Developer: Gung-ho Entertainment
Publisher: Gung-ho Entertainment
Cost: Free to Play (offers in app purchases)
In an over saturated free to play market, it’s hard to choose yourself a game that is worth your time and effort, and with the addition of in app purchases, a little of your hard earned cash. From Gung-ho Entertainment, the number one downloaded Japanese game on iTunes has finally made its way to the west. Find out if it’s worth your time here!
I’m a huge sceptic when it comes to ‘free’ games nowadays. Almost everything on iOS under the ‘free’ banner seems to also be at the peak of the top grossing charts. Why? In app purchases, that’s why! Most of these games have some sort of lockout that stops your progression due to time barriers or ridiculous difficulty spikes, unless you pump some moolah into their greedy palms.
Puzzle & Dragons however, while it does have time constraints and in app purchases, seems to go about this in a sensible and reasonable manner. I’ll start by saying I have yet to spend a penny, and after around twenty-five hours, I’m still having a blast. The fact you don’t need to spend money to progress early on and can get as far as I’ve done and still not need to invest is fantastic.
The gameplay is addictive. Part Bejeweled, part Pokémon and part social dungeon crawling JRPG, PAD is a strange mish mash of genres that works surprisingly well together. You adventure with your team of monsters, defeating enemies and gaining loot. Coins, materials and eggs (new monsters) are collected, traded, fused or sold in order to make your team more powerful. You are also rewarded magic eggs, these are purchasable with real world currency and do everything from reset you stamina to gaining you rare monsters in random style capsule machines.
Stamina is what resets over time, dungeons cost one stamina per battle. Enter a five battle dungeon, costs you five stamina. You gain one stamina every ten minutes, so it would take you less than an hour to gain this back. You can replenish your stamina with a magic egg, however it’s rare that you would need to do this. Mainly because you rank up every 2-4 dungeons, and ranking up also gives you a full restoration of stamina. Later dungeons can cost up to 20 stamina, however your stamina also increases with rank too.
Magics eggs can also be used to play the random egg machine, it costs you five magic eggs but in return your guaranteed to get a monster with a rarity of 3 (out of 6) or more. This is where you get your powerful monsters from. The second egg machine is played with player points which are acquired by making friends and using their monsters in your team to help you through dungeons.
The combat is a match three system, much like bejewelled, the only difference being you can switch any two gems, not just adjacent ones. There are 6 gem colours and they power each of your monster types. Bigger chains and combos, more damage you do. Each creature has a special ability that can be used after so many turns, these can help you swing the battle in your favour. There is a real sense of tactical depth that is slightly tricky to explain but at the same time it’s fairly easy to pick up.
PAD is a rare example of a free to play game that really can be 100% free and totally playable the whole time. There is no pay to progress, and no pay to win model either, the fact that you get random rewards for using real money means you can’t just get hold of the best stuff straight away. It’s fun, fresh and definitely worth downloading.