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Puzzle & Dragons: It's Like Candy Crush, But Way Better...

Puzzle & Dragons is mobile game from Japan in which you try and make as many combos as possible within a certain amount of time.

With over 16 million downloads from Google Play and iTunes, there is no doubt that Candy Crush Saga -- and its kin, Candy Crush Soda and Candy Crush Jelly -- are extremely popular mobile game apps. The purpose of the game is simple: switch candy of the same color next to each other to get as many combos (and points) as possible.

However, there is a game out there that follows a similar rule, but is more rewarding, more challenging, and more interactive... Puzzle & Dragons!   

The rules of the game are very similar to Candy Crush Saga, except there is a twist. You don't get to make just one move. You can move your orb anywhere you want on the board for four seconds (or more if you have certain Awakenings, but I won't get into those right now). Within a certain amount of time, the goal is to try to group three of the same color together and make as many combos as possible. As the message in the commercial states: "Make more combos, kick more butt."

So how does Puzzles & Dragons work?

In Puzzle & Dragons, stamina is very similar to turns in Candy Crush Saga. For example, if a dungeon (fancy way of saying level) requires 10 stamina, and you have 30 stamina, you can go ahead and try that dungeon. If you lose, you have 20 stamina left, and can retry the dungeon over (you get the idea). However, there is one positive aspect, each point of stamina is refilled every three minutes! In the past, stamina refilled one point every ten minutes. Updates in the past reduced the time to five minutes, and then to three.

 (Source: Google Play)

Puzzle & Dragons has an online community, meaning that you can play with other people over WiFi. For example, there are a set of dungeons  that you can attempt with a friend, or someone that you know who plays this. 

Though the game is free, it does have IAP currency called "Magic Stones." Magic Stones can be used to completely refill your stamina, expand Friend Space so that you can add more players to your Friend List, increase Monster Box Capacity so that you can store more monsters, continue in the middle of a dungeon if you die instead of having to start over, and most importantly, roll the gacha! Good news however! The game gives you free Magic Stones almost on a daily basis, so there is almost no need to purchase Magic Stones with real money!

(Just one of my teams. Taken a while ago)

The game was created by GungHo Online Entertainment. It is available for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire platforms. Originally, Puzzle & Dragons was released in Japan, later being released in North America, Europe, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. A 3DS version of the game is available, though it's very different from the mobile version. 

It' fair to point out that Puzzle & Dragons has clones that resemble it in many aspects. Some examples are, Tower of Saviors, Dragems, and Angel Salvation. I myself have never played any of the clones, because I prefer the real deal instead.

There are always new cards, updates, mechanics, dungeons, etc. being added on a monthly basis, so there's always something to look forward to!

But what makes Puzzle & Dragons better than Candy Crush?

That is actually a somewhat interesting question to ask. Apart from constant updates that improve the game by giving it new mechanics like multiplayer, new dungeons, new monster cards, and so on, the game has a certain charm to it. And what is that charm? Difficult to answer since everyone prefers something different.

However, some of the key aspects are that you only have to wait three minutes for stamina to recharge (one point for every three minutes). That is far better than having to wait 10 minutes, no? Sure, there is a "cheat" that allows Candy Crush Saga players to have infinite lives, but where is the fun in that? Besides, is it really necessary to screw around with your phone just to expose such a cheat?

The gacha allows you to obtain monster cards like this, this, and this (and many more!). Just look at that gorgeous art! Does Candy Crush Saga have anything like that? Didn't think so... 

Interactive online community. Apart from sending messages to other players, and co-oping with them in multiplayer dungeons, Puzzle and Dragons has a great fan-base. Everyone always tries to help each other out, especially in the forums.

Then we have holiday events! I'm not sure if Candy Crush Saga follows the same practice, but every Halloween, Christmas, summertime, and other small seasonal holidays, Puzzle and Dragons hosts festive events with tons of free in-game prizes, gifts, updates, etc. Currently, there is a Halloween event going on.

Lastly, from time to time, the game hosts competitive tournaments. So, if you're one of those players that loves competition, and reaps the rewards, then this game is definitely for you!

With all the differences Puzzle and Dragons has over Candy Crush Saga, it makes it into a vastly better game. So if you want some Dragons to puzzle with after crushing all the candy, then have a look on iOS and Android. But of course, happy puzzling!

Published Oct. 25th 2016

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