If you're a fan of mobile games, you’ve at least heard of Puzzle & Dragons, GungHo Online Entertainment's highly addictive match-three puzzle smash hit. In this title, you match up pieces on a grid as quickly as possible during battles, as you do more damage to enemies and eventually open up a world with more creatures to interact with. The better you are at the game, the more you're able to create a customized team.
With the game’s success (it made hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide), it should be no surprise that Nintendo made note of the appeal and offered an interesting concept where the Puzzle & Dragons universe collides with Mario's. The end result, Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Edition, will make its way to the Nintendo 3DS this May.
The core mechanics haven’t changed much, as you guide Mario through a series of battles against characters sent by Bowser, including winged Koopa Troopas, bothersome Goombas and more dangerous enemies. The more you continue onward, the more you'll be able to open up your arsenal, which will come in handy as you face tougher bosses, such as Boom Boom and the angry Koopas. Yes, you'll eventually come face-to-face with Bowser as well.
Mario's appeared in puzzle games before (like Dr. Mario), but Puzzle & Dragons' has wider appeal. Solo players will be able to engage in battles against others, earning power-ups and eventually gaining access to new fighters. Meanwhile, there's sure to be a multiplayer aspect to the game, where players can log in to Nintendo Network (or find a friend locally) and compete in battles for bragging rights.
Gameplay should be easy to grasp. Similar to the original Puzzle & Dragons games, Super Mario Edition will feature touchscreen controls, so you can click on pieces and move them around with ease, and possibly set up combos to do even more damage to enemies. The more successful the combo, the more damage you deal.
As for differences between the characters, Nintendo hasn't detailed who will be able to do what. However, it's likely that each character will have special attacks, such as Bowser being able to spit flame breath, or Mario unleashing some fireballs. We'll learn more about this over the next few months. Since it's set up as a role-playing game, you’ll probably power-up your character and unleash new attacks in the process. We'll learn more about this over the next few months.
On top of the core Super Mario Edition, the package will also include a fun little bonus – the original game that started it all on the 3DS, Puzzle & Dragons Z. This game will bring over characters from the original mobile release, along with new challengers to take on over the course of the quest. The gameplay remains the same – match three on an enclosed grid while performing combos and special attacks to hurt enemies – but the appeal will no doubt be there for those who want to learn more about the series' origins. On top of that, online play should be included, so players can battle each other worldwide.
On top of that, both games should be quite eye-pleasing, with a character display up top, showing you who you're facing off against, and an easily accessible grid on the bottom, where you can match three to your heart's content. Fans of Mario should be pleased to see many elements taken from that character's universe – a few enemies, like the sea-based ones from the original NES game, may even have you feeling nostalgic.
Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Edition should no doubt be a huge draw when it comes out this summer. The inclusion of the original Puzzle & Dragons Z will add value, giving you even more opportunities to battle against friends and would-be monsters.
We'll return with more strategies and tips for the game closer to its May 2015 release.