Puzzle and Dragons is a Japanese puzzle/role-playing game for the iOS developed by GungHo Online Entertainment. Puzzle and Dragons is overwhelmingly popular in Japan, making a profit of US$54 million a month. To put it in perspective, over the past year (as of 2013) Gungho's profit had (at one point) exceeded that of Nintendo, largely by this game alone. And according to App Annie's 2013 Retrospective Report, its revenue in 2013 had even surpassed Candy Crush Saga.The player has a team of monsters, and explores dungeons to fight other monsters. To attack, the player must line up three or more orbs of the same element. As in Pokémon, defeated monsters may be caught by the player and used on his own team. Each monster has an element, and each element has a strength or weakness toward another. The gameplay itself is rather straightforward, but creating a strong and rounded team of monsters can take a lot of time, with some monsters being much more powerful and rarer than the others.Despite being very, very popular in Asia, the game is almost unknown in America due to the immediate lack of an English release. However, the game was translated to English and released on the iPad and Android, and two English wikis and forums are already being built. As of June 2014, this game has achieved 28 million downloads worldwide (only counting store downloads), with North America version achieved 4 million downloads (5 million as of the following October.)Puzzle & Dragons Z, a more traditional (as in it has trading, and no in-app purchases... at least, not like the original game) title, has been released for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan.Puzzle & Dragons Battle Tournament is the arcade version released in Japan. In a collaboration with Square Enix, it is geared toward 1 vs 1 player competition.Puzzle & Dragons W is a side game to PAD, only available in Japan. It plays much differently than the main game, though.The main web site is here.
Includes examples of:
All There in the Manual: Much vital information (such as the formulas for ultimate evolutions) is not available anywhere in the game, and you won't get very far if you're unwilling to look it up online
Anthropomorphic Food: Some of the monsters. Especially the Gunma series which has a walking leek, cabbage and konjac and the Takaoka City Series where one of the monsters is Udon.
Ars Goetia: The evolved forms of the four Archdemons besides Lucifer have designs that hearken to their Lesser Key description — a neat touch, since other than Amon, they're pretty well known outside of grimoires (Belial, Baal, and Astaroth). Amon even has his sigil inscribed on his chest.
Art Evolution: As new monsters get released, so does the style of the art. In particular are monsters who received ultimate evolutions, like the Greco-Roman and Japanese 1.0 series. For example: Ceres and Ceres' first ultimate evoforms and second ultimate evo form.
Bribing Your Way to Victory: Magic Stones. They are used for certain premium actions, such as receiving a continue after being defeated during dungeons, restoring your stamina if you don't want to wait out the timed recovery, using the Rare Egg Machine, or increasing your monster box cap. They can be acquired for free by completing certain dungeons or receiving certain promotional messages from the staff, or purchased with real-world money. However, the game is completely playable without spending a penny.
There's also coin dungeons, which require at least 1 million gold each to run for 1 hour. Need king jewel dragons but don't want to wait for it to descend? Pay 3 million gold to run "King Carnival". Missed your opportunity to get some evo materials? Pay 5 million gold to run "Together at Last! Evo Rush!!". Need really high level evolution materials? Pay 5 million for "Together at Last! Rare Evo Rush!!" Need TAMADRAs? Pay 10 million to run "TAMADRA Village" for guaranteed drops and a chance to skill up your Odin cards with Odin TAMADRA. This is really in full effect with "Together at Last! Evo Rush!!" and "King Carnival" because they're considered "Metal Dragon" dungeons, which descend for a hour depending on the day, your ID number and ID group. The rest of the other coin dungeons are either harder versions of existing technical dungeons or dragon rush dungeons.
Then there's Marvel Puzzle Quest, which plays more like this game.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: Z, Battle Tournament and W are significantly different in terms of gameplay to the original. For Z, Skills are used by saving "skill points" from matching orbs and taking hits, but there's a top limit for that, so it's pretty common to not have enough points to use all the skills. As for Battle Tournament, there's no time limit for matching orbs, and since both players will match their orbs at the same time, it's crucial to choose between doing high combos or attacking more frequently. For W, you get a bigger board, but your combos need to match the level requirements or it won't damage the DeviTAMA. Jammers don't disappear unless you match orbs adjacent to it. Heart orbs replenish level turn count, as opposed to health.
Deal with the Devil: A few monsters have leader abilities that are valuable but come at a great cost. Pompurin has a leader skill that guarantees 3.5x multiplier for attack at a cost of halving your healing.
Difficult but Awesome: Egyptian Gods, Chinese Celestials, Umisachi&Yamasachi and Hero Gods. Hard to use, hard to master, and require powerful teammates to be effective, but they're the most effective dungeon breakers. Hell Deity Jackal Anubis is worth a special mention: two of them will dismantle ANY bosses in the game, but achieving 10 combo every single roundnote 8 for "Deathly" Ultimate Evolution requires extreme skill and luck. BAO Robin and BAO Robin + E.Stick deserve mention because he plays similarly to the Anubis cards.
Difficulty Spike: For regular dungeons, "King of the Underworld" can easily kill you if you don't have strong enough monsters, especially for the boss. For descended dungeons, "Hera Descended" is considered this because this is the easiest of all descended dungeons.
Double Unlock: You won't be able to see or attempt "Extreme God Rush" and "Extreme Hera Rush" until you have reached rank/level 165 AND have cleared "Starlight Sanctuary".
Higher-end monsters can have two attack elements: a main element, and a sub-element with which they do 30% damage (10% if it matches the main element).
Follow the Leader: Let's just say many mimic App games pop out to the field after this game's success. Especially in Asia.
Lost Palace, for instance. It's a pretty shameless rip-off.
Harder Than Hard: Legend difficulty, mostly in biweekly dungeons (with another name in some Cross Over dungeons). It's the only difficulty that guarantees that the area's boss will drop in this case. There's also Mythical above Legend, which is in most "Descended" dungeons which can have one, the other, or both. Generally, Legend will not guarantee a boss drop if there's a Mythical difficulty, which does guarantee it.
Three words: Extreme God Rush, the hardest dungeon to date.
Three more words: Extreme Hera Rush. The difficulty for those two dungeons? Legend Plus.
Six words: "Together at Last! Rare Evo Rush!!". The difficulty is similar to a Legend Plus, with all the bosses from Mythical versions of daily dungeons, and it requires just as much stamina to run.
Horny Devils: Some of the female characters, mostly associated with Dark type ones. The Heras are the shining example of these.
HP to One: Quite a few enemies in descended dungeons have gravities, which reduce your hp to 1. Also, Archangel Lucifer, Noah and Lu Bu have active skills that, while very powerful, reduce your HP to 1.
Interface Spoiler: Before version 6.5, if you do not have enough maximum stamina, you would see the last remaining dungeon in a series. As of 7.0, you won't be able to see certain daily, collaboration or descended dungeons until you have enough maximum stamina.
Last Chance Hit Point: Giants, the Titan line and Viper Orochi have a Leader Skill that will stop your HP at 1 if your HP is above a certain percentage when an enemy attack will otherwise kill you.
Luck-Based Mission: Rare Egg Machine pulls. You spend 5 Magic Stones for one pull, and god helps your mobile phone from being whacked if you receive some weak, repetitive, or hard-to-use monsters......But at the same time you may get powerful monsters by one pull.
The game plays in both ways. On the one hand, many powerful monsters can only be acquired by the aforementioned pulls, but you can still get many useful ones via normal gameplay, especially Figure Descend Dungeons. If you're skilled enough, you won't even need to spend any Magic Stones for that. Skill upgrades, however, completely fit this trope. One can fill up Skill Levels by powering up with only that amount of monsters......Or feeding dozens of monsters without even raising one Skill Level.
For the gameplay itself, this trope also works in both ways. Number of Combos (and thus, attack power and healing amount) are based on players' skills, but falling blocks can either allow you to get healed, get another combo to activate Leader Skills......Or screwing up your strategy (when using Ishikawa Goemonnote 5 times the attack power if the current HP is lower than 20%, 25x with two Goemon leaders, for example).
Magikarp Power: Amaterasu, in a sense. She shares the most potent healing active with the Ceres lineage, but has the same leader skill of a lowly mermaid/siren that heals for the equivalent of the monster's HP. You can do better elsewhere. Evolve to her next stage, Amaterasu Ohkami, and that number quintuples, and she also gains access to one Bind Recovery and two Bind Resist awakeningsnote enough to make her bind immune, making her a very capable leader for descends. (Her first Ultimate Evo, Dancing Light, takes it up a notch with the RCV and adding another multiplier to her leader RCV, making her the single best healer in the game.)
Match Three Game: With a twist! Instead of only being able to move the orbs to adjacent and diagonal squares, you can actually grab them and move them all over the place, displacing other orbs in the process. In fact, you will most likely need to do this, as the game quickly ramps up its difficulty and setting up combos this way has to become part of your skill-set if you want to succeed.
Combo count also affects the amount of HP recovery (if Health orb is matched), so trying to do big combos is necessary.
No Plot? No Problem!: iOS/Android version, at least. Puzzle & Dragons Z, on the other hand, will have a plot.
The arcade version, along with actually visible player characters, also has a story mode.
One Time Dungeon: A Variant. Anniversary and holiday events usually contain a one time dungeon which is really easy to beat. Which means free monster and a free stone. Except for Cave of Dreaming and Sky Prison, which got integrated into daily dungeons once GungHo realized that the evolution materials from the bosses were needed more often than once in a blue moon.
Our Dragons Are Different: All kinds of dragons can be found in the game, if the title wasn't a tipoff. Angelic dragons, demonic dragons, dragons with three heads, tiny dragons, cute dragons, ugly dragons, robotic dragons, elemental dragons, eastern dragons, western dragons, flower dragons, barley dragons...Takes Up to Eleven for Artifect Dragons, which are essentially dragonic objects.
Jewel/Metal Dragons can be used in power-up fusions to provide a dramatic EXP boost.
Our Gods Are Greater: Many of the monsters are literally humanoid gods, and are categorized in the 'god' class as being powerful, but hard to level and maintain. These monsters are even named and modeled after deities from their respective mythologies.
Palette Swap: Many grunts and most Godfest-exclusive monsters suffer from this, but Valkyrie is the worst offender at four recolors.note At least they actually have different poses for all the Heras and Zeuses.
Physical God: The God class characters, save for Archangels and a few others like Noah.
Power Creep: Despite the surprisingly balanced gameplay note In contrast to popular beliefs, no single team can ensure victory over all dungeons., as new characters and monsters come out, the earlier monsters can become underpowered in comparison. To compensate this, some monsters will receive Ultimate Evolutions, or got their Active Skills and Leader Skills adjusted, in order to make them viable again; but some monsters which haven't receive such treatments will keep falling behind.
In the game's early days, 9x Attack power (by 2 Zeus) is the highest standard (with x4 and 6.25x being "normal" teams); now any teams under 12.25x (two 3.5x) are almost obsolete. note By "obsolete" it doesn't mean they aren't usable, but using them to challenge newer dungeons are much more difficult.
Lucifer was (and still is) a powerful Game Breaker, but since his release, dungeons with more powerful monsters with more HP have appeared, including newer enemy skills (like Preemptive strikes), making him much more of a Disc One Nuke.invoked
Percent Damage Attacks like Ultra Gravity were once the most effective way to bring high-HP monsters down without resorting to combo gods, but then Goemon and later the Sonia family (alongside row enhancement Awakenings) among others have made it so much less useful that it became a permanently available dungeon.
RPG Elements: Leveling, experience, stats, et cetera despite being a puzzle game.
Rule 63: A few. Despite being based on male figures, monsters like Archangel Metatron, Astaroth, and Noah are female.
Scratch Damage: No matter how much defense an enemy has, each attack will always, ALWAYS do at least one point of damage.
Many enemies and bosses have ludicrously high defense, but only double-digit figures of HP, meaning you just have to hit them that many times to defeat them, at 1 damage per hit.
You can bypass this problem altogether with poison skills, which damage HP directly.
Sixth Ranger: Green Skydragon, Elysium and and Blue Flamedragon Muspellheim to their respective themes. They both lack evolutions that the main members have, they share elements with one of the other members yet they share skills with one of the other members of their families, and they are semi-rare "invade" encounters in their respective dungeons.
This Is Gonna Suck: Enemies with the potential to One-Hit Kill you are marked "Strong". The "Strong" warning does not appear if you have enough HP to easily withstand one attack.
This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: There're absoluely no point of not evolving all the monsters you have...Except if you're preparing for Condition Limited Descended Dungeons. Many high-end monsters are barred from entrance due to their high costs and/or rarity, making their "useless" counterparts have chances to shine.
Whammy: Enemies that cause certain orbs to change to jammers or poison orbs. While there are awoken skills that can prevent this from happening, there are no current active skills that change those orbs into something useful.