Game: Puzzles and Dragons Gold
System: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: USA E
Price: USA $14.99
Release Date: 14th January 2020
No review used I bought the game myself
Puzzles and Dragons is probably best know as a mobile game and the 2015 3DS release of Puzzles and Dragons Super Mario Edition. I played both versions over the years and I particularly enjoyed the 3DS Super Mario Edition. When Gold was released on the USA Eshop, with no European release scheduled I downloaded it from the USA shop.
Battle Arena and Single Player
Unlike other Puzzle and Dragons games I have played, Gold has no RPG elements in it at all. It is in fact an arena battle game as well as a puzzler. Each battle in the arena consists of eight rounds and whichever team loses all their HP before or at the end of eight rounds loses to their opponent.
There are a few different modes to try in Gold: single player story, online multiplayer, local battle mode and a single player practice mode. There is no tutorial as you start the story mode, however there is a Puzzle and Dragons Gold Academy which shows the player the basics of the gameplay.
In single player mode you can chose to play as either Taiga or Ryuji and play through their extremely short and not overly interesting story of competing in the Puzzles and Dragons Championship. I say extremely short as I played both stories and had finished them in just over an hour.
Online multiplayer is included, though unfortunately any time I’ve tried to play an online game there was never any opponents to play against. This is a disappointing aspect as a large portion of the game is online-play as the single player content is limited.
Orbs and Dragons
You have a predetermined team of six, a lead Dragon and some NPC’s. All with different skill sets and 4 health bars at the top of the screen. There are two phases in each turn and eight turns in all. In phase one you pick what skills your team will use against your opponent, once you have done that, phase two starts.
In phase two you’re faced with a 6×5 grid of coloured orbs and within ten seconds you have to chose one orb to move around the grid to form a row of more than three orbs together.
As you move the orb the other orbs swap places in the grid. Forming a large chain of orbs creates a combo so that your team can damage the opponent that you are facing as much as possible with their attack. The strategy element of the game is picking the right orb to move as the larger the combo is, the more powerful the attack will be damaging your opponent.
You’ll earn Rainbow orbs that you can use to purchase teams and at the Egg machine you can unlock new monster teams. You do level up after every battle finishes but oddly you can’t pick your individual team members as all the teams are predetermined by the game. There are no RPG elements nor can you train your team members or increase their skills.
Visuals and Controls
As for the visuals and sound, you can’t really fault the game in that department. It’s certainly got high quality graphics with gorgeous animated dragons and battle scenes that light up the screen during attacks. It ran well on my Nintendo Switch and the touchscreen controls are very responsive which is important considering it is only playable in handheld mode.
Puzzle and Dragons Gold is a stripped down version of the Puzzle and Dragons mobile game or even the 3DS version. If you’re looking for a successor to Puzzles and Dragons 3DS this isn’t it.
The single player content is limited, however it is mainly a multiplayer battle game. Unfortunately online is a bit of a let down as unless the game sells well there isn’t going to be much activity online.
The story mode is very short, but after it’s finished you can play against the AI and unlock more teams and believe me, there are plenty to unlock. Visuals and sound effects are top notch and the core gameplay is interesting and enjoyable.
Final Verdict: I Like It