Puzzle Fighter Review

Puzzle Fighter Capcom Android Puzzle

Capcom has finally seen fit to release Puzzle Fighter to mobile platforms. This is great news for both fans of the original and those that are into falling brick puzzle games. The original Puzzle Fighter game, called Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo, was setup quite like the new mobile Capcom puzzle game. There are some major differences though.

Just like the original, Puzzle Fighter gems fall from the top of the screen into your pit. This is where the similarities to Tetris end. You must line gems in up/down or left/right lines touching each other, you can also create squares and rectangles with the same color gems. You must learn this technique because you are going to be using it a lot to inflict damage and win matches. Randomly there is a smasher gem for each color that will appear. Pairing this gem up with a batch of same colored gems makes them all disappear.

In the original Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo your goal was to fill the pit of your opponent before they could do the same to you. When you made matches your character would attack and junk gems would drop in their pit, wreaking havoc on their strategy.

In Puzzle Fighter for mobile you are still making those matches, performing moves on your opponent and dropping trash gems on them. The difference is, now you and your opponent both have a life meter. Deplete theirs and you can claim victory.

Those are the basics of Puzzle Fighter. Destroying gems and causing damage to your opponent.

Puzzle Fighter goes farther with additional animations that are akin to Street Fighter V, with panning cameras, zooming in and out, etc. Go ahead, power up that little circle in the bottom right corner and watch the fireworks fly as your character unleashes, or receives, a butt whipping like never seen in a puzzle game.

Now, anyone that has played Puzzle Fighter the other game that is quite similar, Columns by Sega, will tell you there is a ton of strategy involved. Much more than meets the eye when you first start playing.

Puzzle Fighter Capcom Android Puzzle

Puzzle Fighter for mobile is no different, if anything there is more strategy in this game due to the changes Capcom saw fit to make.

As you play, you can power up certain moves with cards and coins you get from winning matches. This is where the In-App Purchases come into play. You can grind and build up your characters that way, which takes time, or you can simply open your checkbook and buy your way to character superiority.

I say character superiority because anyone that has played Puzzle Fighter for long knows, it is more about your strategy and technique (with a pinch of good luck and getting the gems you need) that often controls who is going to win. If you are just a pay to win player then you are going to win a few matches but when you meet up against someone that is a seasoned pro, your luck will probably have run out.

Puzzle Fighter Capcom Android Puzzle

The card system is something Capcom has added to give the game a bit of role playing elements, and to justify their In-App Purchases. You will spend a lot of time comparing characters attacks and other abilities then upgrading them accordingly based on your playstyle. Personally, I am a huge fan of Ryu and Chun Li.

As you play, you will be able to upgrade each character and often discover new ones. You need cards and coins to upgrade though so fighting often is a requirement. One area of In-App Purchases that Capcom missed was the whole “lives” thing – I fought online battles as soon as I could (and lost my way through the minimum bouts to unlock another prize pack). I never saw a meter stating I was low on, or out of, lives and needed to wait for them to replenish or buy more (like in games like Pirates and Pearls).

I am not going to lie, I suck at Puzzle Fighter. I never really gave this offshoot a chance back in the day. Now that I have put in a few hours on the mobile remake, I can honestly say, I was wrong to not give it a chance back in the 1990’s. I was just too absorbed in games like Twisted Metal 2 and Tenka to spend much time with a puzzle game (unless it was Tetris Attack).

Online battles are handled through an automatic match making system. I am guessing the software considers at least your character level when making matches. It would be awesome if your win/loss record was considered also, though I doubt it is. Still, battling against strangers is fun because you don’t really know who is on the other end matching gems – you are left with the in-game persona they chose and that is it. No chat feature is available that I saw. Just your puzzle prowess against theirs.

Puzzle Fighter Capcom Android Puzzle

So far, I have not put in any cash or felt the urge to either. Sure, there are plenty of opportunities to do so, though they don’t beat you over the head. Like how IAP was handled in Dead Ahead Zombie Warfare, the In-App Purchases in Puzzle Fighter are presented in such a way as to appear “optional” and not forced. I like that.

Right now, Capcom has Puzzle Fighter going through soft launches in various regions. I am not sure if I am either not in the right region or my phone, tablet, and GDP XD are all simply not compatible (though side loading Puzzle Fighter on my phone works just fine).

On a platform like Android and iPhone puzzle games must do something unique to stand out. Sure, there have been many clones of Puzzle Fighter available already and for years, none have that charm that Capcom’s version does. If you want the authentic Puzzle Fighter experience then your game has arrived.

Puzzle Fighter by Capcom
Platform: Android (ZTE ZMAX 2 used for review) and iPhone
Genre: Puzzle
In App Purchases: Yes, lots of them
Rated: T for Teen on Google Play and 12+ on iTunes
Available on Google Play and the iTunes App Store (soft launches)

Carl is a portable gamer (mainly PSP and Android) currently getting his butt handed to him in MIniclip’s Beast Quest on Android. Got a cool tip or inquiry about Gaming on Batteries? Contact Carl and he will be in touch ASAP.

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