cancel the blocks, I explode them to free the pets
- Meshed boxes show their color so remember to be strategic. You’ll have to hit them twice to cancel them out.
- Don’t forget to use your rocket boosters. They reload fairly quickly and I find I often forget to apply them. Always choose your column carefully when applying rocket booster
- Your 5 lives will replenish over time, but if you’re down to 3 or less, be a bit more liberal with your boosters.