Video Game: Puzzle & Dragons

Puzzle & Dragons (shortened to PazuDora in Japan or PAD in the west) is a Japanese puzzle/role-playing game for the iOS developed by GungHo Online Entertainment. Puzzle & 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 October 2014, this game has achieved 40 million downloads worldwide (only counting store downloads), with North America version achieved 6 million downloads as of January 2015.

Puzzle & Dragons has seen many different spinoffs on various platforms:
  • Puzzle & Dragons Challenge (PazuChare) is a separate app mostly used by GungHo for tournaments and their live events, where players have 5 minutes to clear a wave of powerful monsters for a score.
  • Puzzle & Dragons Z (PADZ), a more traditional (as in it has trading, and no in-app purchases... at least, not like the original game) RPG title, has been released for the Nintendo 3DS in Japan.
  • Puzzle & Dragons: Battle Tournament (PADBT or PazuBato) is an arcade version of PAD released in Japan, in collaboration with Square Enix. It's also more of an RPG, but its main draw is real time player vs. player gameplay made possible by IC Chip save data.
  • Puzzle & Dragons W (PADW) is a side game in the main PAD app geared more towards a more traditional puzzle game and features the TAMADRA mascot character. Its main draw is that it shares its account with the main game, which means any premium items you win in PADW are carried over to PAD.
  • Puzzle & Dragons Z: Tamer Battle is another arcade game based on PADZ that uses an IC card save system and collectible "tickets" for players to collect and save monsters.
  • A Puzzle & Dragons: Trading Card Game (PAD TCG) was also released in early 2015. It's somehow a match-three that uses Orb symbols on the bottom of each card in the game.
  • Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition (PazuMari in Japan) is a Super Mario Bros. themed version made for the Nintendo 3DS. This was packaged with PADZ for an international release in May 2015.

The main web site is here.

Puzzle and Dragons contains examples of the following tropes:

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    The Series 
  • Canon Immigrant: Monsters from PADZ appear in their own Descend Dungeon and are peppered throughout the Rare Egg Machine (including God Fest exclusive Apocalypse); meanwhile, several standard PAD monsters end up amongst the monsters in PADZ. The player avatars (and some monsters) from PADBT have a unique Collab Dungeon and a Collab Rare Egg Machine. Diagoldos was created for PAD TCG but was added as a Descend Dungeon in the game to commemorate the TCG's release.
  • Collectible Card Game: Puzzle & Dragons: Trading Card Game released in January 2015.
  • Color-Coded Elements: Red Fire, Blue Water, Green Wood, Yellow Light, Purple Dark, (Pink Hearts, Black Jammers, White Skull Poisons).
  • Compilation Re-release: Well, not rerelease, but Puzzle & Dragons Z and Super Mario Bros. Edition will be bundled together in North America and Europe.
  • Cute Bruiser: Too many to count. Many of the most powerful monsters are Pint Sized Powerhouses (Bastet or Haku for example) or Girly Bruisers (Valkyries and Pandora) or just Fanservice in general. Almost all the female monsters though fall under Fanservice, with "Keeper of Paradise, Metatron" the outstanding example, being Metatron but in a bikini. "Holy Night Santa Claus, Hera" is also another example where it's Hera cosplaying as Santa Claus; it's also the "cutest" example of all the regular Heras save for Hera-Sowilo and the upcoming "Heavenly Gods in Love, Zeus & Hera" note ; the upcoming PAD Academy boss Hera-Ur-Senpai gives Santa Hera a run for her money.
  • 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. Unlike jammers in the regular game, there are purple colored jammers that will spawn even more jammers if those aren't cleared. Heart orbs replenish level turn count, as opposed to health.
  • Dungeon Crawling
  • Elemental Powers: Dubbed in the game as Attributes.
    • Fire, Water (also covers ice which represents it in game effects), and Wood (which covers earth and wind, the latter of which shows up as the game effects) are in an Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors relationship. Light (also covers lightning which makes the game effects) and Dark (for whatever reason represented by a black hole) only weaken each other.
    • Higher-end monsters, generally after an Ultimate Evolution, can have two Attributes: a main Attribute, and a sub-Attribute 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, is a pretty shameless rip-off.
    • Japanese PAD players discovered the Chinese version Dragon Attack and discovered that it was a shameless ripoff of PAD to where pretty much every monster was the same but with new artwork. While some monsters in Dragon Attack looked nothing like the original PAD ones, whoever was doing the art just gave up and just basically made fanart; however, all of the female characters ended up with larger breasts and smaller clothing. Dragon Attack also has collaborations which are even more of a copyright violation than the game itself, featuring blantantly lifted characters from One Piece, Fate/stay night, Sword Art Online, Code Geass, and Attack on Titan.
    • Battle Camp has been seeing a lot of advertisement on Tumblr professing that it is the "Lovechild of Pokémon and World of Warcraft" along with some artwork that would probably get someone sued for copyright infringement (there was one that was literally Ash and Pikachu). It turns out it's just a PAD clone with Gaia Online-esque avatar customization.
    • Romance of the Three Kingdoms Puzzle War is a Chinese-made PAD clone featuring Chinese historical figures that's gained popularity in Taiwan and Japan. The only real difference in mechanics is that the puzzle moves up the screen like an advancing army (the Three Kingdoms motif) instead of dropping down.
  • No Plot? No Problem!:
    • iOS/Android version, at least. Puzzle & Dragons Z, on the other hand, does have a plot.
    • The arcade version, along with actually visible player characters, also has a story mode.
  • RPG Elements: Leveling, experience, stats, et cetera despite being a puzzle game.
  • Rule 63: Incredibly very few for a Japanese freemium game. The only examples are the Metatrons and Noah.
    • However, an alternate Ultimate Evolution for Thor appears as a woman to reference the poem Ţrymskviđa.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Too many to count.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death:
    • A classic way to die is forgetting to heal when you're low on HP and an enemy monster has their turn next.
    • Going into a dungeon with the wrong team, whether one without strong enough attack power to hit high-defense enemies for more than Scratch Damage, or an element-restricted dungeon with a team largely comprising monsters of the wrong element. Depending on the dungeon, the consequences can range from taking much longer to complete the dungeon to seeing "GAME OVER" in about one or two turns. At least for Conditional Dungeons, they're nice enough to tell you that you have monsters with the wrong attribute or typing. But if the dungeon is not conditional, well good luck.

    The Original Game 
  • all lowercase letters: Several monsters released for the Christmas Rare Egg Machine, the Three Kingdoms Pal Egg Machine, and the New Semester Rare Egg Machine are Chibi-fied versions of other monsters in the game, dubbed "Mini" versions in Japan (also their standard name is written in hiragana [except the Three Kingdoms]); for the English release of these guys, all of their names are simply written in lower case letters.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: For the third anniversary campaign in Japan, they released the Zeus & Hera Descended dungeon, which takes place in one of these (only in the anniversary though). For the first five rounds, you're walking down memory lane, with screens of battles past appearing in the background WHILE you are walking down a board. The orbs and the occasional Tamadra are flying in the background. When you finally meet the boss, the whole background turns to black and now the orbs are acting more like meteorites. When the dungeon was added to the "normal" schedule, the background was changed to a generic pallete swap of "heavenly" dungeons.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: This is the case for Puzzle & Dragons W. Beating the DeviTama or betting on the Egg Machine rewards AvaTama, clothing for the TAMADRA avatars that (in the story) were bestowed upon them by the more powerful PAD monsters until King DeviTama led his minions to steal them. However, the clothing is the only way to use Skills, as they are the only way to add Skill Orbs to the board for color changes and such.
  • 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 a bowl of udon and another is a plate of fried shrimp. Then there's the bowl dragons.
  • Anti-Poop Socking : The game tells you to not spend more than an hour per day playing this game in one of the hint boxes.
  • 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. And then there's the in-game Grimoire Series: Goetia, Ars Paulina, Ars Nova, Armadel, and Theurgia.
  • 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' primary ultimates evo forms and "awoken" ultimate evo form.
    • For a more straightforward example, compare Hera, then go down the line through her alternate forms (Is, Ur, Beorc, Sowilo, Zeus & Hera), not counting any Ultimate Evolutions. This is really in full effect for the Ultimate Hera Rush, where Hera gained her own otherworldly throne room as her battleground. Awoken Hera-Beorc, Awoken Hera-Sowilo and Divine Queen Hera look right in place with the background. Awoken Hera-Ur and Awoken Hera-Is looks slightly out of place, while regular Hera really looks out of place with the way her power aura is drawn and colored.
  • Boss Rush: Any dungeon name with the name "Rush" is likely going to be one. The "Ultimate" versions are both this and Brutal Bonus Level combined. The Coin Dungeon "Together at Last! Rare Evo Rush!!" is also one. In Challenge Dungeons and Descended Challenge dungeons, the last two levels are often Rushes.
  • 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.
      • In Japan, players can also win Magic Stones through PADW.
    • There's the Coin Dungeons, which require at least 1 million coins each to run for 1 hour. Need King Jewel Dragons but don't want to wait for it to descend? Pay 3 million coins to run "King Carnival". Missed your opportunity to get some evo materials? Pay 5 million coins 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 "urgent" dungeons, which descend for a hour depending on the day, your ID number and group. The rest of the other Coin Dungeons are either harder versions of existing Technical Dungeons (that are the only place to get the Skill-Up guarantee Py monsters), renewed versions of the "questionaire" dungeons (with a new Master level), Dragon Rush Dungeons, previous biweekly dragon Dungeons, or even Ultimate Rush Dungeons. Also, since you are spending so many Coins to use a Dungeon for an hour, your stamina won't replenish that much in that time, so many players will use Magic Stones multiple times to make the most of coin dungeons.
  • Cast from Hit Points: See HP to One.
  • Companion Cube: Archdemon Astaroth is always depicted with her demonic doll, Cauchemar... which, at least in her "Pure Demon Lord" form, turns into her boy-toy. Cauchemar, in his "Chivalric Demon Prince" form, has an Astaroth doll.
  • Cool Bike: Beelzebub has a Fly-tercycle.
  • Cooldown Manipulation: Players can lower the cooldown of a monsters skills by feeding it other monsters with the same skill. Or, if you've completed some Challenge or Coin-Alternate Dungeons, feeding them "skill-up monsters" for a guaranteed skill up.
    • Monsters might also have awakenings that decrease the cooldown of a skill upon entering a dungeon... Unless you're attempting Wadatsumi's dungeon, in which you're stuck with the set cooldowns for your monsters.
    • And now enemies note  may increase your monsters' skill cooldown by a fixed number, even if they're ready to use.
      • And to balance this out, several new monsters (mostly from the Final Fantasy collaboration) and new ultimate evolutions have skills that when activated reduce the cooldown for every other monster in the party.
  • Cross Over: Occasionally there are collaboration events with other franchises, sometimes other video games, and other times popular anime and even American comics. As of May 2015, Puzzle And Dragons has had collaborations with:
  • Deal with the Devil: A few monsters have leader abilities that are valuable but come at a great cost. Having double of the following example leaders are not recommended:
    • Pompurin has a leader skill that guarantees 3.5x multiplier for attack at a cost of halving your healing. Two of these leaders will give you a 12.25x ATK multiplier, but your RCV is reduced to 1/4.
    • Both Izanamis have leader skill that gives 4x attack to Balanced attribute (for "Empress God") or Physical attribute (for "Yomi Goddess") at the cost of halving the total HP. Having two of them as leaders reduces your total HP to 1/4, but gives 16x ATK multiplier.
    • And then there's Satan, who has a leader skill that's great for devil teams. He also has three dark row enhance awakenings. He also has an active skill, "World's End", which is THE most powerful nuke, as it damages his enemies for 300x his ATK value, for up to 366,000 damage (732,000 on light based monsters) without + egg modifiers for the Ultimate Evolution form, "King of Hell, Satan". With +99 ATK eggs, he can do over a half million damage, much more than what will be possible with Rebel Seraph Lucifer's "Morning Star" (see YMMV page for his damage value). However, the same active skill also has HP to One properties. And he has -9999 RCV, meaning that Heart Orbs are useless since they can't heal the team. note  That doesn't prevent users from putting in a fully awoken "Fertility Deity, Evil Ceres" in the team as an insurance policy. note 
  • Difficult but Awesome: Egyptian Gods, Chinese Celestials, Umisachi&Yamasachi, both Kalis, Durga, and the 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 boss in the game, but achieving 10 combo every single round note  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. "King of the Gods" of "Starlight Sanctuary" is another spike for many.
    • For technical dungeons, the second conditional dungeon, "Tower of the Windy Woods", has a significant spike because you will need to have all six monsters have Wood as a main Attribute with some other attribute as its secondary. All of the dungeons in those series of conditionals won't have that colored orb appearing on the game boards unless you have skills designed to generate these orbs. And, if you're not lucky, you'll be dealing with Elite Mooks (NOT Divine masks, in this case) whose defense is so insanely high compared to the ATK that you can deliver.
      • A subsequent update in Japan made it so that, for these conditional dungeons, sub-Attribute (and sub-Type) also count towards the requirements.
    • For descended dungeons, "Hera Descended" was considered this because this is the easiest of all descended dungeons until it became permanently available. Her permanent dungeon, "Divine Queen's Sleepless Castle", is still a good benchmark for determining if you're strong enough to challenge Descended dungeons. It tells you something when "Divine Queen" is the lowest level in the first "Challenge Descended" and her exclusive "Hera Challenge".
    • On the "Challenge Dungeons", while levels 1-3 are a cakewalk, level 4 starts hitting you hard with late bloomer dragons and they don't let up from there, especially when they have hard-to-kill, hard-hitting skill-up "-py" monsters on level 5.
  • Double Unlock: You won't be able to see or attempt "Ultimate God Rush", "Ultimate Hera Rush", or any "Ultimate" dungeons until you have reached rank/level 165 AND have cleared "Starlight Sanctuary". Why rank 165? Because your maximum stamina will then match the stamina requirements for all the Ultimate Rush dungeonsnote . If you're a newer user and reached rank 165 and wonder why you can't see those dungeons on those days... Well... The game doesn't tell you you have to complete Starlight Sanctuary. Still, you can bypass this restriction at that point by paying 5 million coins to unlock it for an hour, but it's definitely not a wise idea.
  • Dual Boss: Several dungeons have multiple boss monsters at the final round. Well known levels with multiple boss monsters include "Room of the Sacred Mask", "Cave of Dreaming", "Sky Prison", "Two Heroes", "Thoth and Sopdet Descended", and "Legendary Seaway". The boss battle in "Cave of Dreaming" is considered a Trio Boss; while "Legendary Earth" has 3 monsters in the boss round, only one of them really counts as the proper boss.
    • Zeus & Hera Descended is an interesting case, as while they are a single card (a Shared Life Meter and the prize is always the monster "Zeus & Hera"), they attack twice each turn.
    • Another upcoming Descended dungeon has a boss with two fully evolved carbuncles in the same card. This means they attack 3x per turn.
  • Engrish: The game is almost perfectly translated, but the English still sometimes sounds awkward.
    • The most notable example is probably the title. Shouldn't it be Puzzles and Dragons?
    • When asking if you're old enough to buy the in-game currency: "Are you over teen?" before it got corrected to "Please confirm that you're not a minor."
    • Some of the monster names can also be a little iffy at times. Ultimate evolved gods in particular often have "attributes" added to their names that could only be described as word-salad.
    • Notably, one of the official wallpapers mistranslates "Hera" to "Hela".
    • The Descended versions of Challenges. The first time they were introduced, they were known as "Challenge Descended!". Subsequent versions are called "Descended Challenge" dungeons.
  • Evolution Powerup: When most monsters reach their level cap, players can Evolve them, requiring the use of various monsters that are only used as evolutionary material. Other monsters, so long as they're in their final evolution form, can also be Ultimate Evolved into a new form that may add a secondary elemental Attribute, change the monster's thematic typing and therefore its statistics, as well as change its Awoken Skills or add even more to the set it has. These require even rarer Evolution Material monsters. Ultimate Evolutions (dubbed "Uvos") can also be branched, with each branch possessing different stats, sub-Types, sub-Attributes, and Awoken Skills. More often than not, one form will be preferred to the others as a result of Power Creep or other meta-game preferences. However, Ultimate Evolution is not permanent, and can be reversed with fairly easy to find monsters.
    • GungHo threw more things into the mix with the introduction of "Super Ultimate Evolutions", which are Ultimate Evolutions of monsters already Ultimate Evolved; this was only introduced for the Valkyries, giving their new Super Ultimate Evolutions different Awoken Skills than each other, allowing for some form of variety from their prior status as Palette Swaps of each toher.
    • Also added were "Ultimate Awoken Evolutions", new Ultimate Evolutions for older monsters for a form of balance as a result of Power Creep. They all get new Types, new Leader Skills, and new active Skills in the process. These new "Awoken" forms require extremely rare Evolution Material monsters as well as monsters from the various Descended Dungeons, which themselves have pretty expensive Evolution Material costs.
  • Fixed Damage Attack: There are a few skills in the game that have a set damage output, but they ignore the enemies' defense stat. This is mainly useful against monsters with ridiculously high defense (600000 in some cases) but incredibly low HP (usually on the scale of 30 or so) that would otherwise only take 1 damage per attack.
  • Gameplay Grading: Special Dungeons now come with this feature. The game only grades you on the last level of the dungeon series, be it on Master (only on three level dungeons), Legend (earlier dungeons) or Mythical (later dungeons). They will grade you on rarity (less rare = higher score, so players will pick amazing team leaders but fill their team with incredibly common monsters), average combo and number of turns. There is a purpose to this: if you get an "S" rank, you will get a TAMADRA.
  • Guide Dang It: Many of the Dungeon unlocks, Ult Evos and daily dungeon information is not available anywhere in the game. Luckily, there are wikis and forums for you to look up information.
    • Descends are difficult even with a guide. Without one, it's almost guaranteed that you may get hit with a powerful attack, monster bind or another nasty surprise and die at some point, losing precious stamina in the process.
  • 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. The newer biweekly dragon dungeons now include Mythical as the last level.
    • Ultimate God Rush, Ultimate Hera Rush, Ultimate Devil Rush, Ultimate Dragon Rush, and Ultimate Yamato Rush add a new level: Legend-Plus. The bosses of each level have pre-emptive strikes that make things more difficult, such as requiring 6 or more combos to do any damage, an out-of-the-gate 31 thousand HP damaging attack, or turning the whole board into poison. And god forbid you don't kill them fast enough, because most of them have attacks that only come out if you leave them with a certain amount of HP remaining, such as one who which is a 100% player HP reduction. Unless you plan ahead of time with a defensive move, you're SOL.
    • And then they added "Together at Last! Rare Evo Rush!!" as a Coin Dungeon; it has the same difficulty as the Legend-Plus "Ultimate" Rushes and it also costs the same as one, but players try to farm it for evolution materials even though drops are not guaranteed.
  • High School A.U.: Well, not quite "AU", but the PAD Academy event.
  • Horny Devils: Some of the female characters, mostly associated with Dark type ones. The Heras are the shining example of these.
  • Highly Visible Ninjas: All of them.
  • HP to One: Many enemy monsters in Technical Dungeons and Descended Dungeons have attacks that reduce the player's HP to 1%, which has to be mitigated with a monster with defensive Awoken or Leader Skills, or a decent health recovery. Several player monsters have powerful active Skills that will reduce the player's HP to 1 point, namely (Archangel) Lucifer, Satan, Lu Bu, Noah, and ultimate Goemon; balance updates make these Skills more versatile by either randomly changing 3 orbs on the playing board to useful colors (Lucifer and Satan) or changing everything to a single color (Noah and Goemon). Other monsters have a lesser nuke and a power boost, but HP still drops to 1 (Durga and Heracles).
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: In order from easiest to hardest:
    • Novice
    • Int(ermediate)
    • Expert
    • Master
    • Legend, and its variants according to the collaboration (in parentheses):
      • Matsuri? (Takaoka City)
      • Gold (Angry Birds), Extra-Spicy (Angry Birds Epic)
      • Universe (GROOVE COASTER)
      • Heaven Sent (ECO)
      • Kingdom (Hello Kitty)
      • Kai (Dragon Ball Z)
      • Paradise (Gunma)
      • Blessed (2014 Christmas Dungeon)
      • Z (Puzzle and Dragon Z)
      • Cosmo (Saint Seiya)
      • Conqueror (Fist of the North Star)
      • Oni (Taiko no Tatsujin)
      • Pro (Hunter x Hunter)
      • G Rank (Monster Hunter)
      • Youth (2015 New Semester Dungeon)
    • Mythical
      • SuperBlessed (2014 Christmas Dungeon)
      • SuperYouth (2015 New Semester Dungeon)
    • Legend-Plus
  • 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.
  • Joshikousei: Athena, Isis, and Hera-ur in PAD Academy.
  • 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; Tengu has a similar ability. But, if the OHKO is a multi-hit attack, you're pretty much dead.
    • Enemy monsters may now possess a Resolve passive skill so that they always survive at 1 HP when they got hit by a fatal attack, allowing them to put up some nasty traps on you (heavy blows, team bind, etc); Sonia Gran and Zeus & Hera possess abilities to recover their health (100% and 50% respectively).
      • The tactic to defeat this (for Zeus & Hera, at least)? 1. Use Poison when they don't bar-out Status Effects; 2. Set up a Skill with a counterattack, such as Anubis's Curse of the Darkness, so when they start their recovering sequence, their Gravity goes first (and got countered) and kills them at 1 HP before they can recover.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Each monster has a "Cost" value, and the sum of your monsters' Costs cannot exceed your maximum allotted Cost, which increases as you rank up. Early on it's possible to get a Rare Egg Machine pull whose Cost exceeds your maximum team Cost, rendering it completely unusuable.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Subverted for Type-Restricted Conditional and Elemental Conditional Dungeons. For example, Zhang Fei's dungeons requires all monsters to either have a Physical or Attacker type. However, this only applies to main type. So if you tried to use Kenshin or Shingen Samurai Dragons, with Attacker and Physical sub-types respectively, PAD will not accept it because both have the required type as secondary types. The same goes for Elemental Conditional Dungeons. Noah's dungeons requires all five elements; they must be present as main elemental attributes, NOT secondary element attributes.
      • Later double-subverted when sub-types and sub-elements are allowed in conditionals in 7.6.
    • Encouraged for conditional leader skills which activate if any of X colors or sub-types attack. It's common to use sub elements to fulfill the conditional leader skills meaning that users can build a mostly single color team to maximize damage in a single attack.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Rare Egg Machine pulls. You spend 5 Magic Stones for one pull, and God help your mobile device 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 Descended 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 , stalling for skills or trying not to get the enemy at a certain HP percentage, for example).
      • The Anubis, Kushinadahime and BAO Robin cards fall prey to this, as their Leader Skill relies on combos. The most combos you can set up on a single board intentionally is 10. The leader skills of "Anubis" and "Hell Deity, Jackal Anubis" only activate at 10 combos, but give you a 10x multiplier. "Deathly Hell Deity Jackal, Anubis" is more forgiving, requiring only a minimum of 8 combos for a 4x, which can max out at 10x at 10 combos, but "Abyssal Hell Deity Jackal, Anubis" keeps the 10 combos for 10x, but can go up to 15x at 15 combos, which requires a hell of a lot of luck. "Kushinadahime" and her evolutions start out at 1.5x at 3 combos, and it goes up another 0.5x for each combo up to twenty combos for 10x. BAO Robin give you 4x attack at 8 combos and 8x attack at 10 combos.
  • Magical Girl: So many.
  • Magikarp Power: Though many, many monsters become infinitely more powerful in their later forms (including things like Athena who goes from almost-useless to ridiculously-powerful on her ultimate evolution, or simply things like Dark Metatron who gain insane versatility in their Ultimate Form), this trope is at its strongest when we talk about Amaterasu, who, despite sharing the best healing ability in the game with Ceres (being the only ability that guarantees to heal all of your binds and heal you to full) also has one of the weakest leader skills in the game (heals your HP for an amount equal to her (not that big at this point) recovery stat every turn). Evolving her, however, not only gives her a massive boost in recovery, but also makes her leader skill literally five times as strong and makes her bind-immune if you give her all of her awoken skillsnote . Both of her ultimates take it up another notch. Her first (Called Dancing Light, Amaterasu Ohkami) adds another multiplier to her leader healing skill making her the single most potent healer in the game. On top of that, her leader skill now multiplies the attack of all God-type monsters by 1.5, making her very viable. Her alternate ultimate evolution (Dancing Flame, Amaterasu Ohkami) turns her into an ultra-capable Combat Medic; she keeps the powerful healing from her pre-ultimate form but becomes an attacker and triples the ATK of all Attacker types on the team on top of that, making her very useful in late-game dungeons.
  • Marathon Level: Endless Corridors. Beat that, and you unlock True Endless Corridors.
    • An update in Japan added Absolute Endless Corridors.
    • And then a month or so after that they renewed them all again to add conditional restrictions versions (no hearts or no Awoken Skills) for all three varieties.
  • 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.
    • Combo count also affects how much HP you lose if you match poison orbs. Luckily, the HP loss doesn't multiply and is instantly cancelled out by heart orb multipliers.
    • The companion game PADW is more of a standard Match Three Game, and is missing most of the RPG elements of PAD. Each level has a specific rule that must be met in order to damage the enemy DeviTama. These range from requiring certain colors to be matched in one turn, making a match of more than 3 in a row, or making at least a certain number of combos, possibly without skyfalls. Players are also only given a certain number of turns per level, requiring Heart orb matches to restore turn count.
  • Mechanical Monster: Mechdragons, Legendary Mech Dragon, Mystic Dragons, and others.
  • Mighty Glacier: Masks and certain bosses. Most of them have extremely high defense (enough that teams only do scratch damage) and do huge amounts of damage but take a few turns to attack. Luckily, they often have low hp though the high defense means that most teams still take a few turns to destroy them - unless you have abilities tailored towards getting past them.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Oh so many. But THE defining Ms. Fanservice is definitely Hera. There is Santa Hera for the Christmas dungeon (which is actually Divine Queen Hera cosplaying as Santa Claus, but not vengeful but more... charitable with her gifts and the "Blessing Embrace") and then there's Hera-Ur-Senpai from the upcoming PAD Academy dungeon. Both forms are really opposite of their original forms in terms of personality, making this clear that Santa Hera and Hera-Ur-Senpai are there for Fanservice.
    • Keeper of Paradise, Metatron. It's literally "Keeper of the Sacred Texts, Metatron" (same skills and awakening), except her attributes are switched, and she's in a bikini and sarong.
  • Mon: Type I.
  • Mook Mascot: The TAMADRA. The cute, flying egg monster thingy has been made into plushies and other merchandise. Hell, the TAMADRA is present in the Super Mario Bros. Edition to remind people where the gameplay comes from. Unusually for this trope, the TAMADRA is a rare mook that drops even more rarely.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Was the case for the Valkyries, especially in relation to Light Valkyrie's Descended dungeon name, "The Goddess Descended." Now the secondary Ultimate Evolution for Valkyries are part-God type.
  • No Sell: Some stronger opponents in Technical Dungeons will dispel and block status effects on themselves, absorb an element of attack, or absorb any attack at or below a certain combo or damage threshold. They often effectively last forever; 999 turns.
  • One Time Dungeon: A variant. Anniversary and holiday events usually contain a one time dungeon with only one floor. Usually it means a free monster and stone, as the enemy either won't fight back or is incredibly easy to beat. Some of these are not freebies; such as "Challenge of a Lifetime," which is against a random Spirit Jewel invade.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The game features the Starter Dragons (the three you pick from at the start plus two secret ones), "Color/Ripper/Resist" Dragons (they resist their own elemental damage), "Late Bloomer" Dragons (dragons of various mythologies that evolve fairly late), Legendary Dragons (named after Norse mythology), Metal and Jewel Dragons, Skydragons (named after mythical paradises), Mechdragons (robotic dragons named after stars), Toy Dragons (they look like plush toys including stitching and patches), Pengdras, Ancient Dragons (all named after Scottish whiskey distilleries for some reason), Snow Globe Dragons (Gratuitous French names), Moltdras (basically made of barley), Samurai Dragons (named after Sengoku period figures), Mythic Stone Dragons (named after legendary minerals), Mystic Dragons (named after mysterious archaeological artifacts), Pirate Dragons (basically famous pirates that ride dragons), Fruit Dragons, Flower Dragons, Dragon Princess Knights (famous female historical figures with dragons), Insect Dragons, Bowl Dragons (named after popular Japanese dishes), and most recently Cat Dragons. This doesn't include anything that comprises the separate Dragon Type either.
  • 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.
  • Palette Swap: Many grunts and most Godfest-exclusive monsters suffer from this; with Ultimate Evolutions adding some variety. The Valkyrie series was the worst offender, at four recolors; their unique Super Ultimate Evolutions (Ultimate Evolutions of Ultimate Evolutions) also fix this issue.
  • Physical God: The God class characters, save for Archangels and a few others like Noah and the Three Kingdoms characters.
  • Point Of No Continues:
    • Some of the Challenge Dungeon levels, and all floors in Descended Challenges, have "No Continue" as a condition, kicking you out as soon as you die.
    • Endless Corridors dungeon types also have this, though it's probably to prevent accidentally wasting a Magic Stone in what's effectively training mode.
    • Challenge Mode in Normal or Technical dungeons, which is you as the sole Leader and any 5 friends as subs, also disallows continues. Each of them gives a Magic Stone for clearing that dungeon.
  • Power Creep:
    • Despite the surprisingly balanced gameplay note , 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 4x and 6.25x being "normal" teams); now any teams under 12.25x (two 3.5x) are almost obsolete - unless they have ways of increasing damage. note 
    • 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 Hera's Ultra Gravity and Zeus's Wrath of God 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 Hera Descended and Zeus Descended became permanently available dungeons.
    • When the Crystal Defenders Collaboration was updated in 2015, they added the Juggler, a monster so ridiculously broken that it forced Power Creep to be a Power Leap. Its Leader Skill simply requires that the player make two heart matches in a single turn for a 7x attack multiplier, and its active Skill generates hearts, as well as being designed to compliment Pandora, another popular monster. With only 3 combos, a player can do a 49x damage multiplier in a single turn if partnered with another Juggler. At the time, only the Anubis, Kushinadahime, and BAO Robin cards could match this damage output - except they required 9, 14, and 10 combos respectively to achieve this. In addition, his Awoken Skills mean he cannot be bound by enemy attacks (only shared with Anubis), and despite complaints from the player community of being broken, the dev team said that they would be balancing things out in the future.
      • The next new Godfest exclusives were intended to serve as this balance, as they also possessed Leader Skills that required simple combos but offered a 6x multiplier (still weaker than Juggler in raw power). Several new Ultimate Awoken Evolutions for the Indian (1) God and Egyptian (1) God series also served to balance this, as well as some tweaks to older cards' Leader Skills and Awoken Skills, such as making Pure Light Deity, Ra, unbindable and an 8x multiplier.
      • Awoken Anubis seems to go above and beyond, raising the stakes to a possible 400x multiplier.
  • Random Effect Spell: From the Batman Collab, The Joker's active Skill which when activated, randomly picks one to use out of 10 possible options. Chrollo Lucilfer from the Hunter × Hunter Collab has the same Skill, but a different name.
  • Recurring Boss: Played with.
    • Awoken Hera-Ur is this and a Degraded Boss. She is her own boss in her own descended dungeon. Once Zeus Vulcan's was introduced, she was included in his dungeon on the 8th floor, with the exact same stats as her Mythical dungeon. Later, she gets upgraded for real in the Challenge Dungeons, where she was the boss of Lv. 10, in her Awoken Dancing Queen form.
    • Hera-Is is a an example where she gets upgraded twice. Her Mythical dungeon has her in her regular form. But in Zeus Mercury's dungeon, she was upgraded to Awoken Hera-Is. On the second Challenge Dungeon, her Permafrost Queen form was the boss of Lv. 10.
    • Thoth and Sopdet got a huge upgrade. They were a Dual Boss in their own descended dungeon in their base forms. For Sphinx Descended, they're upgraded to their evolutions as separate floors. Awoken Sopdet has a new passive skill that can absorb attacks that do more than 200 thousand damage while Awoken Thoth debuts the new Skill Cooldown increase ability.
  • Retcon: A couple of examples.
    • When Hera was introduced as a boss, she was called both "Queen of the Gods" and "Queen of Darkness". Later, they added her Ultimate form "Divine Queen Hera", and the "Divine Queen" referred specifically to her Ultimate form. Now that her descended dungeon has been made permanently available, her permanent dungeon is called "Divine Queen's Sleepless Castle" and both of her titles have been combined into "Divine Queen of Darkness". Even though the boss is in its basic form. This is likely in response to her other forms and titles. ("Demonic Fire Queen" for Hera-Ur, "Arboreal Queen" for Hera-Beorc, etc.)
    • Valkyrie. Her Descended dungeon is called "The Goddess Descended" and her title is "Holy Goddess". The only problem with that? In the past, Valkyrie didn't have God typing. Gung Ho has since corrected it by adding God sub types to all of the Super Ultimate forms.
  • Roguelike: The new Zaerog Infinity Descended Dungeon was introduced to Japan described as this. The players' monsters have their levels reduced to 1 and enemies randomized. The players' monsters gain experience after each wave is cleared, with lower Team Cost monsters leading to a higher amount of experience gained. This obviously forces players to try out other monsters they have, rather than relying on the super powerful God Fest exclusives or Ultimate Awoken Gods.
  • Scenery Censor:
    • The only card to have this is Wolyafa. It looks like she's sitting on her bell-hammer. Except, she's not and Ragnarok Online players know why.
    • Hera-Ur-Senpai's art has her left leg placed strategically to avoid a Panty Shot.
  • 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 (the -py Skill Up Monsters show up with 6 million 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 usually bypass this problem altogether with poison skills, percent damage skills or fixed-damage skills, which damage HP directly. Since Poison is considered a debuff, enemy shields can and will nullify and/or preemptively cancel the debuff.
      • There are also a handful of skills that reduce enemy defense, with an even smaller number being able to reduce enemy defense to 0. While some are Rare Egg Machine pulls (Shiva, Kenshiro, Kuromi, Fencer, and Soldier), at least Top Droidragon is a(n evolved) freebie.
  • She's Got Legs: "Divine Law Goddess, Valkyrie Rose", Ars Paulina and Wicked Lady are generally agreed to have the best legs.
  • Sixth Ranger: Green Skydragon Elysium, Blue Flamedragon Muspelheim, and Chaos Blizzard Dragon to their respective themes. They all 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.
    • Pterra and Spinon fill this role for the Starter Dragon trio, as they can only be obtained through the Present Egg Machine (sending a gift to another player gives the sender a roll of the slot), or their evolved forms can only be obtained in the (discontinued) Ancient Dragon Dungeons or in the Extreme Dragon Rush dungeons.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • The dungeon for "Zeus & Hera" uses the "normal dungeon" theme, even though it's a technical dungeon.
    • The technical dungeon theme sounds a little too cheerful and holiday-like for BGM used in the game's more difficult line of non-event 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. In Normal Dungeons, this means you need to power up your existing monsters and pick up more powerful ones, and in Special Dungeons if you see "Strong" over every enemy you most likely picked the wrong dungeon.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: There're absolutely no point of not evolving all the monsters you have...Except if you're preparing for Condition Limited Descended Dungeons. Many high-end monsters and/or teams are barred from entrance due to their types, high costs and/or rarity, making their "useless" counterparts have chances to shine.
  • Valkyries: The Valkyrie series of course.
  • 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 very few creatures that can change them into something useful (the Chester series' Skill Gravity Room turns both into hearts, Mamiya from Fist of the North Star turns jammers into fire orbs, and Defoud turns jammers into light orbs). Full board changer skills and the "Orb Refresh" skill can reset the whole board, ridding of those whammies. And then there are jammer and poison orb skyfalls, which aren't affected by awoken skills.
    • Beelzebub's pre-emptive changes the several orbs to poison orbs in his descend. Once you get his HP down to a certain level, he then turns your entire board into poison orbs. Unless your team's Awoken Skills resist it, or have a full board changer or an Orb Refresh ready, consider it game over. To make this worse, his "Crazed King of Purgatory" form, as seen in the Ultimate Devil Rush and in Lv. 10 dungeons, has this skill as his pre-emptive.
    • The active skill for Dragon Samurai and Dragon Shogun turns heart orbs into poison orbs, offsetting a Dragon Type attack bonus. The active skill for Marlboro Menace, from Crystal Defenders, changes wood orbs into poison orbs.
  • Title Drop: Sonia Gran's active skill is literally Puzzle & Dragons. Particularly meaningful when you consider that half the skill increases orb movement time by 5 seconds and the second half buffs dragons for a turn.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Well, one of the birds seems to reside in Green Essence Sorceress, Armadel's cleavage.

    Puzzle and Dragons Z 
  • Affably Evil: Jilen, the wood member of Genius.
  • Arc Symbol: Puzzle pieces.
  • Big Bad: Dogma, the leader of Paradox and the kickstarter of the destruction of the world.
  • But Thou Must: A running gag. Lampshaded in it's first apperance, where the "no" option is "I don't care if this is an endless loop, I still say no."
  • Cross Over: The Japanese release of PADZ featured several collaboration dungeons, including Taiko No Tatsujin, Shinra Bansho, CoroCoro Comics, 7-Eleven, Tsutaya, and Famitsu.
  • Dark Action Girl: Rivera and Ayame, who represent fire and light respectively.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: This applies to any recruitable Dark-type monsters, but especially the Skydragons of Night and Death.
  • Dual Boss: Moomoo and Junjun attack the player using two monsters at once the first teo times you fight them. Incidentally, they represent the water element.
  • Doomed Hometown: Inverted. Zed City is one of the few places that's perfectly fine once Dogma's plan is set in motion.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Enigma
  • Expy: After The Reveal, Dogma and Enigma can be seen as one to N and Ghetsis, respectively.
  • Fat Bastard: Hiyomaru, who represents the dark element.
  • Floating Continent: The various continents of the world are turned into this.
  • Metal Slime: The metal/gold/jewel dragons, as well as their King versions, provide lots of experience when defeated, and even more when their eggs are fed to another monster. Fitting the trope, they have very high defense and will flee if not defeated quickly. Mythilits and Dub-Mythilits are the D-energy (money) equivalent.
  • Pastiche: Of the 'Mons genre. While the gotta catch 'em all aspect is played completely straight, the writing tends to be a bit tongue-in-cheek.
  • Post-End Game Content: After the credits roll, harder versions of every area appear, with Dark Skydragons at the end of each temple. Beating them is how you earn both the regular and Dark versions of the Skydragons to use in your team.
  • Silent Protagonist: Played with. Your character occasionally speaks through dialogue options, but even while other people are talking his/her expression changes.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Standard Evil Organization Squad: Paradox.

    Puzzle and Dragons: Super Mario Bros Edition 
  • Art Shift: Compared to the other PAD games. The interface, overworld and stages are almost straight out of the New Super Mario Bros. games.
  • Cameo: PAD's mascot TAMADRA shows up in the game's cover, as well as in Toad Houses for some of the monster upgrades.
  • Defeat Means Playable: Bowser and Bowser Jr. will join your team if you beat the game once. Same goes for the Koopalings when you beat them in the Special Worlds, and Dry Bowser when you beat him in the final Special World.
  • Difficulty Spike: World 3 is where the game gets really tough, particularly at Morton's castle.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Basically it's a PAD game with Mario graphics, characters and setting.
  • Excuse Plot: Bowser's kidnapped Peach again. Only this time, elemental Orbs have randomly appeared throughout the land and Mario or Luigi has to match them to fight enemies, instead of platforming. It's also not well-explained why some of Bowser's minions are hiding inside blocks, let alone joining Mario on his quest.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: One of the early bosses is a Wiggler with a Chomp for a tail. There's more coming later...
  • Mutually Exclusive Party Members: For obvious reasons, you can't have two Marios or two Luigis on your team; whichever one is selected as Leader will have all other versions of him unavailable as a Helper. Helper characters that aren't also Leaders (that is, Toads and Yoshis) also qualify, since there's only one Helper slot.
  • New Game+: Just like in Super Mario 3D Land, there are eight special worlds in addition to eight normal ones.
  • Pokémon Speak: TAMADRA does this.
  • Power Gives You Wings: Several ally monsters can evolve into winged forms, like Goomba to Paragoomba and Koopa to Parakoopa. Though since P-Wings are required to trigger the transformations, it's more like Wings Give You Power.
  • Required Party Member: Unlike most PAD games, where any monster can be team leader, in Mario Bros. Edition your team must be led by either Mario or Luigi; though as you progress through the game several variations of both become available. Eventually Peach, Rosalina, Bowser, Bowser Jr. and the Koopalings are unlocked as well.
  • Sequel Difficulty Drop: The first two worlds just give you 3-4 orbs (+ hearts) stages for a while. In the original, you are forced to match 5 orbs immediately after the tri-color tutorial.
    • You are also given dual-type characters and monsters with orb-type-changing skills right from the start. In the original, the only way you'd get these early is via the luck-based Rare Egg Machine or Pal Egg Machine.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Enemies hit much harder than they do in PADZ to the point where grinding is an absolute necessity.
  • True Final Boss: Dry Bowser is the boss of Special World 8.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Boom-Boom in World 1. Up until him you could get by with one or two combos each and without the use of skills. Try that against Boom-Boom and you'll find yourself losing all of your lives.

Alternative Title(s):

Puzzle And Dragons