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iPhone  header logo

Puzzle & Dragons

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Gotta match 'em all

Product: Puzzle & Dragons | Publisher: GungHo Online | Format: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle, RPG | Players: 1 | Version: US | App version: 4.21
 
Puzzle & Dragons iPhone, thumbnail 1
Let's get something out of the way from the outset: Puzzle & Dragons borrows a lot from both Bejeweled and Pokemon.

Once you accept this humble truth, you can begin to appreciate Puzzle & Dragons for what it is - and appreciate it you will, as it's quite the addictive little puzzle-based dungeon-crawler.

Emerald, ruby, and sapphire

Gameplay in Puzzle & Dragons is split between a turn-based RPG on the top of your screen and a match-three style game on the bottom.

When indulging in the RPG mode, you'll work your way through some basic dungeons that consist of a handful of fights with other monsters.

There's no exploration to be done, nor any special skills to employ. You simply set your feet down the halls of a dungeon and walk till you fight some monsters, then walk along the same straight corridor till you fight a boss.

IAPs explained
The only IAPs offered by Puzzle & Dragons are Magic Stones, which you use to buy new monsters, recover stamina, and increase the maximum number of monsters you can collect.

You can elect to purchase 1 Stone (99c / 69p) or packs of 6 Stones ($4.99 / £2.99), 12 Stones ($9.99 / £6.99), 30 Stones ($22.99 / £15.99), 60 Stones ($43.99 / £30.99), or 85 Stones ($59.99 / £39.99).
When the fights happen, you'll shift your attention to the gems that have been waiting patiently on the bottom half of your screen.

Each coloured gem corresponds to a different elemental affinity (water, fire, etc.) of monster on the top half of the screen, and when you match three or more of the same gem the creature(s) of the corresponding colour will attack.

Gems can be moved all about the grid with a simple tap and drag interface that works perfectly well, and matches can be made in either columns or rows. It's not the deepest puzzle gameplay out there, but it's accessible and satisfying.

Each grid also features pink heart blocks that you can use to heal your party by matching as you would with elemental gems.

Often, this tactic isn't advisable, as focusing on a healing match will give the enemy time to wail on your monsters, but if three hearts happen to line up easily it's nice to know you can restore some HP.

Diamond daze

Like Pixel Defenders Puzzle, Puzzle & Dragons isn't the deepest matching game out there - nor is it the most compelling dungeon-crawler by a long, long distance, yet neither of these shortcomings prevents it from being an enjoyable game.

In fact, the exact opposite is true: because Puzzle & Dragons keeps the puzzling light and the dungeon-crawling simple, you can pick up the game and bash through a couple of dungeons while waiting for your laundry to dry.

Unfortunately, due to the social nature of the game Puzzle & Dragons requires you need to have an active data connection. As such, those concerned with the cost of their data plans or duration of their iOS device's battery life might want to think twice before investing any time into it.

If you're willing to overlook this minor flaw, and the relatively simple gameplay, Puzzle & Dragons offers a compelling - and surprisingly deep - RPG experience.

What it doesn't offer is anything altogether new, but its presentation is bright and polished enough that we won't dock too many points from its score for that.

Puzzle & Dragons isn't currently available on the UK App Store. Matt lives in America.
 
Puzzle & Dragons
Reviewer photo
Matthew Diener | 8 March 2013
Easy to pick up and difficult to put down, Puzzle & Dragons delivers exactly what it promises to
 
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