DescriptionPuzzle & Dragons is a free-to-play game that combines the environment of a dungeon-crawler with a match-3 puzzle game, and the monster collection and team assembly of Japanese card battle games. The player starts by choosing one of three available creatures based on five elemental types: Fire, Water, Light, Dark, or Plant. The game then presents different dungeons with multiple floors unlocked gradually. There is no freedom of movement through the dungeons, but a linear sequence of static screens with monster and boss battles. Dungeons are organized on an easy Normal list and a more difficult Special list.
The bottom half of the screen is filled with coloured orbs based on the elemental types tied to the monsters. When three or more of the same colour are lined up horizontally or vertically by swapping one horizontally or vertically, in the style of Bejeweled but not limited to the nearest adjacent position, they disappear and provide attack points for the player's monsters in the top part of the screen. Orbs can also be moved around without creating a match, in order to prepare a combo for a next move. With each move the attack timer of the enemy monsters counts down and they attack periodically. Defeating monsters is rewarded with coins, the default currency. Stringing together multiple matches provides combos. Lining up four gives a damage boost and lining up five orbs in a single turn provides a mass attack. Health can be refilled by lining up heart icons. Enemies can also be tapped to focus an attack. Only a limited amount of moves are available per turn.
After a fight a completion screen shows the acquired coins and experience points. The latter are used to level up the monsters. Sometimes defeated enemies drop magic stones (the premium currency), or an egg that hatches and provides a new monster. Ranking up provides points to organize monsters in a team and extends stamina (amount of moves through a dungeon, recharged at a rate of one point per ten minutes). Sometimes a helper is offered to join the fight with pal points provided afterwards. The player can use the roster of available monsters to edit the team. It consists of a leader with four additional slots. Monsters have a different efficiency based on their elemental type and specific statistics called ATK (attack), RCV (HP restoration), general level, and cost to put a monster on the team. Some also have a specific skill that can be activated during combat or a leader skill with additional benefits. The game integrates friends where you can take along one of their monsters in an additional slot.
The premium currency magic stones can also be bought separately with real money and is used to fuse monsters. Power-up fusion fuses monsters to have them gain experience, destroying the others in the process. Evo fusion requires specific monsters to evolve one, similar to the Pokémon games. The premium currency is used to extend room in the monster box, to restore stamina to continue through a dungeon and to continue after dying. Monsters can be sold as well. Pal points and magic stones can also be used in a bet on the egg machine menu to get a chance at acquiring a rare monster. There are sometimes fests organized where the chances to get them are raised. The game also does many collaborations with other franchises.
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SalesAt the peak of its popularity in 2013, Puzzle & Dragons, was earning GungHo $4 million a month. In 2014 it was still one of the company's top earners bringing in over $1 million per month in revenue.
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