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Safari Escape
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Safari Escape

Release Date:  2014
Publisher:  Qublix
Developer:  Qublix
Genre:  Puzzle
Sponsor:

Safari Escape is a new puzzle game that faithfully sticks to the formula of King’s hit puzzle game Pet Rescue Saga. Players need to destroy groups of blocks of the same color with the goal of letting animals to the bottom of the screen.

The game is developed by Qublix behind social games like Bubble Age, Farkle Blitz,Solitaire Tales, Crush City, etc..

Review:

Safari Escape is a new puzzle game from Qublix that you can play through Facebook. At first glance, it’s almost exactly like Pet Rescue Saga from King. Players are tasked with removing groups of matching blocks to slowly lower baby animals to the bottom of the screen. In any case, its Facebook user base is growing fast enough for me to wonder what was unique about Safari Escape and if it was worth getting into.

The whole game revolves around a brief but adorable story of Emma, the best park ranger ever. She loves all the cuddly, wide-eyed baby animals and they love her back! Things were peachy until a portly yellow-gloved poacher appeared and began removing the babies from their homes. It’s now up to Emma to save the day with nothing but her wits and trusty boomerang.

As it turns out, that translates to baby animals (lions, hippos, zebras, etc.) sitting atop tall stacks of colorful blocks. Emma stands on one side of the screen, the nasty poacher on the other. As a player, you simply click on groups of touching blocks that are the same color. As long as the group contains three or more blocks, all of them are destroyed in a single move. You’ve got 30 or so moves to get all the babies down to the bottom of the screen, or else the poacher runs away with a nasty cackle and a netful of darling animals. Oh, and there’s one more thing: the poacher is constantly adding new blocks to the bottom of the screen. Ghostly blocks slowly extend along the bottom until the entire row is filled, at which point the whole row materializes and pushes the existing blocks upward. You can force new rows to appear instantly by hitting the spacebar.

Requiring a group to have three blocks (instead of two) and having new blocks constantly being added to the bottom are the two major differences between this and Pet Rescue Saga. They seem minor, but they add up to make Safari Escape a pretty different game. You can earn up to three stars on each level, based on your final score. That said, you don’t get any bonus points for having leftover moves, so theoretically you want to use up as many moves as it takes to get a three-star score, even if you could beat the level in just a few moves. In practice, once you get to level 10 or so, you’ll be struggling just to beat the level and the three-star score is completely beyond reach unless you pay in-game coins for a couple of powerups. It doesn’t hurt your score or move count to force the poacher to make new rows, so you’ll often find yourself tapping the spacebar to open up more possibilities. By itself, bumping the minimum match size up to three makes a huge difference in how hard the game is.

So, there are enough differences to make Safari Escape feel like a different game, but it still does plenty to make it just like Pet Rescue Saga, even outside the basic block-matching mechanic. The levels are spread out across a map, you lose a life if you fail a level, and the difficulty level still ramps up super quickly (you’ll start failing regularly around level 16). As is the case in basically all of today’s Facebook puzzlers, lives either recover on their own over time, or you can beg your friends to send you some. Interestingly, players get unlimited lives for their first 24 hours of play. I’ve never seen a game offer that grace period before, but I think it’s a really interesting tactic for trying to get new players into the game. I for one think we’re going to see a lot more of it over the next year or two.

Two in-game currencies serve to let you purchase boosters and other power-ups. The boosters are purchased and activated right before starting a level. Instead of being consumable items you can use whenever you want, having a booster like the Color Bomb enabled just means that there’s a random chance during the entire level that Color Bombs will spawn among the blocks. Color Bombs, Star Bombs, and Radius Bombs all clear out a bunch of blocks in different patterns. The other booster is a one-time increase to your move count for that level. These boosters cost coins and they’re all but necessary if you want to three-star levels. I can only imagine that 100 levels in, they’re going to be practically necessary just to beat a level.

The other types of power-ups are more powerful, but they cost in-game cash instead of coins. They can be used anytime during a level, but they must be purchased every time they are used. These include the Parachute that instantly saves a random baby and the Boomerang that stuns the poacher for a few moves. Of course, both coins and cash can be bought with cash from the real world.

Safari Escape is not going to win any prizes for its presentation. Frankly, it’s ugly, with dorky characters and a liberal application of lazy gradients everywhere. The sound effects are pretty cheesy too. The music isn’t awful, but it’s not particularly notable either. Safari Escape just doesn’t look or sound nearly as pretty as some of its competition (like 6waves’ Epic series or King’s Saga series). Still, Safari Escape has something going for it. Ultimately, it’s easy to pick up, fun to play, and hard to put down. It’s not like it has some deep strategic depth, but it provides exactly what players are going to expect from it: a simple way to sit down, relax, and enjoy a half hour of downtime without any pressure. If super casual puzzle games aren’t your thing, there’s no way you’re going to like this one. On the other hand, if you’re stuck on a super hard level in whatever puzzle game you’re into right now, Safari Escape may be a great game to turn to after you run out of lives.

8 Comments on Safari Escape

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  1. Sandi Van B. says:

    I am on level 200 and have received 3 stars, and now it won't let me go any further. It did not indicate this was all the further I could go in this game. Has anybody else got past level 200?

  2. Lyn Arbez says:

    I'm at level 300 and can't go further either! What gives?

  3. Carmen says:

    What can I do to pass to level 301?

  4. Laura says:

    I am on level 300 and it wont let me go any further….Whats up with that

  5. Kathy Miller says:

    I am stuck at level 300 and can go no further. what happens next?

  6. kelly says:

    Is there levels after 300? If there isn’t let me know so I can take the app off my phone ty

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