As fun as Candy Crush Saga is, it can still pose a monumental challenge the further you travel through the huge world of candy. You and Tiffi can’t help everyone all alone so we’ve put together a list of tips to help you traverse the sticky-sweet levels and get closer to victory.

Included in this quick guide is info on what special candies do, strategies for the pesky “Bring Down All The Ingredients” levels and more.

King will continue to put out more difficult levels to beat and while these tips will get you on the right path, they will be harder to execute the further you go. So we welcome you to add on in the comments section below some of the strategies that have worked for you on the higher boards.

Combine special candies.

This may seem elementary to more seasoned players but for newbies, this is a must-learn. Don’t be in a rush to explode a wrapped piece of candy with a striped one. Get them together and combine them to create a mega-blast that will wipe out numerous columns and rows.

What you didn’t know about striped candies.

Striped pieces of candies have more to them than the ability to knock-out a row or column of other sweets. If stripes are horizontal, they blast across and if the stripes are vertical, they blast in that direction. The type of stripe also depends on which way you swiped to create it. If your move was vertical, you’ve got those set of stripes on your shiny new piece of candy and it works the same way horizontally.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself with a Color Bomb (after you’ve matched five like candies together) next to a striped candy. Combine those and every like piece of candy on the level will turn into striped ones and blast in all directions.

Don’t waste turns.

Seeing 40 or more turns might tempt you to swipe away all willy-nilly but think about what you’re doing. Some pieces of jelly need more of a pounding to get rid of and if you have caged pieces to move around, you’re going to need those turns to work with.

Players on higher stages with stubborn pieces like licorice swirls and chocolate squares can testify to playing methodically as opposed to leaving moves to chance. Those turns run out a lot faster than you think.

How lives and extra moves work.

When someone sends you extra lives, you should never add them at the beginning of the game. The only way they will work is if you’re below the default five you get at the start. Once you’re low or out of lives, then go into your mailbox to re-up.

In order to use extra moves, you’ll have to already be playing a level. A ribbon on top of the level icon on the map indicates that there are bonus moves available.

How to get all three stars.

Have you wondered why sometimes you get three stars and other times you get only two? There is a point requirement for the extra star that pops up just before you start a level. While you play, you’ll notice a meter on the side of the window that fills up as you progress. Once you’ve hit the green, that last star is yours for the taking.

Don’t be afraid to purchase charms.

There’s nothing to prove here, Candy Crush Saga is hard. If you have the 17 bucks to spare, go ahead and buy a charm like the Lollipop Hammer. Once you buy them, they’re yours to keep so think of it as an investment instead of a mere consumable.

A good way to rack up points is to use the “+5” candies when you see them on certain levels. Also getting a Sugar Rush (completing the level) with leftover moves with call in the candy fish to nibble at remaining candies on the board, boosting your points. Mind you, it gets a lot tougher to get the green star in higher levels so don’t trip if you don’t nail it the first time around.

Figure out a way to get two Color Bombs together.

The most epic move in Candy Crush Saga is when you combine two Color Bombs together. The result of the match will zap everything on the entire board giving you a massive bump in points with pieces of candied jelly and licorice cages flying everywhere. Think of the move akin to Haley’s Comet. You won’t see it a lot but when you do, it’s magical.

Go vertical for fruit and nuts.

Many players get stuck trying to bring down the cherries and hazelnuts on the levels where you’re tasked to bring down the ingredients. The best approach is to create as many vertical drops as you can so that you have as many ingredients on the board as possible. Then, concentrated on opening up holes to bring them down. If you’re able to create special candies then cool but don’t stress it. Your moves should all work towards getting the fruit and nuts off the screen.

Switch platforms for more lives.

At the time of this writing, if you run out of lives on the mobile version and then switch to the Facebook desktop version, you’ll start out fresh with a batch of new lives. Who knows when King will put the squash on that and make us revert to waiting like a crackhead on county check day or begging our Facebook friends to hook us up.

Forget about the hints, use your own strategy.

If you don’t make a move for a while, possible matches will flash to let you know where they are. Most times they don’t amount to diddly squat. Don’t get desperate, save your turn for a move that will really count. Look away from the screen for a minute or two, come back with fresh eyes and you will almost always see a move you missed the first time.