Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition Game Poster Image
Fun, balanced puzzler with StreetPass features.

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Kids say

age 7+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about planning and strategy in this challenging and complicated match-3 puzzle game. A complex system where players must choose which color of tiles to match based on the colors of their teammates and the enemies they're fighting is combined with an empowering matching system that allows forward-thinking players to make multiple matches each turn. It takes a while to figure out, but once players have a feel for it they'll begin to realize how tactical the action is and how randomly sliding tiles will rarely result in a win. Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition encourages kids to think strategically and rewards skilled play.

Positive Messages

Standard only-you-can-save-the-world themes. Encourages kids to consider actions before doing them. Rewards thoughtful, strategic play.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players can choose a male or female protagonist, distinguished only by appearance. Both are strong, confident, using wits to command allies in battle. 

Ease of Play

Battles demand tactics, forethought, eventually becoming quite complex. But the game does a good job of slowly introducing new elements, gradually ramping up challenge.

Violence & Scariness

Colorful fantasy creatures make attack movements but never actually make contact with enemies. Hits register with flashing lights, impact sound effects. Defeated enemies assumed to be knocked out, never killed. 

Language
Consumerism

Melds two popular gaming properties. May entice kids to seek out other games in each brand. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition is a tactical match-3 puzzle game with mild violence. Fantasy creatures including dragons and spiky-backed turtles attack enemies with each match made on the play grid, but they don't actually make contact with one another. Successful strikes involve flashes of light and impact sound effects. No characters die or appear seriously injured. Parents also should note that this game supports the Nintendo 3DS StreetPass feature and that kids will be able to create a text name and very short message to be shared with others -- including strangers -- who play the game as they pass them on the street. 

User Reviews

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Teen, 14 years old Written byTheAlmightyCastform June 16, 2017

Different from Candy Crush and Bejewled.

This two games in one collection is great! They are match-three games where you drag orbs around on the bottom screen. BUT! Instead of just two icons swapping... Continue reading

What's it about?

PUZZLE & DRAGONS Z + PUZZLE & DRAGONS SUPER MARIO BROS. EDITION is two games in one. Both are match-3 games with nearly identical puzzle play, but one has a traditional fantasy theme with an RPG-like story that involves quests and chats with other characters, while the other is dressed up to look like a colorful Mario game, complete with dozens of iconic characters and items. The puzzles in both revolve around sliding tiles within a grid to match them with like colors, which causes any similarly colored allies on your team to attack your enemies. Defeating all foes lets you advance to the next stage in your current dungeon. Players need to consider many factors before moving, including which tiles will cause the most damage to enemies or whether to use any special abilities. Apart from puzzles, players can grow and evolve their teammates in many ways to make them more powerful, using earned currencies and rare resources.

Is it any good?

Unlike many modern match-3 puzzle games, Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition isn't a free-to-play game with in-app purchases, a genre frequently associated with imbalanced play that encourages players to pay to win. Rather, it's a challenging but balanced game that urges players to think strategically and that rewards skill. Its complex puzzle/battle system pushes players to think through each move before executing it, while providing loads of ways for a player to grow each member of a team and make them feel like his or her own. It's surprisingly strategic and wonderfully empowering.

The big question for most players will be which of the two games to play first. Die-hard Mario fans should enjoy the Italian plumber-themed edition, which has little in the way of story and instead places its focus on keeping players in puzzles populated with pleasantly familiar characters such as Bloopers and Buzzy Beetles. Fans of games such as Pokémon, on the other hand, may appreciate the freely explorable world and chatty story of Puzzle & Dragons Z, which features a young apprentice capturing monsters, training them, and deploying them in battle. Regardless, both games offer a very similar -- and quite satisfying -- puzzle-game experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about online safety. When using StreetPass, what sort of messages do you create to share with strangers? Have you ever received an aggressive or distressing message from another player? Have you tried switching off StreetPass?

  • Discuss puzzle solving. Do you enjoy using your mind to solve problems and work out strategies? Do you feel the same sense of satisfaction when you riddle out the answer to a tricky puzzle as when you defeat a hard enemy in an action game, or is it different somehow?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love puzzles

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