Puzzle & Dragons Z + Super Mario Bros. Edition Review

Puzzle & Dragons Z + Super Mario Bros. Edition Review

When Puzzle and Dragons Z and Puzzle and Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition was first announced, I was honestly not too excited. There was nothing about the game that appealed to me at all. It looked like another generic puzzler just with a Mario skin to help sell the title. To me, it served as filler content in the Nintendo Direct it was announced in that got next to no one excited. I had no intention of picking this one up, but since Nintendo has graciously given me a copy to review, I figured I would play it and try to complete it. But is it any good? Was I wrong to dismiss it like I dismissed Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains?

Well, first thing’s first, let’s get this story out of the way. If you didn’t know, Puzzle and Dragons Z and Puzzle and Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, gosh that’s a mouthful, is technically two games in one 30 dollar package. For the Puzzle and Dragons Z portion, it’s more heavily story-based. The story in Z starts off with the player in their house as a dragon tamer in search of adventure. But then everything changes when an evil organization called Paradox causes an earthquake and you have to go out and stop the organization from doing any more evil. The plot here is very similar to many other RPGs and really does nothing unique. The dialogue is not interesting or compelling and I didn’t care to read them. Next to the gameplay, the story is irrelevant. Much like many other games, you don’t need to pay attention to the narrative to know what you are doing. Sure it makes puzzling seem not as important, but for this type of game, character development and a plot with twists and turns don’t matter at all. The same can be said for the story of the Super Mario Bros. Edition, which like basically every other Mario game, has Mario chasing after Princess Peach, who has been captured by Bowser with the help of powerful orbs. In this version, the story is even less important.

Fortunately for Puzzles and Dragons, the gameplay is quite enjoyable so I can excuse every flaw the nonexistent story has. Now, this is one of the most complex puzzle games I think I have ever played, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s complex in the way that it requires a lot of thought and strategy, but not so much that it is confusing or overwhelming. So where do I possibly begin? Well, first and foremost, I should note that each version has a pretty much identical gameplay style with some differences in enemy variety, the way you traverse the overworld, and what character can be the leader when doing puzzles. And if you couldn’t already tell, the entire game is centered around puzzle-based combat with some RPG elements.

If you don’t like the puzzle genre, then right away, you will probably not enjoy this game. I imagine that the fact that this is a puzzle game would be an immediate turn-off for a lot of people. As for me, I am not the biggest fan of the puzzle genre, but something about the system of Puzzles and Dragons seemed really innovative and engaging. Much like my favorite puzzle game, HuniePop, moving the puzzle orbs around changes the positions of other puzzle orbs. So you can move a certain puzzle orb around and change the layout of a board to rack up combos and manipulate different colors aligning moreso than others. This small mechanic adds a lot of depth to the gameplay. It serves as a way to differentiate itself from the abundance of puzzle games out there. Not to mention, this mechanic is essential for defeating the variety of monsters you come across. See, depending on the color of the orb combinations you make, you are able to attack enemies with your party. So if you line up some blue orbs, a blue party member, or members, will attack an enemy. And the more orbs you line up in a turn, the more powerful the attack is. It encourages you to take your time and carefully plan each move. I, for one, just picked up a puzzle orb and rapidly moved it around the board. Sure, this was a bit more imprecise, but I did see a lot of combos being racked up in my favor. Plus, the game employs a system of elemental weaknesses and advantages similar to Pokémon. If you have played Pokémon, this system should not be too confusing. As you would expect, fire trumps wood whereas wood is weak against fire and light trumps darkness and vice versa. Oh and there are heart orbs which rejuvenate health upon matching a row together.

Because of this, you have to pay close attention to what combinations you are making so they can be most effective. It adds that tiny bit of depth to the gameplay that makes it more thoughtful and not just a mindless match-3 game. Also, the combat system serves as a reward for matching numerous orbs and getting huge combos. It gives the player enough satisfaction to encourage them to keep playing. In addition to this, you can change up your party at any time with tons of characters to choose from and upon defeating an enemy, you are granted experience points. These serve as a way to strengthen your party members and make defeating other enemies easier. And luckily, grinding is never necessary as the experience you accumulate is usually sufficient enough to take on the later game monsters and bosses. And not grinding for experience is great because it can get really challenging at certain points. I can see fans of the puzzle genre really loving this gameplay style, but I can’t see myself playing this game any more time than I have to. Yes I have praised this title and there is virtually nothing wrong with the gameplay, but I can’t seem to enjoy it as much as other people have. I find the gameplay a bit repetitive and boring. And sometimes, the game can feel a bit over-complex as you have to balance puzzle solving and combat. You have to make sure you have adequate health and that you are using the right element combinations. It feels a bit too overwhelming at times. Like I said before, I am not the biggest fan of the puzzle genre and this game hasn’t changed that about me. And that is perfectly fine. I see where the game’s strengths and flaws are. And while it has a lot of good things going for it, people not too fond of puzzle games will most likely find this game repetitive and over-complex like I did.

As for the presentation, it is decent. The bottom screen where the puzzle grid lies is not cluttered and everything is displayed really well. Both styles, that being Z and Super Mario Bros Edition, are great and the models for enemies are decent. This game is not a graphical masterpiece, but nothing here is jarring or bad. And the music is decent, consisting of plain Mario remixes for the Super Mario Bros Edition and some original scores for the Z edition.

So overall, Puzzles and Dragons Z and Puzzles and Dragons Super Mario Bros Edition is an okay game. It is nothing spectacular, nor will this game blow your mind. It is a puzzle game that strays away from common puzzle conventions and does it well. If you like the puzzle genre, you will like this game and have a lot of fun with it. As for me, I just can’t find too much enjoyment out of it. While the gameplay is challenging and engaging, I can’t get into it. I mean, I played the game and I don’t see myself coming back to it any time soon. I can see the replay value, but it is not for me. For 30 dollars, I guess I got my money’s work, but I would only recommend this title to you if A, you like puzzle games or B, you have nothing else to play and want to try to get into the puzzle genre. But I mean, there is a free demo available on the eShop so make that judgment for yourself by playing it. I’m pretty sure by just playing that demo you can see whether or not the game is for you. So, if I had to give Puzzles and Dragons Z and Puzzles and… ughh… If I had to give this title a score, I would give it a 7 out of 10.

Puzzle & Dragons Z + Super Mario Bros. Edition Review
So overall, Puzzles and Dragons Z and Puzzles and Dragons Super Mario Bros Edition is an okay game. It is nothing spectacular, nor will this game blow your mind. It is a puzzle game that strays away from common puzzle conventions and does it well. If you like the puzzle genre, you will like this game and have a lot of fun with it. As for me, I just can’t find too much enjoyment out of it. While the gameplay is challenging and engaging, I can’t get into it. I mean, I played the game and I don’t see myself coming back to it any time soon. I can see the replay value, but it is not for me. For 30 dollars, I guess I got my money’s work, but I would only recommend this title to you if A, you like puzzle games or B, you have nothing else to play and want to try to get into the puzzle genre. But I mean, there is a free demo available on the eShop so make that judgment for yourself by playing it. I’m pretty sure by just playing that demo you can see whether or not the game is for you. So, if I had to give Puzzles and Dragons Z and Puzzles and… ughh… If I had to give this title a score, I would give it a 7 out of 10.
Pros
  • Fun missions
  • Good replay value
Cons
  • For a very niche audience
  • Repetitive Gameplay
  • Non-existent story
7Overall Score
Share this post:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrEmail this to someoneShare on StumbleUponDigg this

About The Author

News Reporter
Google+

Lives and breathes competitive Smash. Show me ya moves!