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More candy-matching fun with freemium road blocks

Candy Crush Soda Saga launched this morning adding another freemium game to King's arsenal. It's a lot of fun with new challenges, but if you don't want to spend your money, you'll have to wait.

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Complete challenges to move forward on the map. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Candy Crush Soda Saga (iOS|Android) is available today, and this version is a worthy sequel to the original Candy Crush Saga (iOS|Android), but it still has the same (crushing?) freemium model.

Candy Crush Saga originally came out in late 2012 and quickly became a hit for its simple and addictive gameplay. The sequel should be a natural progression for fans of the original game, with mostly the same gameplay and more ways to match to go for big points.

Using the tried and true formula from the original game, Candy Crush Soda Saga has you matching and combining candies to clear the board of various sweets, all the while encouraging you as you play. New challenges include clearing candies to release gummi bears, soda that has you playing upside-down (because things float upward in liquids), and new candy combos that clear out more of the board.

Just like the original, there are tons of levels -- over 140 at the time of launch -- and developer King will probably continue to add levels every few weeks like it did with Candy Crush Saga.

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You'll need use every trick at your disposal to avoid running out of moves. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

I've been playing the game for a few days and it's definitely addictive with its bright colors and sounds, but it only takes a few games before you see the freemium model rear its ugly head. Yes, just like Candy Crush Saga, you get a certain number of moves before you either have to wait, or bother your Facebook friends to give you more lives.

The way I got by was to put the game down for a while and then come back later, but bigger fans of the game (and especially children) might not have that kind of patience. In that case, you're either going to become the person who messages people on Facebook for more moves, or you're going to spend real money just to keep playing.

Overall, I think this download is a worthy sequel to the original game with new challenges and more of the same candy-matching gameplay. If you can stomach the freemium model, Candy Crush Soda Saga is a great casual game, but if you can't, it probably won't stay on your home screen for long.