IGN Review of Candace Kane's Candy Factory
When most people think of candy factories, memories of the whimsical Willy Wonka fill their head. However, there is another candy factory that seems to be making a name for itself among casual online gamers. Candace Kane's Candy Factory has found an audience online and is hoping to do the same with the Wii's ever growing casual audience.
Candy Factory is a puzzle game with a peppermint twist. Literally. Using your Wii remote, you help young sweets connoisseur Candy fill the orders of her sugar enthusiast customers. Patrons will show exactly what combination of treats they would like and you have to match that combination on the candy conveyor belt. This conveyor belt usually takes on some deviation of an s-curve in shape. All candies make their way down the belt and will eventually (if not used) disappear off the screen. Clicking on one piece of candy and then another, will cause the two pieces to trade places on the conveyor belt. Swap pieces around until you have the exact combination the customer wants.
Once the combination is made, the candy will be bagged and sent to the counter. Click on the bag and give it to the customer in exchange for cold hard cash. There are several different types of customers, all of which have differing levels of patience which can be seen in meters over their heads. The faster you meet a customer's order, the bigger the tip they will leave.
To clear a stage, you have to reach 'x' number of dollars, so it's important to keep your customers happy. That being said, Candy Factory offers several different ways to keep your customers coming back. Certain candies (such as stars) are stackable. If you have an order consisting of a star, peppermint, star combo, you can stack stars on top of each other to increase the order's value.
Certain stages in story mode will be tampered with by Candy's rivals to decrease profits and customer satisfaction. In these stages, the conveyor belt will randomly speed up and slow down. In the end, it doesn't change things that much, but serves to add a tiny bit of variation to the otherwise stagnant gameplay. Just fill orders quickly, like you normally would, and everything will be fine.
Speaking of filling several orders quickly, doing so will result in a sugar rush. During this time, all payments and tips are worth double. This will greatly help in meeting your daily bronze quota, as well as shooting for silver and gold.
Another way to keep your sugar fueled clientele happy is by upgrading your equipment. Using the profits you earn from each stage, you can purchase new equipment ranging from a candy wrapper to a taffy-o-tron. The candy wrapper places customer orders into neatly wrapped packages, adding to their value. The taffy-o-tron gives the customers something to watch, which decreases the speed at which their patience depletes.
The upgrades, while beneficial, are what make Candy Factory somewhat painful on the Wii. For example, to use the candy wrapper you have to select the order and then select the candy wrapper. Next you have to draw a circle in the air with your remote to activate the candy wrapper. While it looks simple on paper, your candy equipment seems to have a hard time recognizing gestures. Suffice it so say that this can be frustrating as you try to complete orders before the end of the work day.
Graphically, Candy Factory looks like a generic casual online game. Bright candy colors fill your shop, and there is a diverse array of customers ranging from old grannies to men's figure skating champions. The Wii, being a console almost designed for artistic exploration rather than horse power graphics, could have done with a full makeover for Candy Factory. At no point will you feel like you are having a Wii experience that could not be equally achieved (gameplay-wise) on a computer.
Audio is a major annoyance in Candy Factory. Every type of patron has a distinct welcome and goodbye. Be prepared to hear them non-stop as people (even multiple types of the same person) constantly flood your store. There are only so many ways you can hear "Hey Candy!" before your brain starts to grate against your skull. On the music side, it's basically one track throughout the entire game that only changes during the sugar rush. As a puzzle game, music might not be a killer feature, but then again Candy Factory's music basically kills the feature.
A few more typical puzzle game features are included in Candy Factory to add a dash of longevity and tradition. Multiplayer co-op and versus levels are available to satiate any team building or competitive angst. And in true puzzle game form, you can acquire a few extra bucks in any gameplay mode by forming a row of three or more of the same candy on the conveyor belt.
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