A few weeks ago we published a first look at the popular Puzzle & Dragons series, making its debut on the 3DS in a combo pack featuring both Puzzle & Dragons Z and a specially themed Super Mario Edition, with a number of familiar friends and foes from the Mushroom Kingdom. No matter which version you choose, you'll find plenty of addicting puzzle action, as you align magical items in rows of three or more to damage enemies while acquiring special attacks.

Before diving into these entertaining games, here are some tips to help you get started.

What is Puzzle & Dragons?

In case you've never seen the mobile effort, Puzzle & Dragons is a match-three game where you move around pieces at will, rather than one slot over like in previous games like in Candy Crush Saga. You place them anywhere on the board.

There's a catch. It's based around a battle system where you take turns against enemies. Each move is a turn. Once that turn is up, the enemies on-screen are free to attack. That's why it's important to make the most from these turns.

There are two games included in this Puzzle & Dragons package. Z is a traditional Puzzle & Dragons adventure, similar in tone to the original mobile game. The Super Mario Bros. Edition is essentially the same game but with a Mario skin and characters from the Nintendo universe. Both use similar tactics, but have their own separate adventures.

Take Your Time with Combos

Don’t rush to make your moves. Instead, analyze the game board and try to line up puzzle pieces so four or five are aligned. This will help put more power behind your attacks while at the same time setting up more combos as pieces drop into place. The higher combo you achieve, the more damage you’ll do.

In addition, when lining up pieces, put them together in such a way that you impact your opponent. You'll see things color-coded with a familiar piece on the board, and if you align that piece in three or more, you'll be able to hit them harder with a similarly colored ally on your team. This will create greater damage, and as a result, wipe them out in a much quicker fashion. Make sure you line up attacks that will do the most harm while keeping combos in mind.

Also, watch out for glowing orbs. Using these in a match-three fashion will unleash a special attack that hurts everyone on-screen, despite their color-coding. When these come up, don't hesitate! Match them as quickly as possible.

Bosses require more hits to bring down. Practice makes perfect, so time your attacks carefully and see which ones work best for you.

Create the Best Team

When it comes to creating a team of characters to help you in battle, there are two factors to consider, the first being strength. The stronger characters available in either game will help do more damage to opponents, especially those with similar colors to them. However, it also helps to have some diversity. Don't create one team of red warriors to back you up. Include other colors as well, even low level ones.

Balance is important, with characters helping you evolve eggs and other items you pick up in the game. By combining their strength with weaker characters, they will become stronger, and that will help your team in the later stages when enemies pack a greater punch.

With Z, try to experiment with different monsters and humans. They have quite a bit to offer and some may surprise you. As for Super Mario Bros. Edition, make sure you have at least one Koopa and one Goomba on your team. Each of these characters can strike different enemies (even their own kind), so you're ready for any given situation.

Evolution and balance pay off with the right team, no matter which Puzzle & Dragons game you play. Experiment, and don't be afraid to combine forces with a weaker character to create a better one. You might build some superstars in the process!

Don't Forget to Replenish Lost Health

Over the course of each battle, you'll notice an energy bar that depletes with each attack you receive. You'll want to make sure this remains topped off, because once it hits zero, you're done for and will have to restart the current stage from the beginning.

While playing you will see hearts scattered across each stage, and if you connect three or more you’ll be able to regain health. Even if this costs you a turn in battle, these are vital to staying in the fight, so make sure you take the time to fill your health in-between attacks.

Use Special Techniques

Want to put the big hurt on your enemies? Don't be afraid to call your allies. Once they're charged up, you can select Skills and have one of your teammates execute a special attack. These vary depending on the teammate, but they come in handy while trying to recover health, or don't have a strong enough attack on the board to hurt your adversary.

These vary based upon character, like the Goomba stomp attack or a Koopa using its shell to hit multiple foes. Be sure to experiment with each of these and see what they can do for you, but don't let them go to waste. Save them for when multiple foes are on-screen, so you can dish out damage equally.

Don't go overkill with these attacks. They take time to recharge and don't always have the desired effect on a certain foe, depending on its color-coding. However, with the right timing you can win the current battle with ease and prepare for the next one.