From Klab, the team that brought you hits such as the wildly successful Love Live! School Idol Festival and Bleach: Brave Souls, comes its own take on the saturated puzzle game market. The game was released on 8th December, and is currently on its Starting Campaign till January.
Combining the best of all the competition, Puzzle Wonderland boasts not only a story mode, but also an online multiplayer concept to make sure players who can’t get enough of the game won’t be left out in the cold as stamina recovers.
As usual, you have to clear up to 3 waves of monsters and/or bosses, except unlike the traditional Puzzle & Dragon’s style, the grid map now consists of not only the 4 playable characters, but a hexagonal grid.
The key gameplay factor is of course combos and the grid. Each character is sitting on a spot on the grid, and below it is the corresponding colour. The character starting the turn has free reign to move in any colour you choose, but thereafter is limited to the colour below him/her. The goal is to move through as many spots on the grid to gain “Mana” to increase the damage that character does. You are also allowed to “spin” the grid around your current spot so as to create a bridge to the next character, while the timer is slowly counting down of course.
The next goal is to make sure that the path you choose links to the next character in a “Chain”, which also increases damage. Only characters in the chain can attack during the turn, so it is paramount to chain through all the characters so that all of them can attack during the turn.
Each character also has his own super bar next to his icon at the bottom, and when filled can use it at any time for buffs, debuffs or healing purposes. The main super bar is the “Mana Burst” on the top left, when activated will turn the entire grid into one single colour so that you can traverse through as much as possible in the time limit for one big hit.
Currently there are 8 worlds to play in (unlocked in succession) along with three difficulties per world. That means there is A LOT of content to plow through. You’ll only ever have 5 stamina, with a 20-minute recovery between each point.
Largely popularised by Kai-Ri-Sei Million Arthur, 4-player co-operative multiplayer is also implemented into the game, with only the host requiring the stamina, and any other players can jump into the rooms to help with their team leaders.
The slight catch is, instead of controlling their own character every turn, each player gets to control every character during the player’s turn, in successive order (Host will control everyone on turn 1, player 2 will play the board on turn 2, and so on). This does lead to quite a bit of downtime for players, the upside being you have 4 very strong characters to deal damage to the monsters that your under-levelled team may be unable to clear in time.
There is also a mini-chat option located on the side to allow you to communicate with your fellow party members if the need arises (or just a polite “よろしく” and “おつかれ” will be fine).
There are two sets of gacha this time, equipment and characters. The 5* for each of the gachas is around 4%, which is generous considering what most of the competitors are giving. While equipment gacha focuses on the items the characters can equip, the character gacha is more interesting.
Characters this time have a “Job Tree”, so as they progress through each job in the tree, they will gain more stats. The gacha skips the tree so that you can get up to the last job in the trees (aka the 5* jobs) to get a jump start. No worries about not getting a 5* job, because you will eventually unlock them anyway as you progress through the Job Tree. And every character has at least TWO 5* jobs at the end of their paths to create a wider variation.
Currently each 11-card gacha requires 500 mana stones and each individual gacha requires 50 mana stones. Mana Stones themselves are quite rare, but with online play, you can get up to 500 mana stones by meeting new players, with 5 stones given per new player met online.
As a simplified puzzle game, this entry can be a very fun distraction. There are currently no events so the main focus for now is to level up the characters and jobs first before the harder content comes in. As a free-to-play title, puzzle games usually last longer than a story-based title (there is a story, however simple it may be) so Klab may have found its next gold mine.
Official site: https://www.puzlan.com/index.php