Video Game / Puzzle & Dragons

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Puzzle & Dragons (shortened to PazuDora in Japan or PAD in the west) is a Japanese puzzle/role-playing game for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire, 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. However, unlike other match-three games, the game allows freedom to move the selected orb and swap it with its surrounding orbs for a certain amount of time. This allows the execution of combos, which are central to gameplay. 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. Their individual abilities, whether active or passive, can dictate to a large degree damage done and received in battle.

Despite being very, very popular in Asia, the game is almost unknown in North America due to the lack of an initial English release, but now the game has been out for 3 years internationally for North America, Europe (EU shares a single server, but the game language can be individually set to English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish), South Korea, and Hong Kong and Taiwan (also sharing a server because both regions use the same form of written Chinese). As of January 2016, the game has achieved 50 million downloads worldwide (only counting store downloads), with 39 million in Japan, 9 million in North America, and 2 million in each of South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and Europe. The Japanese edition celebrates its 4th anniversary in February 2016.

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, using a preset team. It's periodically available for free. The game's producer announced that it will be retooled to be a sister app and allow players to make up their own dungeons for friends to try their hands at.
  • 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 and player data is saved via IC Chip cards, but its main draw is real time player vs. player gameplay.
  • 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. As of 2016, it is slowly being sunsetted in Japan.
  • 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. It went out of print in 2016.
  • 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. An update patch in December 2015 for all regions adds new Score Attack courses and online leaderboards for those courses.
  • Puzzle & Dragons Radar (PADR) is a companion app to PAD. Based on your GPS location, you can collect Treasures that be traded in for fairly rare monsters or access to one of the weekday/weekend dungeons on a different day or a particular hourly dungeon. It has also been used to distribute new super difficult dungeons.
  • Puzzle & Dragons X (PADX or PazuKuro in Japan; X is read as "Cross") was released in 2016 for the 3DS. Set up as an RPG like PADZ, but this time the player character can gain a monster's power to have the leader skill active in battle. The player character is shown as wearing Horus armor in promo material, which also features mobile game favorite (red) Sonia. It receives an anime adaptation in Summer 2016.

The main web site is here.

Puzzle & Dragons contains examples of the following tropes:

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    The Series 
  • Canon Immigrant: With the release of the various spinoff games for PAD, several new Monsters get added to the original game in special event Dungeons and limited availability Rare Egg Machines. PADZ gets its own Descended Dungeon and several monsters get added to regular rotation in the Rare Egg Machine (including a Godfest exclusive). PADBT gets a full-size Collab event Dungeon and an exclusive Collab Egg Machine featuring the arcade game's human characters (and their monster partners). PAD TCG gets a Descended Dungeon for its original monster. PADX has one Descended Dungeon for the male player character, has a second one planned for the female player character, and several existing cards get new PADX forms.
  • 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 were 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 Loving Heavenly Deities, Zeus & Hera; PAD Academy's boss Hera-Ur-Senpai gives Santa Hera a run for her money.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: PADZ, PADBT, and PADW 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.
    • The Indigo Descended Dungeon features a larger playing board at 7×6 rather than 6×5 to add a new level of challenge compared to the prior Legendary (Roguelike) Dungeons, which is then adopted to the next batch of Challenge Dungeons......together with 5×4 boards.
    • New leader skills in PAD introduced with Khepri and the Kinnikuman give high attack or all parameter multipliers, but the tradeoff is that matches of 3 or matches of 4 or less won't be cleared from the board, turning the game into a match-4 or match-5 game instead. Mastering this seems to be key for the new meta now that GungHo has apparently given up on variations of cross-shaped clears.
    • Another new leader skill introduced with Awoken Kushi and the tri-colored Wisdom Kings have large attack mutliplers for low combo matching, but disable matches caused by skyfall. This means you only have what's on the board to work with. Fortunately, said Kinnikuman crossover also introduced Active skills that increase the combo count to help with this.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Tyrra, Plessie, Brachy, Pterra, Spinon, and their evolutions are all based on dinosaurs or similar prehistoric creatures, and all are Dragon/True Dragon Type monsters.
  • Drought Level of Doom: The "No RCV" / Heartless Dungeons/Courses, which deprive you of Heart Orbs. This doesn't stop you from using your monsters' healing skills or skills that produce Recovery Orbs, and even then monsters in no-Recovery dungeons tend to do less damage than their standard counterparts. The focus basically shifts to having high HP, high attack, or both to clear these dungeons.
  • Dungeon Crawling
  • Elemental Powers: Dubbed in the game as Attributes.
    • Fire, Water (also covers Ice), and Wood (which covers Earth and Wind) are in an Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors relationship. Light (also covers Lightning) and Dark 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).
    • This is drastically different from "Type", which Monsters also have, which is not elemental in nature but rather descriptive of their stats (Attacker, Physical, Healer, Balance), design (Dragon, God, Devil, Machine), or use in the game as fusion fodder (Evo Material, Enhance Material, Awoken Material, Vendor); several Technical Dungeons do feature enemy skills that bind all God or Devil Type monsters on the player's team. PADZ mixes up the Types to be solely indicative of their design (Mutant, True Dragon, Phantom Dragon, Animal, God, Dragonoid).
      • Starting with Version 8.6.1, a handful of Awoken Skills have been added that increase your own attack against enemy monsters of certain Types. The first set rolled out were Dragon Killer, God Killer, Devil Killer, and Machine Killer. A later update added Attacker Killer, Physical Killer, Healer Killer, and Balance Killer. And a third update added Awoken Material Killer and Vendor Killer.
  • Forced Tutorial: All of the games have unskippable hand-holding orb matching and monster management exercises at the beginning. At least the original PAD's has a side purpose: to discourage restarting and make it take longer to re-roll your first rare monster, should you decide to do it anyway.
  • Mons: One of the series' features is the number of monsters to collect.
  • No Plot? No Problem!:
    • iOS/Android version, at least. Puzzle & Dragons Z, on the other hand, does have a plot, as does Puzzle & Dragons X.
      • With the introduction of the Dragonbounds and the Phantom Demons Godfest Exclusives in 2015, an ongoing cryptic epic has been added with each update that features them, expanding to include the Japanese Dragon Callers added as Godfest Exclusives, several Descended Dungeons, new Monster Point monsters, several biweekly Special Dungeons, and of course ultimate evolutions for the various characters. Several fansites and the game's subReddit have gathered information on the story to make sense of it. They even added a piece of lore for the June Bride event because a few characters were in it.
    • The arcade version, along with actually visible player characters, also has a story mode.
    • The Mario Edition has an Excuse Plot at best.
  • Pokémon Speak: The TAMADRA, of course, always says TAMA. Since they also speak the language of the game, it also comes off as a Verbal Tic.
  • RPG Elements: Leveling, experience, stats, et cetera despite being a puzzle game.
    • The new "Special" Descended Dungeons have shades of this in-game, as they were sort of designed to be Roguelikes: All entering monsters begin with their stats as if they're Level 1, and after defeating enemies on each floor they gain a certain number of levels based on the turns it takes to beat the floor, with lower cost (essentially rarity) monsters gaining more.
  • Rule 63: Incredibly very few for a Japanese freemium game. The only examples are the Metatrons, Noah, the Grimoire Series, Gremory and Sitri.
    • However, an alternate Ultimate Evolution for Thor appears as a woman to reference the poem Þrymskviða.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Too many to count.
  • Socialization Bonus:
    • When starting a level, you select a Helper monster belonging to someone on your friends list to fight alongside your team.
    • The 3DS versions of PAD use the system's StreetPass system to mimic this, while also providing built-in non-social Helper options. StreetPassing a fellow player will allow you to use their Helper, but only once, and after that, the Helper and its associated Tamer/Player Card is Lost Forever, unless you somehow StreetPass them again. Exchanging Cards with another player (as in, connecting with them via IR) will allow you to use their Helper again periodically, lets you keep their Card permanently, and in Z, gives you an extra Skill Point maximum when using their Helper.
  • 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 palette swap of "heavenly" dungeons.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Yomi, intentionally by the artist. Their Light Ultimate Evo leans them towards Male while their Dark Ultimate leans to Female, and the Awoken form is a Cyborg.
  • 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 Nova, Ars Paulina, Armadel, and Theurgia, with the latter three being (sub-)bosses. More recently, Dantalion, Sitri, Ronove, Paimon, and Gremory were added to the Godfest exclusives.
  • 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 Legend Plus version of 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. Both Awoken Hera-Ur and Awoken Hera-Is look slightly out of place, while regular Hera really looks out of place with the way her power aura is drawn and colored. For the Mythical Plus version, they upgraded Hera-Ur to Awoken Dancing Queen, they also upgraded Hera-Is to Permafrost Queen, and they added Zeus & Hera. They all look perfectly in place with the Devil Throne save for regular Hera.
    • The Japan-exclusive Baskin Robbins Ice Cream collab dungeon had this when it was renewed in 2014 (mostly to reflect how Baskin Robbins' branding changed in Japan).
  • Battle Couple: Zeus & Hera. Thoth and Sopdet, both in their own dungeon (separately) and as a team in the Halloween dungeon.
  • Beach Episode: The PAD Island event.
    • Smashing Watermelons: Valkyrie Claire is shown slicing watermelons with her scythe. Plus, Keeper of Paradise, Metatron has this as an attack. Also, chibi!Captain Kidd is seen slicing one in Awilda's artwork.
    • Pirate Girl: "Incognito Queen, Awilda", of course, as well as "Paradise Jade Dragon Caller, Sonia", who is green Sonia but with a pirate hat.
    • Fanservice with a Smile: Beach Café Waitress, High Water Ninja.
    • Dark-Skinned Blond: Valkyrie Claire's ultimate evolution is her but tanned... and with white hair.
  • Bishonen Line: Kraken, who goes from a giant squid to a giant squidman hunk after evolving.
  • 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 for these three dungeons 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 used to be the the only place to get the Skill-Up guarantee Py monsters before they were all moved to Multiplayer mode and then made permanently available in Technical mode), renewed versions of the "questionnaire" dungeons (with a new Master level), Dragon Rush Dungeons, previous biweekly dragon Dungeons, or even Ultimate Rush Dungeons (again, moved to Multiplayer mode). 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 1.
  • 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 Alt Dungeons (formerly found under Coin Dungeons, now available in Multiplayer Mode), 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 or Kaguya-hime's dungeon or any other dungeon that nullifies any awoken skill, 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.
      • And to balance this out even further, one Latent Awakening is the ability to resist increasing skill cooldowns.
  • Critical Hit Class: Awoken Orochi and especially Scheat have pitiful attack, but both have 4 and 5 Two Prong Attack awakenings, respectively, meaning that matching 4 orbs will give them, respectively, a 5.06× and 7.59× ATK boost.
  • Crossover: Occasionally there are collaboration events with other franchises, sometimes other video games, and other times popular anime and even American comics. As of July 2016, Puzzle And Dragons has had collaborations with:
  • Crutch Character: Various gods such as (Green) Odin and the once game breaking Lucifer will easily help see you through many mid-to-late dungeons. If you want to get serious about descends though, you'll be looking to heavy combo/TPA/multiplier gods.
  • 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 an 3.5× ATK at a cost of halving your healing. Two of these leaders will give you a 12.25× ATK, but your RCV is reduced to 1/4.
      • Gaia also gives 3.5× ATK to Attackers with the same penalty unless she's Ultimate evolved.
    • Ultimate Lifeform, Doomsday's leader skill gives 3× ATK for Attacker types, but reduces total HP to 1/2. Having a double Doomsday leader team gives you 9×ATK for Attacker type, but gives you 1/4 HP, making this kind of team a total Glass Cannon.
    • Both Izanamis in their basic and primary evolved forms have leader skill that gives 4× ATK to Balanced attribute (for "Empress God"), or Physical attribute (for "Yomi Mistress"), or God and Balanced (both REM-exclusives "Masquerade Guest" and "Dawn Bride") at the cost of halving the total HP. Having two of them as leaders reduces your total HP to 1/4, but gives 16× ATK. The more recent ultimates of both Dark Izanami ("Pacifying Yomi Goddess") and Light Izanami ("Creation Empress God") reduces the penalty per lead to 1/4 and also applies it to God Types, leaving you with just over half your HP with a dual led team, and adds two extra autoheals.
    • 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 300× 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). That same attack will turn your whole board into dark orbs, taking full advantage of his three Dark Row Awakenings. However, the same active skill also has HP to 1 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 
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: Works both ways. In the enemies' case, if you get their HP below a certain point, they will cast a debuff before using one of these moves. In most cases, these attacks will likely KO your team unless you manage to guard it. Except for Awoken Machine Hera. Her Death or Glory Attack at below 20% HP is a -1000% Gravity attack and the only way to guard from it is to use Genie's, Orphan's or Eight-Star Raphael's Active Skill.
  • Difficult but Awesome: Egyptian Gods, Chinese Celestials, Umisachi&Yamasachi, both Kalis, Durga, and the Hero Gods; really, any monster with a "x multiplier when y or more attributes match", "x multiplier when these specific attributes match" (aka rainbow for either of these), or "x+ multiplier at y or more combos" Leader Skill. 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 combos 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.
    • Awoken Anubis: the damage multiplier begins on 9 Combos (1 more than Deathly UE) but, by using a skill before achieving 12 Combos, will result in a multiplier of 400× ATK. Truly a satisfying way to send your enemies straight into hell.
    • Fenrir, who also comes with a possible base multiplier of 400× ATK, which would be easy to achieve if not 5 colors AND 9 connected Jammers have to be cleared at once, while remembering the fact that no Jammers are created/dropped during normal gameplay.note 
    • Himura Kenshin comes with a leader skill that triples ATK for each fire or light cross you create, and doubles ATK when getting both fire and light matches. Just one Kenshin can potentially get 54× ATK (three crosses, which is the most that can fit on the typical board, at least one each of fire and light; 3×3×3×2), with two Kenshin squaring that to 2916. The trick, of course, is that crosses are not an easy shape to make in most cases. Getting enough fire and light orbs is also difficult, unless you have Terra.
      • A 7×6 board allows for a maximum of 6 crosses. This means 3×3×3×3×3×3×2 or 1458× ATK, which of course becomes 2,125,764× ATK for paired Kenshins if you can manage to set up a board made by Ilm (whole board to fire and light) just right. Even the FF Collab Moogle, a card with the lowest attack in the game (that isn't an evolution material), can hit PAD's damage cap at 2,147,483,647 damage. That's not a mathematical mistake. That's two million ATK and two trillion damage.
  • 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.note 
    • For technical dungeons, the second conditional dungeon, "Tower of the Windy Woods", had 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 damage 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.
      • This is no longer the case as of version 8.1, as the trio of elemental conditional dungeons were changed such that it was now a 5×4 board with no recovery orbs instead.
    • 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 "Descended Challenge" 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.
  • Disc One Nuke:
    • Since you get a free monster drop from the Rare Egg Machine after the tutorial, the monster that you get can be this. In fact, because this game is hard enough, most beginner guides encourage new players to do Save Scumming (basically, clearing the device's save file to redo the tutorial and the Rare Egg Machine roll) until they get a powerful enough monster from this first free roll.
    • Sometimes, special dungeons may receive doubled drop rate boosts which may affect boss monster drop rate, usually at the last day of the event. For example, multiple copies of event exclusive 6 star unit "Paradise Celeb, Hera-Is" can be easily acquired at normal difficulty of P&D Island event at 2016 late summer.
  • Double Unlock: Prior to version 7.0, you were able to see higher difficulty descended whether or not you had the stamina or ranking to attempt them. When the Ultimate Rush dungeons were introduced at version 7.0, GungHo hid all dungeons if you didn't have the maximum stamina or ranking to attempt them. At that time, the Ultimate Rush dungeons required 99 stamina (at minimum rank 165) to attempt. However, they also hid the requirement to clear Starlight Sanctuary before those dungeons can be attempted. Which explains why many players could not see/attempt those dungeons even though they were at least rank 165. They were also made available as a coin dungeon, which means players could spend 5 million gold to attempt them, even if they shouldn't.

    As of version 8.6, the minimum stamina required to attempt any Ultimate Rush is 66 (at minimum rank 99). Those dungeons were also moved to Multiplayer/Co-Op mode, which means they couldn't be bought... at least until v 8.8 puts them back into Coin Dungeon category.
    • Ultimate Awoken Evolutions are this as well, as they require you to have two fully evolved Monsters from descended dungeons along with three Jewels, meaning you need to evolve two other monsters before along with the base before you can even get the awoken form.
    • One Non-awoken form evo example is Apex Blue Flower Dragon, Starling, which requires you to also have Vibrant Butterfly Dragon, Swallowtail...Which also requires you to have Blue Flower Dragon, Starling on top of being from a separate Descended line.
      • Apex Blue Flower Dragon, Starling, is now an evolution material monster for Dusking Dragon Caller, Sonia Gran Reverse, along with 5 Mechdragon Combo, Demon Hadar (which needs the 4 other Mechdragons as materials), Mystic Pentad Dragon, Kotodama (which needs the other 4 Mystic Dragons as materials), and Ancient Draggie Knight, Zeal (the ultimate evolved form of an early Descended Dungeon boss that was originally restricted to monster cost).
    • Up to eleven with Dragonbound, Myr. Her first evolution, the "Illusionless Time Dragonbound" form, requires Unleashied Knight Dragon King, Nordis (Who, himself, requires Tornado Holy Dragon; 5 Mechdragon Combo, God Canopus note ; Stormwind Dragon Emperor, Threedia; and two jewels); Awoken Deus ex Machina; two jewels and an angelit. Then Ultimate Evolution, the "Star Cutting Time Dragonbound" form, requires Reincarnated Godly Knight of the sky, Verche (Mystic White Knight's fourth evolution); Angel of Secret Destiny, Elia; Loving Heavenly Deities, Zeus&Heranote ; Enlightened Meditating God, Sandalphon; and Guardian of the Sacred City, Athena.
  • Dual Boss: Several dungeons have multiple boss monsters at the final round, especially the biweekly dragon dungeons in the first half of 2016. 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.
    • Aamir Descended has Aamir stick together with two fully evolved carbuncles in the same card. This means they attack thrice per turn. They're also the first boss which features rotating skills.
    • Thoth and Sopdet got separated into separate floors for Sphinx, but came back together as the penultimate boss of the Halloween dungeon in the similar vein as Zeus & Hera.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Wol from Mobius Final Fantasy makes his first appearance in North America with the Final Fantasy collab.
  • Easter Egg: The PAD Island dungeon features these in the form of alternate dialogue/attacks and/or effects. If you enter with one of the non-water Hell demons, Shaved Ice Specialist, Frost Demon will fully heal your team. Entering with the non-water High Ninjas causes Beach Café Waitress, High Water Ninja, to spawn healing tiles. Incognito Queen, Awilda, reacts differently depending on which of the other Pirate Dragons you brought with you. Keeper of Paradise, Metatron, reacts differently to whether or not you have Sandalphon or Awoken Sandalphon on your team, giving different attack names as a result. And then if you make it to the boss stage, Paradise Celeb, Hera-Is will automatically heal your team if you have Zeus Mercury or Awoken Zeus Mercury on it. But if you have one of the other Awoken Heras with you, she asks who that girl is and then hits you with a 99 turn skill cooldown, effectively resetting your whole team's skills to zero.
    • Some other Easter Eggs have been found that tie in with the Dragonbound/Phantom Demon mythology. In Indigo Descended, having Indigo on your team when facing Belial causes a unique attack, and having either Belial or Gadius on your team when facing Indigo causes other unique attacks. In Deus ex Machina Descended, having Gadius or Typhon on your team causes Deus Ex Machina to heal your team, while having any of Ilm, Zuoh, Aamir, Indigo, or Scarlet is pretty much an automatic loss. Linthia reacts to Sylvie on your team by obscuring your board.
    • Newer descended dungeons based on Norse mythology also include additional dialogue. Unlike the ones regarding Dragonbound/Phantom Demon mythology in-game, these are based on actual Norse mythology. Thus, the Easter Eggs found on Norse descends have a Genius Bonus included.
  • Elite Tweak: AKA hypermaxing: any max level, fully evolved and awoken monster with +297 to stats. Latent awakens and skill transfers take it up another notch.
  • 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.
    • Some of the enemy monster skill names or dialogue are okay but not quite correct. For the grimoires, the preemptive shield is called "Solomon's Little Key", which is not quite the correct translation. The translation should have been "The Lesser Key of Solomon". The same goes for Awoken Jord's dialogue with GROdin and Thor, which comes off as being a bit stiff.
  • 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 fairlyeasy 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 other. Sakuya also received a Super Ultimate Evolution. All of these monster later received a third monster typing (not elemental typing) on top of all that they had before.
    • 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.
    • Monster Point-purchased monsters and Co-op Descended Dungeon bosses all have ridiculously difficult Evolutions. Machine Hera and Machine Zeus both need both ultimate evolutions of the Machine and Dark Golems, Sherospada and Hysferzen, who themselves need each of the 3 ultimate evolutions of the tricolor Golems. This is a total of 23 Keeper of Gold cards. Of course, if you can clear Machine Hera or Machine Zeus's Annihilation level dungeons, you probably have enough of these cards to spare.
    • Reincarnation Evolution, which is the same as Ultimate evolution but requires the monster to be at max level. Unlike Ultimate evo, Reincation Evolution resets the monster's level to 1 and gives them a larger EXP curve. However the monsters get far far more powerful. Currently the Mystic Knights, Istar, as well as the Awoken forms of Indian and Grecoroman series 1 gods can Reincarnate.
  • 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 or more in some cases) but incredibly low HP (usually on the scale of 30 or so) that would otherwise only take 1 damage per attack.
  • Flanderization: As the updates come and the monsters receive evolutions, certain aspects of them are amplified while totally ignoring the other aspects of their characters.
    • For example, Bastet. Her initial evolution had her being the Feline Goddess of Music. Fair enough. Her Leaf/Light evolution still showed more of the music. Again, fair enough. But then, her Leaf/Dark evolution shown her as a "Midnight Cat". Then her "Awoken" uvo had her as a total feral cat. With no aspect of music on it. So much so that Legolente's dungeon (a music themed dungeon) served to remind players that, yes, Bastet is the goddess of music.
    • Another example, Amon. Shown to be a strong, wise devil owl in the first evolution. Then his first uvo had him with become a beefcake, similar to Ultimate Gigas, while retaining some of his sophistication. His ultimate uvo did away with the wiseness and went with him hulking out. That frost demon may had something to do with it, though.
  • 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, but only once.
  • Guide Dang It:
    • In the main game, dungeon unlocks and daily dungeon information are not available in the game. You would have to use wikis and forums to look up said 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.
    • Averted for evolutions for all three games. For the main game, this was in full force regarding Ultimate Evolutions before version 7.8.1.
    • Latent Awakenings. Many players thought it would be function just like regular Awakenings, except with the option to pick-and-choose which ones. Turns out not to be that useful. Latent +HP only adds 1.5% of base HP, Latent +ATK only adds 1% of base ATK, Latent +RCV only adds 4% of base RCV. The worst offender of this is Latent Time increase, which only adds 0.05 seconds. And you only have five Latent slots per monster, and they cost an exorbitant amount of monster points to buy (or invade rarely similarly to Elemental Jewels). Thankfully, the in-game hints tell you that you can replace Latent awakenings, but only the oldest one.
  • Harder Than Hard:
    • Legend difficulty, mostly in biweekly dungeons (with another name in some Crossover 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, and many retooled collaboration dungeons add 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 some of the bosses have Passive Skills that activate if you try to one-hit KO them; often resulting in an immediate health restoration (and a restored Passive Skill) or a status condition that screws you over once they do die.
      • Special Descended dungeons are Legend-Plus for a different reason. See Roguelike.
    • And then they added "Together at Last! Rare Evo Rush!!" as a Coin Dungeon (and later as an urgent 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.
    • Version 8.6 added two new difficulties: Mythical-Plus and Annihilation.
  • High School A.U.: Well, not quite "AU", but the PAD Academy event. With it's own tropes such as:
  • Holiday Mode: Although not omnipresent throughout the whole game, at certain points in the year the game devs have released special holiday/seasonally themed monsters and dungeons. To date, these have been:
    • Christmas (December)
    • New School Year (April/Junenote )
    • Summer Vacation (July)
    • Halloween (October)
    • Japanese New Year (January)
      • Lunar New Year (February)note 
    • Wedding Season (June)
  • 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 the ninjas in this game.
  • HP to 1: 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, Heracles, Yoruichi).
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Only used for the names of floors in Special and Multiplayer Dungeons, as Normal and Technical Dungeons have unique floor names. Events and Collabs sometimes have unique difficulty names. From easiest to hardest (as well as Japanese name and usual Stamina cost), they are:
    • Novice (初級): 10
      • Easy (かんたん): Taiko no Tatsujin
      • "Plum" (梅): Kapibara-san (Japan only)
    • Int(ermediate) (中級): 15
      • Normal (ふつう): Taiko no Tatsujin
      • "Bamboo" (竹): Kapibara-san (Japan only)
    • Expert (上級): 25
    • Master (超級): 30 or 40
      • Hard (むずかしい): Taiko no Tatsujin
      • "Pine" (松): Kapibara-san (Japan only)
    • Legend (地獄級): 45 or 50
      • Matsuri (祭): Takaoka City
      • Gold (黄金級): Angry Birds
      • Universe (宇宙): Groove Coaster
      • Heaven Sent (天国): Emil Chronicle Online
      • Kingdom (王国): Hello Kitty
      • Kai (改級): Dragon Ball Z Kai
      • Paradise (極楽): Gunma
      • Blessed (祝福): Christmas Dungeon and Santa Claus Descended
      • Z (Z級): Puzzle & Dragons Z (In the Z game proper, it's simply "Legendary")
      • Cosmo (小宇宙): Saint Seiya
      • Extra-Spicy (激辛): Angry Birds Epic
      • Conqueror (覇王): Fist of the North Star
      • Oni (おに): Taiko no Tatsujin
      • "Final" (極): Kapibara-san (Japan only)
      • Pro (プロ): Hunter × Hunter
      • G Rank (G級): Felyne Bazaar, Monster Hunter 4G, Poka Poka Felyne Town DX
      • "Youth" (青春): PAD Academy (Japan only)
      • Invasion (侵略級): Duel Masters
      • Sunny (快晴): PAD Island
      • Bustling (盛況): Halloween Night
      • New Year's Greetings (迎春): New Year
      • Happy (幸福): June Bride
    • Mythical (超地獄級): 50
      • SuperBlessed (超祝福): Christmas Dungeon and Santa Claus Descended
      • SuperYouth (超青春): PAD Academy (Japan only)
      • Revolution (革命級): Duel Masters
      • Super Pro (超プロ): Hunter × Hunter
      • SuperSunny (超快晴): PAD Island
      • Super G Rank (超G級): Poka Poka Felyne Town DX
      • Super Bustling (超盛況): Halloween Night
      • Super New Year's Greetings (超迎春): New Year
      • Super Happy (超幸福): June Bride
      • Cross (クロス級): PADX Ace Descended and PADX Ana Descended
    • Legend Plus (絶地獄級): 40 (Special Co-op), 50 (Special), 66 (Ultimate Rush Co-op), 99 (Ultimate Rush)
      • This difficulty was originally set aside for the Ultimate Hera/God/Dragon/Devil/Yamato Rush Dungeons, but then the difficulty was used for the roguelike Special dungeons. With the addition of these dungeons to the regular co-op dungeon lineups, their difficulties have remained the same, but their costs dropped.
    • Mythical Plus (超絶地獄級): 50 (Special Co-op), 99 (Ultimate Rush Co-op)
      • This difficulty was initially introduced as the difficulty for the Super Ultimate God Rush alpha release, and then used for increased difficulty versions of the roguelike Special dungeons and the Ultimate Rush dungeons.
    • Annihilation (壊滅級): 99
      • This difficulty is set aside for the Multiplayer Descended Dungeons, the first of which was Machine Hera Descended. These are much worse than any other dungeon in the game, despite the fact that you can still use continues on them and you have the option of playing them in coop mode.
  • 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: Ogres, 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 fatal move is a multi-hit attack or another monster attacks, you're pretty much dead.
    • Enemy monsters may now possess a Resolve passive skill that prevents them from being killed in one hit. Sometimes the monster heals entirely. Sometimes it only heals to 50%. Sometimes after that they initiate a counterattack. You better be prepared.
      • Common tactics to defeat this are using a Poison skill which activates before their next attack, using a Delay skill which prevents the Resolve counterattack to activate, or use a Counterattack skill that hits after they attack. You just better hope that their counterattack doesn't kill you first.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Each monster has a "Cost" value, which determines how much "space" it essentially takes up in your team. Your total Team Cost increases as you rank up. Early on in the game, it's entirely possible that you get a Rare Egg Machine pull whose cost exceeds your maximum Team Cost, rendering it completely unusable until your player rank goes up. This cost also increases after evolutions, but the game will warn you if evolution will result in an "overdrawn" Team Cost.
  • Loophole Abuse: 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.
    • Subverted for a handful of dungeons with conditional restrictions. For example, Zhang Fei Descended requires all monsters to either have a Physical or Attacker type. Prior to version 7.6, this only counted the main types, meaning if you used a monster whose secondary type only matched the requirement, it was a no-go. The same held for dungeons that required the player have every Attribute on their team such as Noah Descended, meaning that each of the monsters had to have a different main Attribute. With version 7.6, these dungeons took into account the sub-Type and sub-Attribute, allowing players omre leeway in building teams. A third type of conditional restriction took into account monster rarity and monster Cost, forcing players to come up with teams of weaker monsters in order to clear the levels. For example, the Ragnarok Odyssey Ace dungeon had a 4-star limit and Gaia Descended had a cost 14 limit. Sometime after the release of version 8.6.2, the Type and Rarity/Cost restrictions were lifted, and changed to a new Enhanced condition (originally introduced for Yamatsumi Descended), meaning the player's monsters that match the condition get a 1.5× boost to their HP, ATK, and RCV.
    • Also subverted for dungeons with a no-duplicate condition such as Sandalphon Descended, meaning teams that rely on multiple versions of the same monster (including team leaders) were unusable. After version 8.4.1, the restriction on your friend's team leader counting as a duplicate was lifted.
  • Lost Forever: Depending on whether or not GungHo still has the licensing rights, several collaboration monsters are most likely completely unobtainable. The Dragon Ball and Saint Seiya events haven't been seen since 2015, even considering the release of Dragon Ball Super and the 30th anniversary of Saint Seiya (Monster Strike got a collab instead) both happened in 2016. Following the release of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, it seems that all of the DC Comics collab dungeon cards and the Batman collab gacha and dungeon cards are gone forever, eliminating several standard monsters' skill up fodder.
    • But of all things, the Dragons Dogma collab was rerun in Japan in 2016, bringing those cards back after nearly 2 years absence. And several collab dungeons have become permanent fixtures in the Coin Dungeon lineups, so only time will tell what gets brought back.
  • 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.
      • As of Version 8.1, all monsters considered vendor trash (3-stars and their evolutions) have been dropped from the Rare Egg Machine (no more Golems, no more Healer Girls, no more Mystic Swordsmen) as they can be adequately farmed from dungeons. And Version 8.1 gives players the option to sell their duplicate monsters for Monster Points, which can then be traded in for rare evolution material monsters (rarer monsters net more MP), new Latent Awakening Tamadras to add additional Awoken Skills, and extremely rare (and therefore extremely expensive) exclusive monsters.
    • 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.
      • Of course, you could use the guaranteed Skill Up monsters like Flampy, which can only be obtained from farming more difficult "Alt." versions of Normal and Technical Dungeons which are found as Coin Dungeons (until they were all made Co-op Dungeons), the Ultimate Arena dungeon (a 21 or 22 level boss rush), or appear as 1-time-only prizes from the various Challenge events (Challenge Dungeons, Descended Challenge). It's honestly easier to just farm dungeons repeatedly and use dozens of versions of the same monster during 2.5× skill up fusion events to hope you level up the skill (that didn't stop people from coming up with teams to farm Ultimate Arena prior to its renewal).
    • 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).
      • Anubis, Kushinadahime, and BAO Robin all fall prey to this, as their Leader Skills rely on combos. The most combos anyone can set up is 10, with Kushinadahime and two of Anubis's Ultimate Evolutions requiring more than 10 combos to reach the maximum output of their Leader Skills. Awoken Anubis gets a special mention for being able to get to 400× ATK (12 combos and the player used a skill that turn). A top-level player in Japan managed to wipe out Maleficient Dragon Lord Zaerog in the Ultimate Dragon Rush with a single hit at only 11 combos, and that's after he stalled so Zaerog had a Dark Absorption active so it would mean only 4 of the team's Fire sub-attribute (which only has about a third of the ATK strength of the main attribute) did any actual damage to Zaerog.
  • 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. Now she has an Awoken ultimate evolution (Awoken Amaterasu Ohkami) which, similar to Awoken Ceres, downgrades her full heal to just 40% of max HP and 4 turn bind heal, except with the addition of a 1 turn haste, but also drops the God typing to make her a Physical-type tank; her leader skill now ensures 4× ATK at full health, 3× ATK just under full health, and her auto-heal is now doubled to 10× her RCV, outpacing even Dancing Light as, when hyper-maxed out AND given 5 Recovery Potential Awakens, can heal you for over 10k each turn.
    • To an lesser extent, the Heartbreakers (Gigas, Siegfried, Cu Chulainn, Valkyrie, Vampire). They all have a large experience curve and require multiple Evolution (Especially Valkyrie, who has a SUPER Ultimate Evolution on top of that). All of them are very powerful, however: Gigas has the second highest HP in the game despite being only six-stars. Sieg and Cu Chu are good mid-game leaders and great subs for various teams. Valkyrie makes mid-game Healer teams viable and is popular to the point there is one in every color, is one of the first to get a SUPER Ult evolve AND a Third Sub-type for every single one of them. And Duke Vampire can wreck the early game once evolved with Dark teams.
    • In terms of Awoken Skills, consider Incognito Queen, Awilda; Masquerade Guest, Izanami; Unrequited Warrior Woman, Mamiya; and Playful Star Gods, Thoth and Sopdet. Four- to five-star Monsters that have middling stats and meh Active Skills (same as their regular forms... usually), but in return bring 5 Enhance Orb awakenings and/or 3-4 elemental resist awakenings, pretty much making all orbs of their element enhanced and increasing the bonus by 20% and giving a flat 15-20% damage reduction. Izanami even has a good LS.
    • And then there are the Reincation Evoultions of Awoken Evolution forms of the Indian and Grecoroman sets. Not only does Reincation evolution require max level and sets it back to 1, but also gives them a 16 million EXP curve. But the forms are powerful, regain their God type, many become duel element and have stats that out perform their former forms. Revo Shiva in preticluar has the game's second highest attack.
  • Marathon Level: Endless Corridors. Beat that, and you unlock True Endless Corridors.
    • An update in Japan added Absolute ("Mythical" in the Global version) 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. Including 5×4 and 7×6.
    • After these came the Ultimate Arena. Unlike the Endless Corridor dungeons, Ultimate Arena costs Stamina to play and it's all for the chance at a guaranteed Skill Up monster (and in Ultimate Arena 2 a PreDRA for MP). That is if you can get through what is essentially a 20 round boss rush that takes floors from every Descended Dungeon, Challenge Dungeon, and One-Shot Challenge. Runs are ruined by the -100% HP preemptive strike from Divine Queen, Hera, or botching Awoken Lakshmi's Jammer orb challenge. Your final challenge is trying to get Sparkling Goddess of Secrets, Kali or Blazing Goddess of Power, Kali between 35 and 65% HP or tanking their OHKO if you fail. And then you might still lose on the actual boss stage against the guaranteed Skill Up "-py" monster.
  • 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 and mortal 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: Machine-type. Mechdragons, Legendary Mech Dragon, Mystic Dragons, and others like Machine Zeus and Machine Hera.
  • 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 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. The Fanservice gets taken Up to Eleven with her moves as the penultimate boss of PAD Island.
    • Hell, Paradise Celeb Hera-Is. Hell, the PAD Island collaboration features popular female monsters in bikinis and such, with the exception of Chester.
    • Ironically, Hera-Sowilo might be the only Hera who is not Ms. Fanservice, at least not intentionally. Her Ultimate form has her going in a more conservative fashion and closer to how Hera is supposed to be depicted in greek mythology.
  • 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 is rare and is only good for awoken fusions.
  • 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. Except for the PAD Island version of Valkyrie Claire, which has her lose her God-typing.
    • The Endless Corridors aren't actually endless; it's only 50 battles. Same thing for True and Mythical Endless Corridors; they're only 30 battles.
    • Legelonte's active skill, Fermata, has nothing to do with delay or holding turns over.
    • For the PAD Island Event, GungHo gave the Cockatrice the title "Ice Cream Master". The problem? That bird isn't making ice cream. It's making shaved ice. Although in the regular form, the Cockatrice's snake tail eats popsicles.
  • 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 above damage threshold. They often effectively last forever; 999 turns.
    • With the extremely hard Radar Dragon dungeons, an effective strategy to clear Noah Dragon Descended is to get through the 99 turns of its 5 million damage cap shield.
    • If one manages to stack 20 damage-reducing Awoken Skills of a single Element in a single teamnote , one can completely nullify attacks from monsters of that element. It's not too practical in most cases though. Here's someone showing how it's done with Ultimate Hera Rush of all levels.
    • High Damage Void, which is is not the same as High Damage Absorb, doesn't last forever, though. However, unlike HDA, HDV does have an additive calculation. For example, if the Void activates at 400k damage, and the monster has a double attribute (dark, for example, and the boss is fire) and the primary attribute damage is at 375k, it WILL be voided for that monster because the secondary attribute damage is 37.5k for a total damage of 413k.
  • Not-Actually-Cosmetic Award: The achievement badge system, which doles out rewards for various achievements, most notably the badges for completing sets, which give various team/leader boosts (i. e. +1 second move time, +100 cost capacity).
  • One-Gender Race: The carbuncles are all female. If Aamir wasn't enough of a hint, just check out the base carbuncles in the PAD Academy art. None of them are wearing any male uniforms. The Chinese Celestials/Holy Beasts are all female, if one were to use "race" loosely.
  • 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), Cat Dragons, Cyber Dragons (more robots named after stars), Dog Dragons, Ancient Dragons (again, but this time named after prehistoric animals), Metallic Star Dragons (robots named after Zodiac signs), and now Contract Dragons (tied into the Dragonbound lore). This doesn't include anything that comprises the separate Dragon Type either.
  • Our Gods Are Different: Many of the monsters are literally humanoid gods, and are categorized in the "God" Type as being powerful, but hard to level and maintain.
  • Smashing Watermelons: The PAD Island version of Valkyrie Claire has her slicing watermelons in her art. Heck, her Leader Skill is called "Slicing Watermelons is Fun!". The penultimate boss of PAD Island, Keeper of Paradise, Metatron, has this as an attack. To drive the point home, the board does look like a watermelon after her attack.
  • 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.
  • Peninsula of Power Leveling: There are certain dungeons with unusually high Player EXP to Stamina Ratio that are used to quickly level up, and restore stamina (and gain play time) as a side effect. The most popular ones (in order of unlocking/difficulty) are Tower of Giants - Dragons in the Tower, Hyperion Lava Flow - Lava Tube (Oceanus Falls - Whirlpool in the Waterfall Basin and Kronos Forest - Gate to the Mystic Land have similar EXP), and Starlight Sanctuary - King of the Gods.
    • Other dungeons provide monsters that give high Monster EXP when fed. Popular ones include Pengdra Village and Super Metal/Gold/Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald Dragons Descended. The Snow Globe Dragons are also popular, but cannot be obtained outside of special events (Friend Present Egg Machine, special one-time play dungeons, Challenge event prizes, rare drops in the Christmas Dungeon) due to their Game Breaker status.
      • A combination of the two is the Experience of a Lifetime dungeon which occasionally appears during events. Clearing the dungeon gives 200k Player EXP and 200k monster EXP (unless it's a Dark Att. monster, then it's 300k).
    • The Iron Strength Plaza provides a relatively good use of 50 Stamina for around 60K EXP per run.
  • 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 and One-Shot 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.
    • The Ultimate Arena Technical Dungeon is a No Continue Dungeon. It is a 21-battle gauntlet for a guaranteed Skill-up Material Py monster. After wave after wave of Descended Dungeon sub-bosses and bosses, the last thing standing in your way is one of the two Ultimate Evolved Kalis, who have a debuff shield and a 1-turn 50% damage reduction; if you don't drop their HP to below 65% in your attack, they unleash what will probably be a 1-turn KO. And she's not even technically the Boss level, which goes to the randomized Py. And pray for the unlucky soul who somehow manages to lose to the Py after surviving Kali, forcing them to start all over, again.
      • The dungeon was renewed in version 8.6.2, updating to include new Descended Dungeon bosses as well as a floor with a prize is a randomized color PreDRA. Needless to say, it's much harder.
  • 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 get their Active Skills and Leader Skills adjusted, in order to make them viable again; but some monsters which haven't received such treatments will keep falling behind.
    • In the game's early days, 9× ATK (by 2 Zeus) was the highest standard (with 4× ATK and 6.25× ATK being "normal" teams). Now any teams under 12.25× (two leaders with 3.5× ATK) 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. Zigzagged for those who actually do take time to level up their monsters' Gravity skill since a load of Skill Boosts on monsters can turn them into a good source of damage output, especially against those with Resolve or extremely high HP.
    • When the Crystal Defenders Collaboration was updated in 2015, they added the Juggler, a monster that induced Broken Base because of its easy Leader Skill: make two Healing Orb matches for a 7× ATK (which is 49× ATK when paired with a friend). The only monsters that had come close to this (and above it) were heavily reliant on 9 or more combos in a single turn (Anubis, Kushinadahime, and Robin from the Batman collab). On top of this, Juggler seems to have been designed to exclusively compliment Pandora, another popular monster. Complaints prompted the dev team to say they weren't changing Juggler, but they would be adjusting other monsters and introducing new monsters to match Juggler's viability.invoked
      • New Godfest exclusives were made to balance out Juggler, but they were still not as powerful; all their Leader Skills were boosted later but not to the same extent as Juggler, despite being available all the time. The Awoken Ultimate Evolutions for the original Indian and original Egyptian Gods also served to balance things out, as also for new Ultimate Evolutions for the second Indian Gods and Chinese Elementals. Both prior Ultimate Evolutions for Ra also had their Awoken Skills and Leader Skills tweaked, making them viable as well.
  • Power Equals Rarity: Most of the highest rated monsters on tier lists are either Godfest exclusives that start at 6* (i. e. Kaede) or MP monsters. The farmable Myr and Ronove, a 5* baseline are notable exceptions, though the latter requires the rarer GFEs to get the most out of.
  • Pungeon Master: Dear god, Maleficent Phantom Dragon King, Zaerog∞, in both of his dungeons. Especially after he transforms, he loves to make puns on his name while attacking. Which is also all the fitting for a Dungeon Master.
  • Puzzle Boss: Well, duh. It's a puzzle game. But quite a few bosses cannot be defeated solely by spiking with a 25× ATK multiplier, for example. Newer bosses require a strategy to beating them, especially considering their preemptives and buffs, such as knowing when to stall, knowing how much damage/combos to do, and when to go at it. A few examples are...
    • Awoken Sopdet. Starts with a 200k HP absorb preemptive. Very unforgiving for careless spiking. Which means if you are going to spike, you need to control the damage by only matching 3 orbs and limiting the combo count. If you happen to hit a TPA while going for a 25× ATK, you will likely hit well over 200k and she will heal. Her battle is much harder in 7×6 boards, since the damage potential is so high.
    • Sonia Gran and Zeus & Hera. Both have a 50% resolve, so that means one-shotting is not an option. If you happen to "one-shot" them, they will simply heal. Or in the case of Zeus & Hera, Zeus will use Wrath of God while Hera heals.
    • Awoken Lakshmi in Ultimate Arena 2. She has 11 million HP and defense plus preemptively disables both your Awoken and active Skills for 5 turns, so beating her normally is not only functionally impossible but not recommended. Her battle is a 5 turn endurance battle where she spawns a bunch of Jammers, with occasional other effects. Clear them all each turn, and she will leave. If there are any Jammers on the board during her turns, even from a prior floor, she kills you outright.
  • 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 and Gilgamesh of the Final Fantasy Collab have the same kind of Skill, but with different names and skill sets.
  • 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 enemy skill that absorbs attacks that do more than 200k damage while Awoken Thoth debuts the new Skill Cooldown Reset enemy skill.
    • Quite possibly, the only bosses to play this straight along with the Degraded Boss status are the Grimoires. In their own dungeon, they're the boss. In later dungeons, they're not even the penultimate boss.
    • Zeus shows up in several dungeons, notably his own former Descended dungeon, Endless Corridors, and Starlight Sanctuary; all unevolved. He'd later get upgraded right to Olympios form in True Endless Corridors and Stratios form in Ultimate God Rush, then downgraded to Awoken form for the alternate version of Starlight Sanctuary. His Ultimate Evolutions get degraded in the Ultimate Arena, being in the same pool as his Dios, Vulcan, and Mercury forms in battle 17.
    • Sonia Gran is the boss of Extreme Endless Corridors, as she was for her own dungeon. She is made a sub-boss in Ultimate Arena.
    • The bosses of the various Challenge Dungeon levels tends to repeat as the themes for the more difficult dungeons makes the devs draw from small pools of possible monsters (Lv. 6 is Japanese, Lv. 7 is Egyptian/Chinese, Lv. 8 is Angels/Greco-Roman, Lv. 9 is dragons, Lv. 10 is grab-bag ultimate Gods). Awoken Shiva is popular for Lv. 10.
  • 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.
  • Rock Me, Asmodeus!: Ronove.
  • Roguelike: The game recently introduced a new type of dungeon that was originally described as a "Roguelike", but that name was soon changed to "Legendary" before being renamed "Special". Player monsters are all set at level 1 upon beginning the dungeon, and after each battle wave is completed, the player's monsters level up depending on their Team Cost value and also how many turns they took to beat an enemy wave. This means that by the time they reach the boss battle, the super powerful, super rare, and super expensive monsters will probably not be max level. Battles aren't randomized, per se, as each round is preset, but just like the rest of the game a random choice of certain monsters will appear.
    • The dev team later applied this mechanic to the Challenge Dungeons. But at least they were gracious enough not to make them Special and No Continue.
  • 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. Not so for Paradise Celeb Hera-Is, but then again she's wearing a bikini, so that doesn't really count.
  • Scoring Points: See Gameplay Grading above.
  • 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.
  • Set Bonus: Some monster's Leader skills only activate if you have certian other monsters as your subs. Most of these are Mythology Gags to a Series' Mythos, such as Jord and GROdin, and Zhou Yu with ether Sun Quan or Xiao Qiao. Aamir is the biggest example, requiring you to have a Dark and Wood Carbuncle in your team in return for 5× ATK (at least until his ultimate scrapped the carbuncle requirement and switched it to Zuoh). Santa Claus built onto this by requiring Snow Globe Dragon Rouge, Vert, and Blanc for 5× ATK.
  • 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 (Hera-Is Descended for Chaos Blizzard Dragon).
    • 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.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The frost demon is the only female demon in her group. Speaking of demons, Astaroth, the only female archdemon. The High Water Ninja is the only female ninja in her group, though being ninjas, their lower forms left the genders ambiguous. Linthia is, so far, the only female Contract Dragon Queen. Quite possibly because the collaboration features final bosses, Ultimecia is the only definite female boss in the collaboration. Cloud of Darkness doesn't quite count into the principle because they are officially genderless. In regards to the Heartbreakers, Valkyrie was the only female in this series... until GungHo gave Valkyrie four alternate forms, giving that group a 5:4 ratio of females to males.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • The dungeon for "Zeus & Hera" uses the "normal dungeon" theme, "Walking Through the Towers", even though it's a technical dungeon. This caught a lot of players off-guard.
    • The technical dungeon theme, "A New Journey", is 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. That said, the warning only accounts for HP, not resistances; if you have double Green Odin (Dragon) leaders for instance, you can shrug any off single hit as long as you heal up ASAP.
  • 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.
    • From 8.8 onwards, almost all old Ultimate Evolutions for REM monsters becomes so in relative to their "Awoken" counterpart, as new Awakening skills are added to them in order to keep them up with newer Ultimate Evolutions and/or Awoken Evolutions. The most promiment examples are the Chinese Celestials: their relatively "useless" counterparts note  are given two Killer Awakening skills note  which could stack with each other, meaning that those unfortunate enemies which fit both types are being swung into a world of hurt.
  • 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) and there are few monsters that require matching them for a power boost.. 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. Two turns after you get his HP below half, 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. The leader skills for Hel and Linthia require you to match poison orbs for an ATK multiplier.
    • Normally, poison orbs take 5% of your max HP per orb plus 5% more just for clearing them. Then GungHo came up with mortal poison orbs that are 2.5× as potent, chopping half your max HP just for a 3-orb clear and another 1/8 for anything extra. Just 7 mortal poison orbs is fatal if you don't heal, compared to the 19 needed for normal poison orbs. Just note, though, that poison and mortal poison orbs are considered separate types of orbs, unlike, say, fire and enhanced fire orbs. You cannot mix the two types to clear them. Which makes clearing them harder since they both look similar.
    • Locked orbs, depending on how you play the board. Those orbs cannot be changed into something else, with the exception of Orb Refresh, and ONLY Orb Refresh. Kali's active skills, both of them, will not change locked orbs. This can either spell disaster, or it be a boon if, for example, you are missing certain orbs and you need to save certain orbs for skyfalls. Locked orbs make it easier to "store" orbs off to the side.
  • Title Drop: Sonia Gran's active skill is called "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. Sonia Gran Reverse does one better with "Puzzle & Dragons W". Her skill doubles orb movement time while buffing dragons for one turn.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Well, one of the birds seems to reside in Green Essence Sorceress, Armadel's cleavage.
  • Visual Pun: As of late, the developers are fond of these. Some examples include
    • Awoken Dancing Queen, Hera-Ur: Her preemptive move is called "HOT Hera Tunes". What does that does she do to your board? Why, she makes it rain Fire and Jammers. Get it? Hot... Fire? JAM-mers?
    • As mentioned before, when Crystal Dragon Queen, Linthia sees Sylvie, she says "Sorry, I'm tired of seeing your face!" by obscuring the board.
  • Wedding Day: The June Brides collaboration. Despite the name, it also includes male characters in wedding attire.

    Puzzle & Dragons Z 
  • Affably Evil: Jilen, the wood member of Genius.
  • Alpha Bitch: Rivera, the fire Genius member.
  • All Myths Are True: Subverted and lampshaded. As the Dragon Tamers explore the new continent that appears in the post-game, they come across paintings depicting things only previously spoken of in legend. Upon realizing they were true, Nick quickly jumps to conclusions in believing other myths he had heard. Sara assures him that, no, the other stories are definitely only myths.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Enigma spends much of the game conversing with the protagonist and Syrup while philosophizing about the world and how it's gray and not simply black or white. Enigma even gives them free items and will even tell them he's a member of Paradox. He proceeds to drop this near the end of the game as he plans come closer to fruition, becoming a complete Card-Carrying Villain who makes annoying heh heh heh's.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: This game has a lot of features that make it easier to manage the parties compared to the original, in the transition from free-to-play to retail game.
    • You can directly level up by defeating monsters (albeit slowly), and without the need for Power-Up Fusion (as in, sacrificing monsters). Power-Up Fusion is still there, but it doesn't cost any gold.
    • You have 300 monster slots right from the beginning. Evolution of monsters also uses items that take up inventory space, rather than other monsters, further saving these monster slots.
    • You can exit a dungeon anytime while keeping all the rewards and experience you earned up to that point. Even after you are defeated in battle.
    • Due to the lack of online infrastructure, the game will give you random NPC Helpers in case you don't live near any players who can StreetPass you, let alone exchange Player/Tamer Cards.
  • Arc Symbol: Puzzle pieces.
  • Art Shift: Monsters are now animated, so monsters that were in the original game have slight design alterations to fit in better with the overall style of Z.
    • The Carbuncle got a major redesign. The Carbuncle in Z is designed to be more animal-like instead of the anime style of the original game.
    • Awoken Hera's design got slightly changed. They kept unawoken Hera's famous black dress while keeping her overall design from her Awoken version while updating her hair from Divine Queen form. In essence, GungHo combined all her forms from the original game. Given how Hera, from the original game, was overly sexualized, and PADZ is aimed at a younger audience, they covered her up for this game.
  • Bad Boss: Dogma reveals himself to be this with his plans to exterminate humanity. Those that he spares in Paradox will be forced to live underground as slaves.
  • Barrier Change Boss: Enigma. His core changes elements every 2 turns, but you also have to deal with five skydragon heads. Worse, the core closes every couple turns.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: A cute dragon drops out of the sky right into the group of heroes. He/she quickly befriends the protagonist. Turns out he's actually the Skydragon of Life, Zerclea.
  • Big Bad: Dogma, the leader of Paradox and the kickstarter of the destruction of the world.
  • Big Eater: Nick.
  • But Thou Must!: A running gag. Lampshaded in it's first appearance, where the "no" option is "I don't care if this is an endless loop, I still say no."
  • The Commies Made Me Do It: Ayame's motivation for going to Paradox, as shown in The Reveal, although this is played with in execution. Enigma promised Ayame that he would help her find her pet, Sayaa, if she joined. In reality, Enigma is holding her cat hostage and Nick figured out this plot.
  • Crossover: The Japanese release of PADZ featured several collaboration dungeons, including Taiko Drum Master, 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.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Very indirectly stated to be this case after Paradox's defeat. When you start your new campaign, some of your helpers include former Genius members. When you beat the final post-game area, even Dogma gets in on this, as his Viciousdragon Helheim becomes a possible helper.
  • Defeat Means Playable: See above.
  • Defeat Means Respect: Not the same case as the two tropes above. When Fat Bastard Hiyomaru defeats Nick with a simple soccer kick of the orb to his head, Nick starts to respect him. Nick tries to pull the respect card on Hiyomaru, but Hiyomaru is just that stubborn. It's not until the player defeats the Skydragon of Night that this is reciprocated on Nick, which then turns into full-blown Defeat Means Friendship.
  • Difficulty Spike: A MAJOR one. Area 6, the Avalon Area, is going to be very hard to beat if your monsters are not at least level 50. Hell, for the Castle, it is seriously recommended that you have at least level 60 for most of your monsters. And it goes up from there.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: Nightmare Castle Avalon is set up to be the Very Definitely Final Dungeon. Too bad a whole new continent opened up after the final battle.
  • Doomed Hometown: Inverted. Zed City is one of the few places that's perfectly fine once Dogma's plan is set in motion.
  • Draconic Humanoid: The Dragonoid type of monster. It's revealed by one of the Skydragon priests after beating the Final Boss that they were dragons that evolved into a different form over the thousands of years they lived underground. Dogma is a Dragonoid.
  • Dual Boss: Moomoo and Junjun attack the player using two monsters at once the first two times you fight them. Incidentally, they represent the water element.
  • Earn Your Fun: There's no Egg Machines, so you can't just roll for Disc One Nukes. You have to earn them by farming Eggs from dungeons and evolving them. Not all bad, since you don't have to use IAP/giveaway limited currency to roll for any of them, whereas a majority of the most powerful monsters are exclusive to the REM in the original.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Enigma spends his entire time being enigmatic until the protagonist reaches the last two areas of Avalon.
  • Evil Plan: Dogma's plan is to create a new world using the power of the Skydragons and then exterminate humanity for living on the surface while dragons are forced to live underground.note 
  • 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.
  • A Father to His Men: Captain Watari, despite commanding over 10,000 Tamers. He even gives Sara the option to bail out of a particular mission when it's discovered that their next target is Sara's old friend.
  • Fetch Quest: To a very frustrating degree. They only appear in treasure boxes, but you'd be quitting and re-entering dungeons many times until you actually get the quest item instead of a rune or D-Energy.
  • Floating Continent: The various continents of the world are turned into this.
  • Four Is Death: Anubis as an enemy has the Banish to Hell skill, which inflicts a fixed 44444 damage, which you will not survive the first time you encounter one.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Nick, Sara, Enigma, and the Logical Five offer to assist you at times; this is reflected by their periodic appearances in the list of Helpers that you choose from every time you start a dungeon.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The game starts out with mom giving a wake-up call.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: After you free the Skydragon of Water, Dogma quickly challenges you to a fight with his Viciousdragon Helheim. The fight is designed to be hopeless, as if you manage to reduce its HP to 1 your attacks stop doing damage afterwards...
  • I Am Not Weasel: Nobody recognizes Syrup as a dragon when they first see him. Most people guess that he's a bunny. Probably because Syrup doesn't look like a stereotypical dragon.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: Every 5th stage in the any Dystopian land is a five floor tower that goes to the floating temple garden.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: At one point, Rivera is fishing for compliments and asks you who made her who she is today. One of the potential answers is "GungHo Online Entertainment". She's never heard of them.
  • Legacy Boss Battle: Awoken Zeus, Awoken Hera, Odin and Amaterasu Ohkami appear as bosses. Only Zeus and Hera play this trope straight, as Zeus's dungeon in PAD is much easier than the PADZ version, while Hera, whose original dungeon was not a technical dungeon, is arguably much harder than PADZ Zeus's dungeon. Amaterasu Ohkami is kinda pushing this trope because she did not appear in PAD as a (penultimate) boss until 2015. Odin has yet to appear as a boss in PAD.
  • Level-Locked Loot: Or, rather, Level Locked Monsters, in a sense. You may have the pre-evolution forms of certain monsters, but you won't be able to get the final evolution forms until rather late in the end-post-game due to the chips required. Or Master level Daily Dungeons.
  • Location Theme Naming: The Skydragons and the regions of Dracomacia named after them are named after heavenly places from folklore and mythology. In contrast, the areas within the post-game continent in Dystopia are named after mythological underworlds.
  • Lost Forever: Monsters you obtain from StreetPass can only be used once, then they're gone along with their associated Tamer Cards. Exchanging Tamer Cards via non-StreetPass local wireless will let you keep the Tamer Card until you choose to delete it and use its associated monster as many times as you want.
    • Nintendo and GungHo have announced that they have no plans to rerotate Z's weekly relic redistribution, nor do they have any plans to make them permanently available as DLC, so if you missed a weekly Relic, its gone for good. Not even Action Replay can get them back.
      • That's for the North American, South American, European, and Australian releases. When the service was ended in Japan, GungHo released every weekly relic all at once. And on top of that they revealed the Orb Codes to get two rare relics. A year later, they gave out Orb Codes for two other relics, one of which was tied to the Tamer Battle arcade game which also ended service in 2016. The Taiko Drum Master and Shinrabansho collaboration dungeons could be considered Lost Forever, as they were limited time promotions with each company, but fans created copies of the Orb Codes for them. The only relics completely unavailable in Japan anymore are the King Eleven Dragon and King 7 Dragon Relics, as they could only be obtained from accessing the in-store wireless network in Japanese 7-Eleven stores.
  • Love Makes You Evil: A platonic variation. Aya/Ayame, who is encountered in Shangri-La, joined Paradox because her cat went missing ages ago and a member of Paradox offered to give her information on the cat's whereabouts if she joined. Fortunately, Nick finds and returns the cat shortly after she's defeated.
  • 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 that matches their element. 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. Mega and Giga slimes are a mild version of this category because, while they can flee (and rarely do), they give massive experience, especially if you encounter the "Fiver" team.
  • Named After Someone Famous: The egg machine, the evolution machine, and the power-up machines are named after the Greek Gods (and well-known PAD characters) ZEUS, HERA, and ATHENA, respectively. Incidentally, Zeus and Hera do appear as bosses.
  • Nerf: Monsters that have skills to multiply damage in the mobile version have their multipliers toned down in Z. For example, Ra in mobile PAD has a Leader Skill that multiplies damage by 6 if all five elements attack at once, but in Z, the multiplier was toned down to 3.5.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh: Awoken Hera has a combination of this and a witch's cackle.
  • Pals with Jesus: That dragon Syrup that you befriended at the start of the game? He's practically the patron saint of Zed City, and the dragon that revives you before the battle against Enigma.
  • 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.
  • Play Every Day: Every day, you can receive allowance from your dad. Said "allowance" is a Daily Rune, which can be used to enter day-of-the-week-specific dungeons to farm chips of a particular element.
  • Point Of No Continues: Unlike the original game or Super Mario Bros. Edition, once you are defeated in battle, that's it. You black out. And woe be with you if you are on one of the longer stages when this happens, such as the final floor of Nightmare Castle Avalon.
  • 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.
  • Quest for Identity: The cute little dragon you meet tells you he doesn't remember who he is, and that the player has named him for the first time. While the Player is on the quest to stop Paradox, the dragon is indirectly implied to for be having this quest for his identity. Turns out that's a ruse, since he can't be very explicit about his powers or identity lest he lose them, as shown in The Reveal.
  • Sentai: The Logical Five, who even do a "Super Sentai" Stance and roll call when they first come to help you.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Since the game is full retail, you cannot Bribe Your Way to Victory. Which means the game requires a lot more time to skill up. Plus, skill management and orb manipulation becomes a lot more important, since you have a skill meter instead of skill levels. Also, for bonus dungeons via runes and relics, there is a definite spike in difficulty if you compare it to the original game. So much so that a Master level in this game is equivalent to a Legend level in the original game. While PADZ "Legendary" can be considered PAD "Mythical"," PADZ "Mythical", though much harder than the original's standard Mythical dungeons, is not considered equivalent to "Legend Plus".
    • That said, there is no stamina meter to wait out, so you can try out different strategies as much as you want, and not have to worry about budgeting any dungeon entries while grinding for XP/evo materials. Even the once a day Daily Runes and daily dungeons can be milked ad infinitum by changing the system date.
    • To drive the point of the Difficulty Spike, it is possible to clear certain Mythical difficulty dungeons in PAD without having a max level team. It is nearly impossible to do the same thing for any Mythical dungeon in PADZ.
  • Silent Protagonist: Played with. Your character occasionally speaks through dialogue options, but even while other people are talking his/her expression changes.
  • Sleep-Mode Size: Syrup actually turns out to be this for the Zerclea, the Skydragon of Life. They maintained the form in order to not reveal their identity.
  • Starter Villain: Jilen is the first member of Genius to be fought.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One sidequest-giver is an archaeologist named Montana, who frequently sends you out to, find things like the Sacred Triangle, or the Hedgehog's Shoes.
    • When you are defeated in battle, you black out and end up back at the ranger HQ in the nurse's station that looks similar to the one of those Pokémon Centers. Luckily, the shout-out ends there, because you keep all your D-Energy instead of dropping half of your Pokédollars.
    • The D-Gears look a lot like Duel Disks, specifically the Battle City design.
    • In an odd variation of this trope, one of the conversations Captain Watari has with the Dragon Tamers tells them not to get all "gung ho" about going on an adventure.
  • Standard Evil Organization Squad: Paradox.
  • To Be a Master: Zig-Zagged. The story begins as you graduate and become a Dragon Tamer. But then the plot begins and you're off to free the Skydragons from Paradox's control. While you can go on the quest to capture, use, and evolve all the monsters, this isn't your main priority. After battling all five elemental Skydragons and earning their jewels, the you earn the title of Dragon Master. While, as Shangri-La tells you, the coronation of a Dragon Master is normally something to be celebrated, Paradox's plans put a damper to it.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: The second fight against Dogma. It's the exact same fight as the first one, with Helheim having the exact same stats. The reason for this trope? This dungeon is a tri-color dungeon, which makes comboing a hell of a lot easier. Worse for him? The tri-color includes light orbs.
  • Woman Scorned: Rivera plays with this. While she wanted to get a date with bad boy Dogma, Dogma treats her as a minion and orders her to defeat the player. Worse? He makes her go all the way to a desert for a "date". Rivera takes her scorn on the player character.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Ayame. After defeating the Light Skydragon, her whole subplot comes to the end. Sara offers her a chance to go home, but, seeing what Ayame did to Sara and the protagonist, she feels that she can't go home.

    Puzzle and Dragons: Super Mario Bros Edition 
  • Anti-Frustration Features: In addition to the ones present in Z:
    • 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 + hearts immediately after the tri-color tutorial. Compare to Z, where the first world is exactly like that.
    • 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.
      • As an extension of this, while monsters you end up recruiting may have dual attributes, enemies will never have dual attributes.
    • Unlike in other games, where Helpers are friends' and NPCs' monsters whose availability rotates with every dungeon entry as well as single-use StreetPass monsters, you also have Helpers in this game who are part of your stock, can be leveled up by you, and can be used any time.
    • In addition to having hundreds of monster slots, Leader and Helper characters are counted separately. (Technically Z's Helpers are also separate, but there you only get a few random ones to choose from each level. In Mario they're treated just like any other team member save for getting their own slot.)
  • Art Shift: Compared to the other PAD games. The interface, overworld and stages are almost straight out of the New Super Mario Bros. games.
  • Bubbly Clouds: World 6.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": Unlike in other PAD games, which refer to levels as dungeons, this game refers to them as "Courses", as per Mario tradition.
  • 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 will join your team if you beat the game once. Same goes for the Koopalings when you beat them in the Special Worlds, as well as Bowser Jr. and Dry Bowser when you beat them in the final Special World.
  • Degraded Boss: Some of the bosses of the game show up as regular enemies in later levels.
  • Difficulty Spike: World 3 is where the game gets really tough, particularly at Morton's castle. Lampshaded by Toad.
    Toad: "The next world is a desert. I bet it's going to be fiery!"
  • 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.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: King Boo and Petey Piranha are classified as Elite Mooks rather than Bosses, so you'll still encounter them as enemies even if they're in your party.
  • Guide Dang It: The method to defeat Roy Koopa in World 6 won't be obvious to the average player—you can either hit him really, really hard with heavy combos, or lower his defense with monsters' skills.
  • Interface Spoiler: The pre-made teams for Score Attack's Fixed courses spoil the fact that Rosalina and Dry Bowser are unlockable Leaders.
  • Lethal Lava Land: World 7. Given that this is immediately after World 6, this comes off as a case of Mood Whiplash.
  • Metal Slime: Coin Coffers and King Coin Coffers. They're pretty rare and can run away easily, but if defeated or recruited can give a lot of coins and experience if fed to another party member.
  • Monster Allies: This version shifts to this instead of a straight-up Mons game since Mario and Luigi are explicitly leading and fighting alongside teams of monsters, instead of letting the Mons do all the work.
  • Mood Whiplash: True to Super Mario Bros. tradition, Warp Pipes can take you to completely different environments. For example, you could be in Lethal Lava Land for the main body of the course, then take a Warp Pipe into a comparatively serene underwater passage or Bubbly Clouds with an arrange of the cheerful Super Mario World overworld theme playing.
  • 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, the Toads plus Yoshis and Bowser later on) also qualify, since there's only one Helper slot.
  • New Game+: There are eight special worlds in addition to eight normal ones.
  • Nintendo Hard: How apropos of the Super Mario Bros. Edition. Many have noted the vastly higher difficulty of the enemies, even in comparison to PADZ. This is mitigated somewhat by the better leader monsters the game gives you.
  • One-Hit Kill: Several enemies can do this, such as higher forms of Thwomps, Whomps, and Roy.
  • Pińata Enemy: Coin Coffers. They give your characters insane amounts of EXP if used to power them up
  • 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.
  • Recruitment By Rescue: Once you rescue Princess Peach, she will join your team as a helper. The same occurs with Rosalina in Special World 2.
  • 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 and Rosalina are unlocked as Leader options as well.
  • Scoring Points: Not just in Score Attack dungeons, but also the regular levels. Like in Score Attack, it's based on time and average chain. You don't get any rewards for scoring high on a particular course or even a grade; it's just there to measure your team composition and Orb-matching abilities.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Enemies hit much harder than they do in PADZ to the point where grinding levels and lives is an absolute necessity.
  • Sequential Boss: After you fight Bowser by himself, he joins the Koopalings and Bowser Jr. to attack you.
  • Skill Gate Character: Boo Mario/Luigi, whose abilities let you do heavy damage if you make combos of three or more attributes, let you shuffle orbs for 6 seconds, and change all of your orbs to three specific colors.
  • True Final Boss: Dry Bowser is the boss of Special World 8. After he joins your party, the boss that takes his place is... Boom Boom.
  • The Unfought: Despite being one of the main antagonists in the game, Kamek is not fought at all.
  • Video Game Lives: Though in principle, they are more like continues as you don't automatically lose a "life" when HP is depleted. This has a maximum of 9, but it is actually very easy to reach this maximum. In fact, given the difficulty of this game, you are expected to lose a couple very often just to continue a tough battle or a stage with no heart orbs for healing... then farm 1-ups to get back to the maximum.
  • 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. He gets much easier as you continue fighting him, though his tactics tends to change.
    • The 1st and 2nd worlds are pretty simple, and most of world 3 might be hard, but is nothing determination can't get through. Then you get to 3-castle, which seems to have the sole purpose of beating you into the ground for not using combos. Norton himself has really high defense and health, and when he hits, he hits hard. When you bring him close to death, he'll use his "charge" ability to hit even harder. If you haven't grinded a lot by this point, it's effectively a three turn timer to an instant death. This is significantly kinder than the Thwomps, who give no warning whatsoever. Both enemies are tough to beat if you can't reliably get 4+ combos every turn.


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