In July of 2017, Crunch Time was published by a company called Straw Dog. This was a bit ironic considering the game is focused solely Simon’s Cat, a web series about a very hungry cat. A spritely easily drawn cat and his friends want food of course and in this puzzle game, the goal is to feed Simon and his friends different colored treats and fight neighborhood animal villains along the way.

Compared to other puzzle games like Candy Crush, Bejeweled and Gardenscapes. Crunch Time provides a simple story. A big bad scary crow steals your bag of treats and now the mission becomes to fight the bird and still maintain a happy environment while feeding everyone. Squirrels, dogs and even moles will try to get in your way as you puzzle your way through each level that increasingly get harder and harder. The only difference between this type of puzzle game is how the puzzles are played.

Each puzzle is based on combinations of 3 or more treats in a row. This is not like other games where only three items can be played at a time. Players will have to think about the longest chains they can make while sliding their finger across the board in one smooth motion. Like most games, there is a limited number of moves you can use to reach your goals. If you fail to feed everyone then you can try over with your five lives. Luckily if you have friends that can join you, then there are more opportunities to play. Since every move counts, the longest chains of cat treats create bigger scores which lead to a possible three-star level. Every ending gives a small gif of one of the cats either failing or winning against attacking the big bad crow which creates a feeling of competitiveness because everyone wants to be better including me.

Power ups and unique moves are not lost in this game. Almost every two or three levels reveals a new item that can be used to clear your board and they come frequently to help you out. Among these items, the gift box that shows up about every 10 levels, there is an opportunity to get an unlimited life timer. So far, I have received this at least 4 times, which is more than I’ve ever received in any other game I play, so the addiction goes on.

Tournaments are held with a specific time limit. Sometimes the time limit is 24 hours to collect as many stars as possible and see where you rank in order to get coins that can be traded for power ups or lives. This is especially helpful when reaching the harder levels. Boss fights against the neighborhood dog and pesky squirrels and moles can be challenging but passable once you get use to how to fight back. Even though the levels seem pretty easy and keep me motivated to keep playing since I don’t get stuck as often as other games, there are some minor things that I would rather cut back on.

Crunch Time has cute characters but there seem to be too many of them dishing out special moves too often. Even at level 50 I still discover more things to use but I anticipate they will die down soon. As with most games as well, upon loading the game up every time, it would be nice to have less pop-ups trying to get me to play my daily level and join other games. Another nice thing to have less of would be the load time it takes to get started on my level and the load time it takes to get “special treats” put on the board after making really long chains. This only seems to slow down my next move which can screw me up when everything starts to shuffle on the board.

Overall, I recommend the game to people that like any of the puzzle games mentioned above. The play style is different so the challenge to finish each level is unique. Every level present a different challenge too so there is a small chance of getting bored and moving on to something different as well. Also, the game is free so that alone is a bonus. Crunch Time is available on most mobile platforms and the variety will test your brain for a long time.