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Puzzle and Dragons

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...

Puzzle & Dragons 3DS photo
Puzzle & Dragons 3DS

If the demo is anything to go by, Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition is great


Expect thoughts on the final version at launch
Apr 30
// Chris Carter
Free-to-play games often have a bad reputation, especially on the mobile platform. Puzzle & Dragons is one such game to rise to the occasion, offering up a good amount of gameplay for free, and has completely dominat...
Final Fantasy photo
Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy bosses make an appearance in Puzzle & Dragons


Yay Cloud of Darkness
Apr 22
// Chris Carter
Puzzle & Dragons' crossover power cannot be stopped. In addition to Squall and Ace making their way into GungHo's puzzler, more Final Fantasy characters are invading the game -- specifically, a few final bosses. Clou...
Puzzle & Dragon photo
Puzzle & Dragon

3DS players get a lot of Puzzle & Dragons on May 22


Direct keeps a rollin'
Apr 01
// Brett Makedonski
Puzzle & Dragons fans have a lot to look forward to in the near future. Nintendo revealed at this afternoon's Direct that Puzzle & Dragons Z and Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition ...

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
The Japanese sensation on Nintendo consoles
When Nintendo announced the New Super Mario Bros. version of Puzzle & Dragons for the 3DS, reports came in that their stock values skyrocketed. Puzzle & Dragons is a huge hit on mobile devices in Japan, much like Can...

Puzzle & Dragons photo
Puzzle & Dragons

Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition looks awesome, coming in May


Recruit enemy allies
Jan 14
// Chris Carter
Nintendo has elaborated a bit on its partnership with the Puzzle & Dragons team, as well as the localization information for this year. Puzzle & Dragons Z and the new Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition will be bundled together for 3DS. The Mario version will have a traditional world map feature. It will arrive in May 2015.
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...
ATATATATATA photo
ATATATATATA

Puzzle & Dragons Fist of the North Star crossover?


Yes, please!
Nov 26
// Kyle MacGregor
Puzzle & Dragons, the drug-laced mobile mashup of Pokémon and Bejeweled, is joining forces with classic 80s anime Fist of the North Star, GungHo Online has announced. The publisher didn't pass along many other details, let alone any release date. Just know that you're already dead. ATATATATATA!
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 PokÚmon-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...
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...
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...
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...
 photo

TGS: She doesn't look very Gung Ho about her job


But Puzzle & Dragons is huge here
Sep 20
// Dale North
Gung Ho? See what I did there?  This booth attendant doesn't look very gung ho about having to stand there with a control info card, but she should be as mobile free-to-play title Puzzle & Dragons is huge here i...

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