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GungHo Online

Review: Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition

May 14 // Chris Carter
Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition (3DS)Developer: GungHo Online EntertainmentPublisher: GungHo Online Entertainment (JP) / Nintendo (EU, US)Released: April 29, 2015 (JP) / May 8, 2015 (EU) / May 22, 2015 (US)MSRP: $29.99 It's not just a checkmark on the side of a game box -- this 3DS package really is two full games in one. You'll get the traditional Puzzle & Dragons experience with Z, as well as a Super Mario Bros.-centric romp. But even the former feels like it was severely influenced by Nintendo, which is definitely a good thing. In the world of Z, Dragon Tamers roam the land in search of adventure, much like Pokémon Trainers. Hell, it even has the option to choose between a male and female protagonist, and the story starts off in your house with a conversation with your mom. It gets even more on the nose from there with a "D-Gear" instead of a Pokédex, and the presentation of red, blue, and green monsters as your first party members. Truth be told, despite how familiar this setup is, and how much the generic story drags at times, it's far more endearing than the gambling nature of the free-to-play mobile game. The events of the story are set in motion by a massive earthquake from the evil organization Team Rocket Paradox, but the world is more captivating than the actual characters or events involved -- odds are you'll be skipping a lot of dialogue. Thankfully, the creature designs in Puzzle & Dragons are interesting to fight and discover, as they look wholly unique, and even while battling static monsters with just a few animations on-screen the game still has a ton of charm. If you do happen to dig the story though, you'll quickly suffer a degree of disappointment, as it takes a backseat in favor of dungeon crawling and constant battling. [embed]291810:58494:0[/embed] Remember, the core principle is to match three orbs on a grid to damage your enemies. You'll drag and drop them on the bottom screen using your stylus, and said orbs will initiate attacks based on elements that you match. So for instance, a simple activation of three fire orbs will kick off a small fire attack from your appropriate party members, but a huge combo of red and blue will see a stronger counter from multiple party members. Matching more than three will also queue up more devastating attacks, and so on -- you've seen this before. Puzzle & Dragons does have a few nuances in place to differentiate itself though, like an active time gauge to keep you on your toes (allowing you to create combos while you're at it), the ability to target specific enemies with the D-pad, and a rock-paper-scissors mechanic with the elements involved. It also has a light amount of party building, as the best way to succeed is to diversify your setup to allow the most coverage in terms of orb attacks. Each character also has a super that can be used every so often, like a direct-damage power or an ability to change up colors of specific orbs. It's not incredibly deep, but there's some meat to it, especially when you pick up more characters and start making decisions on who to use, as well as who to upgrade, and who to sacrifice to make existing party members stronger. As it turns out, the Super Mario Bros. portion of the game is fairly remedial. If you've never played a match-three before or have children, you'll want to play this one first. It has the same basic gameplay, but with a new "story" that involves Mario and the rest of the Mushroom Kingdom, including the lovable Koopa Kids. As usual the plot is fast-tracked here, with Bowser once again capturing Peach due to the power of "mysterious orbs" from the P & D franchise. That swift pace carries on throughout the experience, and it's rather jarring to go from the sprawling Z to this.Remedial as it may be, it has some challenging spots, and it's still worth playing if you dig puzzle games. The thrill of building a party is still present, and although the world isn't all that engaging (it feels as lifeless as the first "New" game on DS), most Nintendo fans won't pass up the chance to fight and capture classic characters like Goombas or Piranha Plants. It's disappointing that the Mario part isn't as fleshed out, but it's more excusable when you add in the fact that the core Z experience is worth the price of entry alone.Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition isn't likely to wow anyone, but it's a pretty comprehensive package that would make a great gift to any match-three addict. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Puzzle & Dragons review photo
Two games in one
Puzzle & Dragons came out some time ago in 2012, and has since taken the world by storm. Although its origins started as a humble match-three puzzle game, GungGo Online cleverly added in slot machine-like addictive qualit...

Grandia II photo
Grandia II

GungHo: Dreamcast RPG Grandia II coming to Steam


With improved visuals
May 12
// Kyle MacGregor
Grandia II is on its way back to PC with a Steam release, GungHo Online just announced. A remastered version of classic Dreamcast role-playing game is in the cards, complete with shiny new HD visuals, keyboard and gamepad sup...
Game Arts photo
Game Arts

Should GungHo bring back Grandia and Lunar?


The company is gauging interest in porting the Game Arts catalog to PC
Apr 16
// Jordan Devore
GungHo Online Entertainment America wants to know which Game Arts titles it should port to PC. Grandia. Lunar. Uhh, Thexder. The list goes on. Problem is, there's only enough room in this survey for one choice, so you've got ...

Final Fantasy Pazudora photo
Final Fantasy Pazudora

Final Fantasy x Puzzle & Dragons crossover unveiled


HNNNNNNNNG!
Feb 20
// Kyle MacGregor
GungHo is now collaborating with Square Enix to unite the worlds of Final Fantasy and Puzzle & Dragons. That's about all we know at the moment, but we'll update you when there's more to tell. Final Fantasy x Puzzle & Dragons [GungHo Online via 4Gamer]
Pazudora: Super Mario Ed. photo
Pazudora: Super Mario Ed.

Puzzle & Dragons: Mario Bros. Edition is damn sexy


GungHo gives us another peek at its upcoming role-playing puzzle game
Feb 20
// Kyle MacGregor
Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, the exciting new collaboration between Nintendo and GungHo Online, is coming west this May and I really couldn't be more excited. As a longtime "Pazudora" addict, it's somethi...
Puzzle & Dragons Z photo
Puzzle & Dragons Z

GungHo: Puzzle & Dragons Z is still coming west


'Stay tuned!'
Jan 13
// Kyle MacGregor
Puzzle & Dragons Z is still coming west, you know. When exactly? Dunno. Sometime. Eventually. Following the unveiling of Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, many were beginning to wonder about the fate of Gun...
Puzzle & Dragons photo
Puzzle & Dragons

Puzzle & Dragons downloads now exceed 41 million


GungHo's mobile sensation steams ahead
Jan 10
// Kyle MacGregor
Puzzle & Dragons has now surpassed 41 million downloads worldwide, more than 6 million of which came out of North America, publisher GungHo Online announced this week. The overall figure has increased from 37 million in A...
Mario x Puzzle & Dragons photo
Mario x Puzzle & Dragons

Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition will make Nintendo a lot of money


It was bound to happen eventually
Jan 07
// Jordan Devore
Leave it to Mario and co. to get me interested in the Japanese mobile sensation Puzzle & Dragons. I mean, that Fist of the North Star tie-in had my curiosity, but not like this. Nintendo and GungHo Online are bringing Pu...
Let it Die photo
Let it Die

Grasshopper's PS4 Let it Die trailer


Strangle naked men
Sep 01
// Steven Hansen
The next game from Grasshopper and Suda 51, Let it Die, left a lot of questions unanswered at E3 this year. And I miss Lily Bergamo, which I was more excited about. This TGS trailer offers a frenetic, but more concrete look at the free-to-play PS4 game, which is sort of positioning itself as a multiplayer Manhunt. A lot of strangulation of dudes in their underwear.  
Puzzle & Dragons photo
Puzzle & Dragons

Puzzle & Dragons eclipses 30 million downloads in Japan


GungHo's puzzle RPG is popular -- really, really popular.
Aug 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Puzzle & Dragons has now surpassed 30 million downloads in Japan, GungHo Online Entertainment has announced. While that's a pretty impressive figure by any measure, it's especially remarkable when considering the country ...
Puzzle & Dragons W photo
Puzzle & Dragons W

Puzzle & Dragons W releases in Japan on July 29


Puzzlin', puzzlin', with a dragon...
Jul 23
// Brittany Vincent
Puzzles & Dragons W, an updated version of Puzzles & Dragons Z, will release in Japan on July 29, according to GungHo Online Entertainment. Puzzles & Dragons W will include both the original Puzzle and Dragons mod...
Puzzle & Dragons 3DS photo
Puzzle & Dragons 3DS

Puzzle & Dragons Z ships over 1.5 million on 3DS


Just another victory for the opium-laced Pokémon-Bejeweled hybrid
Jul 17
// Kyle MacGregor
Puzzle & Dragons Z shipments have exceeded the 1.5 million mark, GungHo Online announced today. The Nintendo 3DS iteration of GungHo Online's trendy role-playing puzzle game launched last December, topping charts in its o...
Grasshopper's new thing photo
Grasshopper's new thing

Suda51's PS4 exclusive Let it Die: Free to play, coming 2015


Some more details and a lot of things still unclear
Jun 10
// Steven Hansen
Last night, Sony announced the survival-themed Let it Die from Suda51's Grasshopper Manufacture. As has been the case with recent Grasshopper titles, Suda is serving as executive director, not main game director, though he i...
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GungHo releases 5 new Japanese PlayStation imports on PSN


Pinball, sims, and battlesuits
May 23
// Dale North
GungHo Online has been quietly bringing over classic Japanese PS1 games for some time now. A new batch of five has just come down the line. These come in their original form, unaltered, so be sure you want them before you plu...
Tokyo 23-Ku Seifuku Wars photo
Tokyo 23-Ku Seifuku Wars

GungHo bringing six more Japanese PS1 classics to PSN


Tokyo 23-Ku Seifuku Wars!!!
May 12
// Steven Hansen
Better brush up on your Japanese. GungHo is bringing six more Japanese PS1 games -- still in Japanese -- to the PSN, at $6 a pop. You may be able to get by with minimal language knowledge with some of them, but you might find...
Ragnarok Odyssey Ace photo
Ragnarok Odyssey Ace

Ragnarok Odyssey Ace receives demo, DLC in May


Try before you buy!
Apr 30
// Kyle MacGregor
Still not totally sold on Ragnarok Odyssey Ace? Well then, pensive reader, it might delight you to hear that XSEED has a demo up its sleeve ready to play on May 13. In the meantime, the action role-playing game is being kitte...
Ragnarok Odyssey Europe photo
Ragnarok Odyssey Europe

Ragnarok Odyssey Ace wanders to Europe next week


Australia and New Zealand too!
Apr 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Ragnarok Odyssey Ace completes its worldwide tour next week, as the PlayStation 3 and Vita action role-playing game arrives in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand on April 30. An enhanced version of one of the Vita's earl...
Ragnarok ACE photo
Ragnarok ACE

Ragnarok Odyssey Ace coming to PS3 & Vita April 1


Not a joke
Feb 19
// Steven Hansen
Ragnarok Odyssey, which Jim really liked, came to the Vita in 2012. The Vita's Monster Hunter alternate got a bit of a rebuild, Ragnarok Odyssey Ace, with a bunch of new content and a PS3 port. Ace, which we've been seeing fo...
Japanese charts photo
Japanese charts

Wii U sells 109K, Puzzle & Dragons Z tops charts in Japan


Things are looking up!
Dec 26
// Kyle MacGregor
Puzzle & Dragons Z sold more than 800,000 units in the fortnight following its release in Japan, according to data obtained by tracking authority Media Create. The role-playing hybrid secured the premier spot atop the nat...
Ragnarok Online photo
Ragnarok Online

Ragnarok Online Elemental Tunes delivers large music fix


Three discs of music, including arrangements by top Japanese composers
Dec 26
// Jayson Napolitano
After our look at the Ragnarok Online 10th Anniversary Package last week, I wanted to turn my attention to this year’s special release, dedicated entirely to the music of Ragnarok Online. Elemental Tunes features f...
Puzzles & Dragons photo
Puzzles & Dragons

More Batman: Arkham Origins headed to Puzzle & Dragons


Nana nana nana nana more Dragons
Dec 22
// Wesley Ruscher
A second in-game collaboration between Batman: Arkham Origins and Puzzles & Dragons is set to burst, beginning tomorrow, December 23. Like the previous event, 11 characters -- from the world of Arkham Origins --...
Puzzle & Dragons photo
Puzzle & Dragons

A former Square Enix composer worked on Puzzle & Dragons


A published soundtrack album comes with rockin' remixes
Dec 22
// Jayson Napolitano
So what’s the big stink about Puzzle & Dragons? I was fascinated by the title before it blew up into a huge success for Japanese publisher GungHo, mainly because of Romancing SaGa/Culdcept composer Kenji Ito’s...
XSEED photo
XSEED

Ragnarok Odyssey Ace is looking just lovely on PS3, Vita


GungHo role-playing game set for early 2014 release
Dec 21
// Kyle MacGregor
'Twas the weekend before Christmas, when all through the house... you get to look at Ragnarok Odyssey Ace screenshots now. Because what else could there possibly be to do on a lazy Saturday afternoon? The upcoming role-playin...
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Ragnarok Online 10th anniversary box has lots to look at


Playing cards, key chain, mouse pad, music CD and more
Dec 19
// Jayson Napolitano
We just featured an issue of Note Worthy last week, but I thought the elaborate packaging and contents that GungHo put into the Ragnarok Online 10th Anniversary Package last year deserved its own moment in the spotlight. It i...
Puzzle & Dragons photo
Puzzle & Dragons

Sigh, Puzzle & Dragons now has Angry Birds dungeons


And I hate everything
Nov 18
// Kyle MacGregor
The plague that is Angry Birds is infecting everything. Even the cocaine-coated fusion of Pokemon and Bejeweled that is Puzzle & Dragons cannot resist the avian epidemic. The feverishly popular role-playing...
Puzzles & Dragons photo
Puzzles & Dragons

Angry Birds heads south to Puzzles & Dragons this month


This collaboration makes a little more sense
Nov 10
// Wesley Ruscher
Hot off their Batman: Arkham Origins crossover, GungHo Online Entertainment has landed another collaboration that makes a little more sense for their addictive dungeon-crawling puzzler. Beginning November 18, till December 1,...
Puzzle & Dragons photo
Puzzle & Dragons

Puzzle & Dragons exceeds 2 million downloads in America


GungHo's puzzle role-player gaining traction in the West
Nov 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Puzzle & Dragons has eclipsed the two million download mark in North America, GungHo Online Entertainment has announced. The opium-infused synthesis of Pokémon and Bejeweled has now claimed the souls of more t...
Puzzles & Dragons photo
Puzzles & Dragons

Holy GungHo Batman! Arkham Origins in Puzzles & Dragons


Nana nana nana nana Dragons
Nov 02
// Wesley Ruscher
GungHo Online Entertainment and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have teamed up to unleash one of the wildest collaborations in recent memory. Joining the Puzzles & Dragons fold, until November 12, is none other tha...
XSEED photo
XSEED

XSEED announces Ragnarok Odyssey Ace for 2014 release


Enhanced role-player expected to drop sometime early next year
Oct 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Ragnarok Odyssey Ace is making the voyage across the Pacific early next year, XSEED has announced. The enhanced role-playing game from Lunar developer Game Arts and Puzzle & Dragons publisher GungHo Online brandishes an a...
Mobile photo
Mobile

SoftBank, GungHo pay $1.5B for control of Supercell


That free-to-play gaming money
Oct 15
// Jordan Devore
Telecommunications company SoftBank and Puzzle & Dragons developer GungHo have spent $1.5 billion for a controlling interest in Supercell, the free-to-play studio behind Clash of Clans. The companies are kicking in 80 and...

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