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 an English wiki and forum 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.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, for both Japanese and English versions.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.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.
Anti-Poop Socking : 'Stamina' is a mechanic in the game that prohibits unlimited gameplay. Whenever you enter a dungeon, you lose some stamina. If you have less stamina than required to enter a dungeon, you cannot play that dungeon and the harder the dungeon, the more stamina is needed to enter. Stamina is naturally replenished over time and your max stamina increases as you level up.
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' ultimateevo.
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.
Then there's Marvel Puzzle Quest, which plays more like this game.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: Z and Battle Tournament 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.
Difficult but Awesome: Egyptian Gods, Chinese Celestials, 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.
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.
Horny Devils: Some of the female characters, mostly associated with Dark type ones.
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).
Match Three Game: With a twist! Instead of only being able to move the orbs to adjacent 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
RPG Elements: Leveling, experience, stats, et cetera despite being a puzzle game.
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.