Puzzle & Dragons (PAD) developer, GungHo Online Entertainment, has been on a blitz securing a ton of crossovers with various mobile games as a way of celebrating the 4th anniversary of their flagship title. Well, at least that’s the case in Japan. I don’t keep up with the English release other than logging in daily for gold, Magic Stones, and whatever goodies happen to be that day’s reward so I’m not sure how much of a brouhaha the American division is having.
Mobius Final Fantasy is among the many games that’s a part of the collaboration bonanza and the PAD universe has been included into the game by means of the usual special maps and gacha. Both offer unique event-only cards available only until April 30th (Japan Time) or for a set duration. (Event gachas may or may not last the same amount of time as the event itself. Always refer to in-game notices, the official site or Twitter, or the card summon section for exact dates of availability.)
I can’t explain the plot since I didn’t try to read the dialogue but I’ll talk about mechanics of the PAD maps and battling Zeus (not the multiplayer version).
Edit on July 31st: Added some more skills and the kanji for the elements (which is useful when you’re looking at the skill descriptions. ^^). I also forgot to write about the vocabulary at the end of the descriptions which influence how often the special ability piece will appear on the board so they’ve been included too. ————
I’m not going to introduce Puzzle & Dragons again since I’ve already written about it over 2 years ago so this is written with the assumption that the reader is familiar with its rules and gameplay mechanics. :3 (There are more accurate and thorough resources on the Internet but that post should give you an idea of the game. The only thing I didn’t elaborate on was the fact that you can move your puzzle piece all around the board until the timer runs out because I didn’t know at the time. ^^)
Puzzle & Dragons W is a cutesy version of the main P&D game featuring the ever-adorable tamadras (or egg dragons) and pretty much plays exactly the same way as its companion game. The main gameplay difference is that each stage has an objective that must be met, along with combo strings, in order to defeat the devil tamadras that hold tamadra eggs hostage. One thing that’s unique to P&DW is the dress up system which allows you to customize your tamadra with various hats, items/toys, and egg shells! ^o^~ There are ample opportunities to gain new looks for your little avatar since the very eggs the enemies hold always contain either a piece of clothing or equipment. There are also the usual gacha lottery draws too~!
As this P&D update has yet to hit the English version, playing Puzzle & Dragons W may prove to be a challenge for anyone illiterate to Japanese. Although I’m not fluent in the language, I know enough to understand what needs to be done and what the equipment skills do so I decided to whip up this mini guide!
Seriously, developers need to learn that not everyone with root goes around cheating in games. I mean, the iOS one runs fine with jailbreak mainly cuz it’s impossible to cheat their IAP system. I suppose GungHo has yet to figure out how to do that with the Play Store?
Anyway, I hope they’ll ditch the dumbass anti-root scheme and maybe then, I’ll figure out if it’s my Galaxy Tab 10.1 or root that’s preventing the game from running. I use OTA RootKeeper to temporarily “un-root” my Tab but it still does the black screen thing. :V
Original post from September 18th [Japanese version]:
I don’t see it at the Play Store just yet but Gung Ho’s saying it’s out. ^^ (Edit: Oh, I think it won’t be available until later today. Something about 4 PM Japan Time? D:) 8 days of gifts and perks~! http://mobile.gungho.jp/news/pad/and_cp.html
Edit: While the Galaxy Tab 10.1 isn’t listed as a supported device, I’m going to see if it’s possible to download it for the tablet. I honestly feel that the game is a lot more fun during the beginning when money and monster experience isn’t much of an issue so I’m going to play the ‘Droid one for a bit (if I can).
This is meant as a simple overview of the game. It’s missing some information since I’m not all that familiar with it. I also don’t plan on figuring things out myself since I’m not interested in keeping with it. However, if you can fill in some of the missing info, feel free to comment on this post~!
The puzzle mechanic in the game’s a little different than Puzzle & Dragons’ and seems to require a bit more strategy. Well, it does to me since I completely blew past the screen that taught me how to conserve Soul when I move so every time I play, I always run out. XD Sadly, I can’t seem to find any tutorial/manual section under Option so I think the only way to see it again is to reinstall the game and start as a new user.
Anyway, Road to Dragons pretty much starts off the same way as P&D where you choose a character that has a specific elemental affinity. The game then assigns two more additional units to help you along. And like P&D, most units have some sort of Skill as well as a Leader Skill which can only be activated if they are in the Leader position in the party formation.
The first dungeon is a tutorial dungeon where the silly looking dragon mascot will walk you through the basics. I didn’t get any screencaps of any of this since I wasn’t planning on writing a tutorial of sorts considering I’m still a little confused about the game myself. Famitsu wrote up a short guides to it at http://app.famitsu.com/20121107_106889/ and http://app.famitsu.com/20121108_107352/ but I’ve yet to go through them. I know the second link doesn’t really help so I think the first one is where the movement and gameplay information is at.
Each stage requires a certain amount of Stamina which will recover over time. You can also opt to instantly replenish it with the premium currency known as Rainbow Crystal (虹色水晶). There’s a number underneath Stamina which shows how many squares are needed to get to the Goal or something? I haven’t bothered to look up the kanji.
Oh yeah, the screencap above is of an Event Dungeon which are essentially limited time dungeons which are only available for a certain amount of days or hours. When selecting a stage to play, you can also choose a random stranger and have them accompany you. After you journey with them, you can choose to send off a friend request.
All this is taken from Puzzle & Dragons. :3
It seems like the point in each stage is to get to Goal as quickly as you can without losing Soul by dictating where to move on the grid. This is done by selecting one of the predetermined paths shown at the bottom of the gameplay area. Each movement will cost you 1 Soul point … unless you know how to move without losing any.
The grid itself has monsters, chests, and elemental squares littered throughout and landing on a square with a creature throws you into a battle where you trace out a route for your attacks. The game will tell you how much Soul you will consume based on the path you drew out; attacks aren’t executed until you lift your finger from the screen so you can preview the outcome. What’s cool is that you can also preview the amount of damage you will deal to your enemy. (Landing on squares with treasure chests will simply get you whatever’s inside them.)
Having Soul in battle is important since you can combine different attacks and trace out a long chain of them too. Notice the health bar under the monster and the Preview indicator. It’s showing that my selected path will kill it off in one shot. 😀
After you reach the goal line, you will face a boss monster and fight it in the same manner as you do with regular enemies.
Should you run out of Soul before reaching the end of the stage, a Grim Reaper-type monster will appear and attack you. I died in the confrontation so I have no idea what happens if you manage to defeat it. XD Having no Soul left also severely limits you in the paths you can select since it restricts you to choosing only those of the same type.
Overall, the package looks A LOT like Puzzle & Dragons since just about every menu and their functions are the same. I admit that some of these are staples in the freemium RPG world such as fusing units to create stronger ones and having gacha elements where you can pick out random units and such but the layouts and what you perform in them are really carbon copies! Heck, Acquire even thanks GungHo in their Thank You list. One thing I noticed that was different was that you can expand your Friends List with Rainbow Crystals.
Gungho Online Entertainment America has finally brought over Puzzle & Dragons to Western shores! I’m not sure I’m going to be getting it since I’m hardly playing the Japanese version as it is. ^^ Got up to level 40 in it too and managed to save up to 63 Magic Stones — all which were gifts from GungHo during promotions and celebrations. I just lost interest after a while since I’m stuck with grinding for money to level up and fuse my monsters. I also needed some of those fusion material monsters that are needed to evolve them … which are probably rare drops from higher difficulty dungeons. Sigh.
Anyway, I encourage iOS users to try it out! It’s much more cute and colourful than its blatant clone, Angel Salvation. LOTS more variety in units too. And, as I mentioned in that post, as long as GungHo is active in supporting the game and dishing out Magic Stones to everyone once in a while, I’m sure players will remain with it. The Japan version gets a lot of cross-promotions with other companies too. (And there’s merchandise like little toys and cellphone straps and stuff! TT~) Not sure they’ll do it for the NA version though.
Oh yeah, it doesn’t look like there’s an English Android version just yet which is good, I suppose, since they still need to broaden device support for it, in my opinion. (It STILL doesn’t run on my Galaxy Tab 10.1 with CyanogenMod 10.)
I started playing Puzzle & Dragons back in early March of this year and was addicted to it for months. I loved all the cute and colourful monsters and the match 3 (or more!) aspect of it was immensely fun. Of course, I also loved collecting monsters and even spent money to buy Magic Stones just so I could use the Rare Gacha “machine” to get better monsters for my battle roster.
Eventually, I hit a bit of a wall where higher levelled dungeons had bosses that could do in my party in one or two hits. Since I wasn’t up for grinding or spending oodles of money to purchase more Magic Stones so I could resume playing whenever I game overed, I pretty much stopped playing and only logged in to get the daily bonuses of Gold and whatever other bonuses it gave.
Then suddenly, out of the blue comes Angel Salvation, which is fresh and brand spankin’ new for the unwitting audience outside of Japan — or more accurately, those that don’t peruse the Japanese App Store. After all, you will undoubtedly see the Puzzle & Dragons icon somewhere while browsing through it. P&D struck gold not long after its release too; it reached over 1 million downloads in July and shows no signs of slowing down either since week after week, the game’s developer, Gung Ho, showers players with new special dungeons and events and there are even times when they’ll bestow gifts like Magic Stones. (Look at the frequency of updates in the News area: http://www.gungho.jp/pad/) Even gaming/toy/cartoon giant, Namco Bandai, made use of P&D’s fame by teaming up with Gung Ho to promote the latest iteration of their renown rhythm game series, Taiko no Tatsujin. It’s safe to say that this puzzle-RPG pretty much prints money so it should be no surprise that someone would come along to try and cash in on a tried and true formula.
For those that are braving this, be prepared for some boring prose! (I am incapable of creative writing.)
Those 3 critters may be cute and happy but they are totally out to murder your little band of monsters.
I downloaded this semi-social, cute puzzle/monster collecting freemium game on a whim after purchasing Epic Astro Story from the Japanese App Store. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the game is available outside of Japan.
Developed and published by GungHo Online Entertainment, it’s a dungeon crawler kind of like those old school, first person turn-based RPGs. In Puzzle & Dragons, you “control” a party of 5 monsters. Well, there’s six in the screenshot above since you can always bring a guest along with you! These monster guests are courtesy of other players but I’ll get more into that a bit later.
Puzzle & Dragons is super simple to figure out! Just match up rows or columns of the same type of coloured orbs/elements based on fire, water, air, light, and darkness. The minimum is 3 but if you manage a group of 5+ elements, it will invoke an area attack where you will hit all enemies on the screen. Of course, this is all dependent on whether or not your party contains monsters of the same elements as those orbs you match up.
Although this whole matching colours business is quite old by now, Puzzle & Dragons differs in that it’s turn-based, and within your turn, you can move any one orb anywhere in the puzzle grid. This allows you to set up combos to deal massive damage. However, selecting a puzzle piece triggers a countdown which limits the amount of time you have to figure out where to move it. On top of that, there’s a number on top of an enemy’s head that indicates the number of turns you have before it attacks so you have to think fast.
While grouping trios of the elements is all fine and dandy, you won’t get very far that way. To effectively get through a dungeon, you will need to strategize and create combos. Combos are basically multiple groups of 3 or more elements that are achieved within your turn. The main advantage is the increase in damage output and also the bonus effect of replenishing a greater amount of health if the combo includes a string of 3 or more Hearts.
Aside from the puzzle aspect, there’s also monster raising and monster fusion. Both will be covered in a later section but for now, let’s look at that thing about the game being a free and premium title. :3
As Puzzle & Dragons is a freemium game, it contains in-app purchases as well as a restriction of how much time you can spend playing. The restriction in this case is known as Stamina.
But wait!! Don’t stop reading yet! It’s not as bad as you think!
You expend Stamina every time you enter a dungeon. I believe the minimum begins at 3 points. Now, unlike other freemium games with a similar wait and play gimmick, Puzzle & Dragons is more reasonable in that 1 point of Stamina is replenished every 10 minutes so you’re not waiting half an hour or however many hours like usual. But, now that I think about it, the wait may get pretty bad when the Stamina gauge gets over 50. (I’m not entirely sure how Stamina increases. I thought it was through levelling up in rank but it’s not.)
If you’re impatient, you can always use Magic Stones to restore your Stamina gauge to maximum. Of course, free Magic Stones are conveniently difficult to come by in-game. In fact, the Shop icon is a subtle reminder that you can always purchase more!
The elemental dungeons~!
Dungeons are categorized as Normal Dungeon or Special Dungeon. The main differences between the two types are dungeon length, stamina cost, and enemy levels/strength.
Normal Dungeons have less stages that require low stamina to enter. They also contain more or less managable opponents. Special Dungeons are the exact opposite. Actually, Special Dungeons are only available for a certain amount of days and are a good source for money (and probably rare monsters).
Both dungeon types have stages that vary in length and number of enemies, but the final stage always contains a boss battle where you can either fight one beefy monster or take on several beefy monsters at once. If I remember correctly, the screencap at the top is a boss fight within one of the special dungeons.
There’s no real objective in the game, I don’t think. All you do is go around beating up other monsters and collect gold and eggs. These eggs are hatched upon completion of a dungeon stage and you will either get a regular monster (which come from a polka-dotted egg) or a rare monster (which pop up out a striped egg).
Oh yeah, completing dungeons nets you experience too! When your EXP bar is full, you will level up in rank and your Stamina gauge will replenish. You also unlock the feature to gift friends once you reach rank 20. There are probably other features that are dependent on rank that I’m not sure about though. .___.
It’s not a Pokedex!
Currently, there are 200 collectible monsters but I’m not sure if they can all be captured since the ones in the compedium seem to be either the ones you own or the enemy monsters. For some reason, ally monsters from other users don’t show up.
Most monsters have special active or passive skills that can be used in battle if the conditions are met. The conditions I’ve seen so far only call for a fixed number of turns. In terms of active abilities, they can be buffs, debuffs, restoration of the team’s health bar, or some sort of attack. Passive skills can consist actions like of counterattacking when hit or restoring a small amount of HP per user turn.
There are also monsters that have a Leader Skill which obviously only become available when placed in Leader slot. I’m uncertain of this but I think the party member you assign as a Leader becomes the guest character that other players can take with them into their fights.
You are free to configure your party in any way by choosing from the available monsters in your inventory. While variety is a good idea, adding several of the same elemental type will increase their attack power. The only catch when outfitting the team is that their combined cost — in the right image above, each monster’s value is indicated below their level — cannot exceed the allotted team cost. Using the screenshot on the right, you can see that my limit is 26 but I’ve only used up 22.
As mentioned in the previous section, you can acquire monster eggs while travelling through dungeons. As you are only allowed to have 20 creatures in inventory, you can choose to keep them, sell them, or fuse them with active or inactive party members. (You can increase the amount of inventory slots you have at the store though.)
Fusing monsters is the only way to level them up or evolve them. The latter requires them to be at their maximum level where you can then synthesize them with other maxed out monsters. The resulting monster will be one of higher grade. I’m not sure any fusion can fail but given the rarity of some of the “ingredients”, as well as the cost of the whole process, I don’t believe it’s possible.
Monster grades are indicated as stars on their profile cards. One star is the lowest possible grade and usually max out at level 10. As the stars increase, the maximum level also rises. As I’m early in the game, I don’t know what the highest grade would be but I’m guessing it’s 4 or 5 stars.
I don’t them and they don’t know me but we’re friends!
I opened this overview by stating that Puzzle & Dragons is a semi-social game. By this, I meant that part of the gameplay gimmick is that you can obtain Friendship Points (FP) from opting to take someone else’s monsters out with your group. Er, incidentally, the games labels the name of these points in Japanese which is 友情ポイント.
Everyone starts off as strangers and it will remain so unless you actually go out of your way to become acquainted with them through the game’s messaging and gifting system. You only gain 5 FP from an outting from strangers. However, once they become “friends”, you will get the obtain 10 FP. Unfortunately, all these Friendship Points, whether they’re from strangers or friends, can only be received once by day.
I never did check if you can simply go through dungeons without bringing along an ally but since there’s no disadvantage that I can think of in doing so, I always do. And because of this, I’ve racked up a ton of points that can be used in the Gacha menu! ^o^ In the menu, you can choose to use the Friendship gachapon machine or the Rare one. If it’s the former, you will need 200 FP to use it. For the latter, 5 Magic Stones are required. With either one, there’s a little gachapon machine in the form of a dragon that pops up a random egg from its tummy when you pull on its arm. ^^;
No picture here. XD
If you read or skimmed through all of this, I hope that I’ve somewhat piqued your interest in the game. I find it quite fun despite the whole Stamina gimmick that limits how much you can play in one sitting as well as the small frustration that it costs a lot to level up monsters as they evolve. But hey, that’s what the in-game shop is for, right? >_>
Oh, I forgot to mention, since this is a free title from the Japanese App Store, you can create an iTunes Japan account to download it to try it it out for yourself! You don’t need to enter any credit card information at all~!