Note: All I did with this review was format it, as well as add pictures and captions. Bean did the brunt of the work!
Drag on... to victory!
Puzzles & Dragons is a game by GungHo Online Entertainment that took the world by storm when it was released on mobile devices a couple of years ago. Nintendo, in their effort to try and partner with many third-party companies decided to lend out the Super Mario property for a 3DS title. It's an interesting idea, trying to take what was a freemium game and making it into not one, but two games inside a $30 3DS cart. As it turns out, this is actually a pretty decent idea. This review, however, will only be covering the SMB Edition of the game. A potential further review will be made for Puzzles & Dragons Z, the other game on this cart, at a later date by Phil. For now, let's get right to Nintendo's first mobile-esque foray, and from the look of things, a rather fun one.
Mario and Luigi are once again on a quest to save Princess Peach yet again from the clutches of Bowser. That's no surprise, but the thing is that tons of orbs have descended down into the Mushroom Kingdom from out of nowhere. Rather than dispensing justice with their usual Goomba-stomping tactics, the Mario Bros. are instead going to be shuffling around said orbs on a puzzle board to make their way through the game's eight worlds and save the day. The maps themselves should give off vibes of the New Super Mario Bros. games. The music takes some cues from that title but also mixes in a few tunes from Galaxy, 3D World, and a few others from stuff like NSMB that has been remixed. It's nothing special, and it is kind of jarring to switch soundtracks, especially when it happens in mid-level. Still, if it's Mario music you want, this game has quite a bit of it.
|Why, this looks a bit familiar for us New Super Mario Bros. fans.|
|Slide and drag your way to glory (and the defeat|
of this duo of Koopa Troopas).
It won't take long to learn that it's not enough just to get a small three-orb row or column. The game expects you to get multiple combos per pass, and the more orbs that are connected together, the more punch your team will be packing. In fact, if you aren't making combos, many enemy groups that you'll face in the game's levels can easily take you down in a couple of turns otherwise! This can also work in your favor as once you get over a combo of eight, a 1-Up Mushroom will appear on the screen. If that combo rises to twelve in a single turn, you'll earn an extra life, and believe me when I say that these will become necessary as you move along. Getting a combo of ten or more also has the benefit of forcing enemies to give you an item drop if they are carrying anything or turns them into Baddie Blocks and another new partner for your team! This might not sound like a big deal if you unlock a duplicate partner like a Goomba, but you will eventually unlock an ability at a Toad House to make them power up the partners you do care to use. My favorite enemies to come across are known as Coin Coffers. If you can get them on your team, a lone one can power up a partner a good twenty levels or so in the early going! That's way better than going through courses and grinding for experience, I'd say, and the difficulty curve of this game definitely tries to encourage that at times.
|Chain combo chaos!|
|Coin Coffers yield great benefits not only coin-wise,|
but also experience-wise for other partners on your team.
|Match either Light orbs or Fire orbs to proceed|
down one of these two paths.
[SPC Says: B-]