Puzzle & Dragons is a hybrid game, combining Bejeweled-style matching with role-playing game (RPG)-style turn-based strategy. Players build teams by collecting and combining fantastic monsters with different elemental alignments, skills, and abilities — using them to enter dungeons to clear them of enemies. Successfully completing the matching puzzles and winning fights allows advancement. In order to build attacks executed by team members at the top of the screen, players must match orbs of a certain color and pattern on the gameboard below to complete vertical or horizontal rows of three or more. Players are able to friend others without interacting with them, earning Pal Points for successful dungeon runs using other players’ monsters.
Puzzle & Dragons is free, though it does offer in-app purchases and requires a network connection to play. Gameplay is tame and intuitive, allowing younger children to enjoy the game while offering a more complex experience (more than 1000 unique monsters to collect) to those who are so inclined, making it suitable for ages 6+.
Managing our actions, feelings and behaviors.
There is a lot to think about when making moves in Puzzle & Dragons. Unlike Bejeweled, an orb can be pulled from anywhere on the board, and because success in fights is driven by how players match jeweled orbs on the gameboard, they must resist the urge to complete the first match-three they see. Depending on the color and pattern of an orb, completion of a row will provide different things to the team; an enemy with a water alignment will be more susceptible to attacks built by completing rows of fire orbs, and completing rows of square, pink orbs with hearts on them will regenerate the hit points of a player's team. Because of the game's turn-based combat style, precious turns can't be wasted by hasty moves, no matter how tempting a combination might be. Slowing down and resisting immediate gratification will reward players on the long term with a successful dungeon run and the prizes that come with it.
Arranging and coordinating materials in order to complete a task.
Though Puzzle & Dragons eases the player into gameplay with a tutorial mode and a gradual learning curve, it offers a fair amount of team customization if one is so inclined. Organization skills are developed as players navigate the complex team-building interface. Successfully defeating foes and completing dungeons provides a player with coins and “monster eggs.” As new monsters are added to a player's team, they bring new skills and abilities, and players are able to spend coins to fuse monsters together to make stronger team members. Understanding what certain monsters bring to a team, be it healing powers or offensive abilities, and which combinations will make more powerful monsters, allows a player to successfully take on new dungeons with increasingly challenging enemies.
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