Puzzle & Dragons is a casual mobile game developed by GungHo Online. It is part puzzle game, part dungeon crawling RPG, and part monster-collecting adventure. I have been a daily active user for over two weeks, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this game’s delightful collection system, as well as how easily it can be picked up and put down.
The player sets up a profile, and is greeted each day with rewards for consecutive daily logins, as well as banners advertising the latest daily dungeon. The interface is very user-friendly, though a bit childish with its blocky text and bright colors.
Combat involves 3-in-a-line orb matching, with the matching of a certain type of orb empowering your monsters of that type to attack. Monsters have special moves, such as stalling time or transforming all orbs of a certain element, which allows for some dexterous combining. Some of the complicated moves can be exhilarating; having to slash your finger about the screen in an almost artful sequence, constrained by time.
The collection aspect of Puzzle & Dragons is exciting, which is saying a lot given the current dissemination of the genre in mobile games. Pulling the handle of the “Rare Egg Machine” after accumulating enough magic stones to use it is always suspenseful and satisfying.
Some of the most powerful monsters are actually gods pulled from a plethora of real-world pantheons, reimagined in a cute, dramatic anime style. The Greek Zeus, Norse Loki, Egyptian Isis and Japanese Amaterasu are just a few of the collectable gods. Other types of mythical figures and famous monsters are included as well.
My only qualms are that many of the 760+ monsters are multi-elemental clones with the same move and similar stats. Also, the dungeons start to feel repetitive, only changing in color.
Still, I’d give the game an 8 out of 10. It has an enticing collection system, it’s not too addictive, and true free-to-play is actually enjoyable. No wonder it has garnered 13 million downloads in Japan alone, showing that the “Gotta catch ‘em all” mentality is still effectively infectious.