Now don’t be mistaken by the low rating, I do not think that this is a bad game in any capacity. I will go into further detail as to why my rating is so low later on but I thought it’d be better to start off with the aspects of this game that I enjoyed. For a Nintendo game developed by a third party developer it does still look to have the appropriate Super Mario art style as well as a Pokémon-esque character design for Puzzle & Dragons Z. The developer Gugnho Online Entertainment from my understanding has mostly developed PC MMORPG’s as well as a few Vita and DS games. I personally played more of the Mario game, but I have played both and I’ll say this, the gameplay is exactly the same between the two games with it only being skinned differently, with the only noticeable difference between the two games being that in Z you have a overworld that you are free to roam and experience, while in the Super Mario game you have your typical Mario overworld map. The game itself is a pretty straightforward puzzle game akin to bejewelled but the key difference is that it is a puzzle RPG in a sense as it requires that you chain together combinations of spheres to attack enemies. I like that the Super Mario game features classic Mario enemies as well as the Koopa kids. I am unfamiliar with the Puzzle and Dragons series prior to this so I can not make any real claims about the dragon designs within the Z game. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with this game other than the fact that it can be boring and needlessly difficult at parts.
The learning curb is serious in this game. It is pretty straightforward when it comes to learning what types are strong against each other, that I got from the start, but what does make this game needlessly difficult is as follows: the stylus controls have to be spot on or else you might lose grasp of the puzzle piece you are holding, the fact that you only have a fixed amount of continues and you cannot gain more, and that the puzzle is unlike any I’ve ever played before. Basically when playing this game you select a certain piece and you can place it anywhere on the board within a short period of time. The thing that complicates this even more is that when you move a piece, it displaces all the pieces in its path, so chaining together massive combos can prove to be problematic if you don’t have a plan of action set in your mind going into it. Even worse is that in most puzzle games like this if you pick up a piece but don’t move it your turn is not actually concluded, but in these two games the second you come into contact with a puzzle piece if you let it go even on its original position you automatically lose that turn, so sometimes you might find yourself losing a turn because you didn’t quite have a firm enough grip on the puzzle piece.
In the end for a puzzle game, while being ok as a time waster, I don’t see myself playing this game constantly and I have no draw to finishing the game of Puzzle & Dragons Z in any capacity. It is ok and offers up a mixing of different genres which I typically like but it is still lacking something, and I do not think that that something can be added in DLC or patches. If you are looking for a simple enough game to play for a few minutes a day I can recommend this to 3DS owners, but if you do not own a 3DS this game is definitely not a reason to buy the system. I give this game a 2.5/5 because it lacks the feel of a true Nintendo game, it can be needlessly complicated, but it is simple enough to pick up and go, for the most part, and it can be a relatively enjoyable experience, depending on the duration of gameplay.