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Published on July 9th, 2015 | by Don Parsons


Three for Thursday: Evolving Puzzle and Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition

A few years ago, I had a serious case of Puzzle and Dragons fever, which was the first mobile game to ever really keep me playing for more than a week. Eventually I moved on to other games, the next in line being the awfully addicting Marvel Puzzle Quest. But I still had a little place in the corner of my heart that missed my first mobile love affair. I’m sure you can imagine how ecstatic I was to see Nintendo embrace this series and release a Mario skinned version. Puzzle and Dragons Mario Edition was a fun game, sure. It had all of the charm from both Puzzle and Dragons and Super Mario Bros., and was pretty addicting for the first several hours.

Something happened though, as I hit the end of World 3. Besides the brick wall and hours of having to level up different characters to clear the last boss, I was beginning to see little nuances that bugged me and already wishing for a sequel. Nintendo has a few things they could add to the formula they already laid the foundation for or could go an entirely new direction. Either way is completely fine with me.


  1. Add a Rarity rating to characters

Those familiar with Puzzle and Dragons on iOS and Android are familiar with the star ratings. You start with low star characters, and eventually build a team of high star, super rare characters. In the Super Mario Bros. Edition, there does not appear to be a rating system. So while that new Mario you unlocked is stronger than the last (with different types though, so you can’t just ditch the previous one all together), there is no rating system to tell you this. That’s a poor example, but when you start getting a variety of enemies to join your team, picking one becomes increasingly difficult as time passes. Knowing that a Paragoomba is a three star character and a Dry Bones is a four star character would make setting up teams far easier.

  1. Have special events with cross-franchise characters

There is an amazing opportunity here because of Nintendo’s beloved character roster. Most of these CCG (collectible card game) or Match-3 type games have daily, weekly, or monthly events where they offer special rewards. Since this is not a free-to-play, I realize it is a little different, but some of those game mechanics could still carry over with some tweaking. A special week long Zelda event that offers drops from the Zelda franchise (and Link/Zelda being a reward for clearing the series of stages) would do wonders for the game. Nintendo has such a variety of franchises, they could run weekly events like this with each of them which would mix things up.


  1. Go Free-to-Play all together

This is actually the direction I would prefer, though adding the former two would be great. Going free-to-play opens the game up to a possible cash influx due to people trying it out and falling in love. Sure there was a demo to Puzzle and Dragons: Super Mario Edition, but modeling the next game more-so after Puzzle and Dragons itself would be a major game changer. Pokemon should not be the only big franchise to get a free-to-play game (or games, in this instance), and Puzzle and Dragon: Mario Edition F2P would have potential to be a big hit.

While Puzzle and Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition fell a little flat due to high expectations, it was a fun game and if I had more time I would sink some more time into it. Not having character ratings was my most frustrating part of the game, and was what eventually made me stop playing. As far as Puzzle and Dragons Z is concerned, I only played an hour or so and never intend to play that or any evolution of that game again, as it felt like a cheapened version of Pokemon, with bad graphics and all. I do hope Nintendo tries to enhance Super Mario Bros. Edition, though, as it did have potential.

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About the Author

got into podcasting in 2007, and transitioned into writing in late 2008. In late 2011, he went from blogging to writing for a small site called Vagary.tv. Don attended E3 for Vagary.tv in 2012. Now, Don is one-fourth of the foundation of Critically Sane.

  • Chris Scott

    This game kind of sounds like a bust, I’d love to see an actual free-to-play version with the changes you suggested though. I’d probably play the hell out of that.

    • Don Parsons

      Yeah, you may recall I was pretty high on this when it was announced. I was big into Puzzle and Dragons, and a Mario adaptation sounded awesome. This is a great foundation, and with a little work, I’d spend more on a F2P version than I would buying this game.

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