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The latest puzzle game on iOS from King, Farm Heroes Saga [Free], is probably their most lenient game yet in terms of difficulty, but you're still going to run into trouble if you just play haphazardly. The quotas on some stages are pretty high, so you'll want to have a gameplan for harvesting as many cropsies as possible in your limited number of moves. I recently sunk a lot of time into this one for our review, and have worked out some tips and advice to keep you moving through the game as smoothly as possible, without shelling out big bucks. I should start off by being clear about one thing, however. At the moment, you will eventually hit a gate, around stage 105, that you can't go past unless you pay real money or connect with people via Facebook. It's possible King will implement another means of passing those gates in the future, as with some of their other games, but for now, part of clearing every stage for free necessarily entails Facebook shenanigans.

Like other King puzzlers, there are different stage types, but unlike the others, the basic goal isn't really all that different between them, so instead of my usual format of giving advice for each stage, I'm going to follow my general hints with some specific advice for dealing with the special obstacles you'll find as you progress. Also a little different from other King games, you don't have to worry as much about your score, because meeting the main stage goal will automatically mean you passed the score threshold, too.

Photo 1-10-2014, 10 47 49General Tips And Advice:

Make an adjacent match before going for any quota cropsies. The way the quotas in this game are set, unless you're extraordinarily lucky, you're not going to have enough turns to get everything you need with simple basic matches. Instead, look for matches beside the cropsies you need. Matching them will boost the value of the ones you're really targeting. This is especially important in cases where a cropsy type is rare or in limited supply.

Keep your targets in mind. I hope this goes without saying, but if a match doesn't boost or harvest a target cropsy or set up a chain, it's not really worth wasting a turn making it. Similarly, once you've reached the quota for a particular target, it's best to stop making matches of that cropsy until the others are filled.

Making matches near the bottom of the play area will benefit you. This is a pretty well-known match-3 strategy, but making matches lower in the field increases your chances of making a combo when incoming blocks come in. Horizontal matches are better than vertical matches, as well. Of course, it's important to prioritize the previous two points, but if you're lucky enough to have a choice, go low and horizontal.

Keep your eyes open for opportunities for special matches, especially five in a row. Matching five cropsies in a row will harvest all of that type of cropsy from the board and usually set off an awesome chain reaction. Other matches greater than three will add points to other cropsies on the board, making it easier to reach your quota, but five in a row is definitely the big prize here, even more so than in Candy Crush Saga [Free]. Don't just look for these kinds of matches by happenstance. Examine the board and try to plan your moves to make them happen.

Photo 1-10-2014, 10 48 23Use your boosters if you need them. It feels so weird to say that about a King game, but Farm Heroes Saga gives you one free use of each booster with a cooldown timer attached. Now, it's a very long cooldown timer, sometimes up to a full day, so don't just use them willy-nilly, but if using a booster is the different between passing a stage or failing it, go for it. Just remember to hang onto them until you're almost finished a stage. You don't want to use them only to fail the stage anyway.

Don't waste your magic beans on the first round against Rancid the Racoon. You'll have to fight Rancid pretty regularly. You do so by collecting a target cropsy to reduce his health to zero. You can use magic beans to give your matches a little more punch, but you should never do so on your first round of any given Rancid stage. Give it at least one play and see if you can manage it without. Particularly the first several times you fight him, spending beans is just a waste. Beans can be earned by clearing stages. The amount you get corresponds with how many stars you earn.

Don't use your gold for anything but unlocking gates. The game gives you 50 gold for free. That will unlock five gates with five gold to spare. You can use gold for things like refilling your lives or replenishing your boosters early, but you absolutely should not do this. The sooner you run out of the gold, the sooner (and more frequently) you'll have to bug people on Facebook to get past those gates.

Photo 1-10-2014, 10 48 38Special Cropsies and Obstacles

Flowers: These are the first special cropsy you'll come across. You need to make matches adjacent to them four times to collect them. They'll remain stationary until you do so, blocking other cropsies off and generally getting in the way. Your best bet with these is to try to make matches such that you're hitting two or more at a time. If you pick them off one at a time, you'll probably run out of moves before you hit your target. If you can set up a chain, each match that falls beside the flower will count towards removing it, making short work of them.

Chicks: Chicks, man, they're a pain in the butt. For these guys you need to match three eggs to make one cracked egg, then match three of those to produce one chick. They're the bane of any level they appear in. Be very careful about how you're matching the eggs initially. Try to match them such that the resulting cracked egg isn't off in a corner somewhere by itself. Match only three at one time. Matching four or five will still produce the same result: one cracked egg. Those wasted eggs have a very real chance of ruining the whole round for you.

Ice: Removing ice is easy enough, you just have to make a match with the cropsy found inside. When you do this, the game will treat it like a regular match but instead of removing the cropsy, only the ice will come off the board, leaving the cropsy behind. You can actually make special combinations with iced cropsies and they'll work, but they'll always leave that last one behind. The game often uses ice to block you from more important goals like flowers or buckets. In these levels, keep in mind that you only need to remove the ice that's in your way. If you get caught up trying to remove all the ice, you're going to fail.

Photo 1-10-2014, 10 48 14Grass: This one is actually a positive all around. Matching cropsies on grass tiles adds to their value. You can also use grass to restore grumpy cropsies, a vital use later in the game. Grass can be created if you have seeds and water simply by swapping them, but you won't see seeds for quite some time. In levels with grass, you should adjust your matching strategy. Rather than going as near to the bottom of the play area as possible with your matches, it's better to make matches near the bottom of the grassy parts. Those extra points are nothing to sneeze at. Unless you have hay fever. Magical hay fever that reacts to digital images of grass. If so, my sympathies, that sounds super inconvenient.

Buckets: The appearance of buckets is approximately where Farm Heroes Saga stops fooling around. When you make enough matches adjacent to them, buckets will spit out a few water cropsies randomly around the field. This might sound awesome, but the presence of a bucket means a couple of things. There's going to be a water cropsy quota and said cropsies are not going to appear naturally in that level. This combination is going to ruin your day a few times. The properties of water buckets can make them friend or foe in equal measures. Since the water they spew randomly overwrites another cropsy, they can mess up your planned matches. If they're in an easily accessible area, you can end up getting flooded with water cropsies and not have enough of the other targets on the board. You'll often have to dig your way through flowers or ice to get at them, but remember you only need to access one side of them to produce water.

Grumpy Cropsies: Hey, vegetables can have bad days, too. Like a person in a bad mood, grumpy cropsies can have a negative effect on those around them. If you make a match with them, the whole lot will become grumpy and you won't get credit. The good news is that you can make a grumpy cropsy happy again with the mood-altering power of grass. If a grumpy cropsy lands on a grass tile, it will change back to a normal cropsy. Otherwise, you'll just have to be careful making matches around these guys.

Hopefully this guide will help you get a leg up on Farm Heroes Saga. It's a pretty fun puzzle game, and it's a bit easier than the other King games, so you should be able to get far with some persistence and these tips. If you've played a lot of other match-3 games, you'll only have to adjust your strategy a little bit to take the points system into account. Happy harvesting!

  • mirrorme

    What is wring with you peoples? How to play(win) the game without spending real money?? And you call this sh** a game once in a while I read this stuff and when I see "How to win" pfff the games use to be for fun not for robbing kids!

    • Holcman

      Games were always about making money. When developers saw how the FTP market was thriving, they saw a way to make more money. Therefore, games like these are made. The fact that they are here means at least SOMEONE out there enjoys it, otherwise the developers would make no money.

    • yippers

      What was Pokemon? Nintendo designers have pretty much publicly said it was designed purely to sell link cables.

      • Kevin Hoebers

        Pokemon isn't made by Nintendo but by Gamefreak developers. And the part of the Link cable is true .

    • rewind

      Yes, it is very much a game. It's a pretty fun one as well.

      People only spend money on a F2P game if they enjoy it. So the games that make a boatload of cash must be fun.

  • Bone16

    Another game too reliant on Facebook. Thanks for the heads up. Pass

    • solinari6

      There is a nearly identical game called farm family that doesn't require you to log into Facebook to proceed

  • webman2k

    I have to say I'm addicted to all of the king games. Really polished and a good challenge. If you have enough friends playing them too, it's fun to compete, and not a burden to ask for help. And considering how much I play them, I don't mind throwing a buck here or there for unlocks.

  • herewegoloopyloo

    I just don't get it. Everyone has infinite lives for these games - just set your your date for tomorrow, back to the game to see lives refreshed, back to date to 'set automatically', back to game. Forever...

  • Incredibleodds

    the only reason I stay on Facebook, really, is to play Farm Heros Saga. I'm stuck at level 62 where I can fill the buckets up and get enough blue drops lined up and I've been trying for days. I have one player who sends me five million requests and I've given her back as many as possible but she NEVER extends any of my requests. Sucks. This is fun for me because I'm retired and have lots of time on my hands.

    • herewegoloopyloo

      Read my post above, then drop out of Farcebook forever!