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Puzzle & Dragons Story Review – “An adorable match-3 adventure”

  • Adorable heroes to collect and create.
  • Fun match-3 gameplay.
  • The grind becomes a little tedious.

From the creators of Puzzle & Dragons comes the new Apple Arcade title, Puzzle & Dragons Story. A casual fantasy adventure with match-3 puzzling the latest entry lets you recruit adorable allies to aid you in battle.

Despite the title, there isn’t much of a story. The continent of Libra, which a goddess once protected, has fallen prey to a mysterious cataclysm. As the Root Hunter, you must explore the now feral continent and discover the truth behind Libra’s demise. While this plot sounds intriguing, it remains relatively surface-level, with sprinklings of new information given at certain points. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a casual game, so why not have a matching plot?

Puzzle & Dragons Story lets you create a plethora of adorable allies. Some are furry, some look smooth and squishy, but every one of these creatures is super cute. Half the fun is unlocking and creating new allies. There are five elements in the game, each represented by a colour: red for fire, blue for water, green for earth, yellow for light and purple for darkness.

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To begin your adventure, you’ll need to choose from one of three allies: Gileon, Menuit, or Amlynea, who are fire, water and earth creatures, respectively. Once you select your starting ally, you’ll enter into your first battle. Upon winning a fight, you’ll earn mana, which you can use to upgrade your heroes, which is, naturally, important if you want to keep besting your foes.

Combat is handled by matching three or more orbs on a grid. Match hearts to heal your team or orbs of a specific colour to power the attacks of allies of the corresponding element. As with most match-3s, you can match orbs vertically or horizontally. Matching five or more increases your attack power and allows you to target multiple enemies at once. It’s easy to get the hang of while still offering some semblance of challenge.

While Puzzle & Dragons Story is a casual match-3, strategy still comes into play. Pay attention to the elements shown next to the entrance to each level—this will give you an idea of what elements you’ll be up against and, more importantly, which of your allies can most effectively combat them.

You’ll also need to take your allies’ abilities into account. Each hero you create has an ability that you can use in battle once it charges. You can charge this by matching orbs with the same element as the character.

Some allies have abilities that reduce damage taken or increase your attack for one turn. Others have abilities that can change the element of orbs on the grid, while some even can partially heal you. While strategy doesn’t matter so much in the early levels, you’ll need to consider the allies you bring into battle wisely to survive later on.

There is one significant downside here, and that’s grinding. You’ll reach a point where, to progress, you’ll have to grind past levels to gain mana for upgrading and creating more powerful heroes. While the gameplay is engaging, having to replay levels over and over quickly becomes tedious. Creating new creatures and unlocking levels is fun, but the amount of grinding necessary to progress through later levels is a real drag.

yt

Puzzle & Dragons Story is a fun, casual adventure game featuring adorable creatures where you’ll have fun creating and levelling up new allies. The match-3 style gameplay manages to provide a challenge and even requires some strategic planning. However, the amount of grinding you’ll need in the latter stages is very frustrating. Still, beating a stage you’ve been struggling with almost makes all that grinding feel worthwhile.

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