[MOBILE]Puzzle and Dragons Review
Publisher: GungHo Online Entertainment
For: Android OS and Apple iOS
Puzzle and Dragons is a freemium action RPG collecting dungeon crawler published for the mobile Android and Apple iOS by GungHo Online Entertainment. The game centers around a team of monsters created by the player to tackle the game’s dungeons. The game takes the best of the worlds of Pokemon, Bejeweled, and action dungeon crawlers, and meets halfway in the form of Puzzle and Dragons.
Part I: The Dungeons Themselves
The game revolves around exploring and completing dungeons. To participate in the dungeon, the player needs monsters that are obtained from the dungeons or through in app purchases. The player will also need points called stamina. Stamina is the “currency” for dungeons, and if you have no stamina you cannot complete any dungeons. This is replenishable with an in app purchase of the real game currency called Magic Stones. This is an extremely valuable item to come by. For a successful dungeon clear, you earn one magic stone. The dungeons will get more difficult as the game progresses, and more stamina will be required.
In dungeons themselves, you “clear them” by matching three colors of any orb, or match five of the same color to engage an attack that hits all enemies. Sometimes, you can combo your movements, to deal massive damage. Be careful, as you only get a small amount of time to move your orb. You can move it anywhere, in any direction, even diagonally!
Another major aspect of the dungeons is the Special Dungeon category, which are limited edition dungeons released by GungHo. These dungeons can range from relatively low amounts of stamina to insane stamina amounts. The higher the stamina requirement, the more difficult the dungeon. In return though, the rewards are often much greater.
Part II: Monsters and the Collection
This game has a vast collection of creatures. As of this review, the creature count is 719. Yes, there are more of these fellows than there are Pokemon. And they are drawn extremely well and each look very unique in their own ways.
To build a good team, you need to move forward in the dungeons. Monsters often drop from these dungeons, and you can use them as teammates, or to power up your own monsters. Monsters can also evolve and perform ultimate evolutions to reach their maximum potential. They can be leveled from level 1-99, in most cases. Evolution requires materials to evolve, in the form of other monsters. Another handy feature is the friend and explorer feature! Friends and explorers are random real players that you can interact with to help you succeed in dungeons! They are extremely useful in tight situations.
A unique factor of team building is that there are infinite combinations. The combinations you can create are often limited by the Team Cost, a number that is increased by proceeding through story and ranking up (ranking up also restores stamina) Every monster has a cost. Your team cost cannot exceed the value you are allowed to possess at your rank. For instance, if your team cost at rank X is 30, your monster’s costs cannot exceed 30. With well over 700 monsters, you are bound to have a lot of fun customizing your team.
Part III: In App Purchases
I really love this aspect of the game. I am a huge collector fan, and I absolutely love to have big creatures to show off. To get bigger and better creatures, you can either try to be lucky in dungeons to get good rewards, or you can run in app purchases for Magic Stones. Magic Stones cost the following:
1 Stone: $0.99
6 Stones: $4.99
12 stones: $12.99
30 Stones: $22.99
60 Stones: $43.99
85 Stones: $59.99
and are used for the purchase of extra monster spaces, stamina restoration, friend slots, and for earning extra monsters in the lottery system.
Oh, the lottery system. I love it. It’s also my worst nightmare. I have burned over $300 in cash on this game for the lottery! Monsters come in seven different ranks. Lower rank monsters are obtainable in dungeons, and sometimes, some monsters are only available through the lottery! This is what makes the game fun. The Rare Egg Machine is a device where you can spend 5 magic stones to earn a chance to pull a rare monster! The rare egg machine gives monsters from rank 3 to 6 stars.
This paragraph is extremely important. If you want to save the most money and make a killing with the machine, wait for periods called Godfest. Godfest is a period when GungHo releases higher drop rate chances for extremely rare and powerful monsters. The drop rate increases significantly and sometimes, if you are lucky, you can get these monsters that are typically extremely rare.
Another mini lottery system is the Pal Egg Machine. When you run dungeons, you can work with friends or the provided explorers, and earn Pal/Explorer points. These points are used in the Pal Egg Machine to earn more monsters, though they are weaker than the creatures in the Rare Egg Machine. The benefit? It’s free.
The Good Part of the Game
If you know exactly what you are doing, the game can be played completely free and still be completely enjoyable. You can even get a chance to play the events that GungHo often throws out. Some of them are even unique collaborations of other franchises. I know that Final Fantasy was one of the franchises that worked with the game to get a Final Fantasy-themed dungeon placed in there for a limited time.
The monster collection aspect is incredibly fun, the customization aspect for teams is really addicting, and rolling the lottery is actually really fun as well.
The only real criticisms I have are the facts that the game often relies on a lot of luck to try and get the monster you need. Sometimes, the drop rate for a rare monster in dungeon is 2.5%. For special dungeons, the lowest difficulty yields a rare drop rate of 2.5, followed by 5%, 40%, and 100%. As you know, the difficulty increases significantly and the rewards are more than fitting at the highest tiers. Rerolling by uninstallation of the game and participating in the tutorial (free chance to get a rare monster) is recommended if you receive a poor monster.
The other criticism I have is that in-app purchases are incredibly addicting, but that’s just me talking. The game by no means will force you to pay for silly things. In games like Star Wars: The Old Republic, the game’s pay wall will hit you like a brick in the face, and makes it impossible to proceed. In this game, you can still have plenty of fun without the purchase of Stones.
Should You Play It?
Absolutely. I found the game incredibly addicting. I think that since I got the Samsung Galaxy S4, I haven’t set it down. I have logged in so far at 21 consecutive gameplay days. The use of in-app purchases will not hinder you at all. The game is still completely enjoyable without the shop. That, combined with addicting dungeon gameplay and an incredible customization system for monsters, makes for an incredibly well developed freemium game. I would highly suggest this mobile game for anybody. Go get it on your respective app store now!