Puzzle Fighter by Capcom blends the genres of puzzle and fighting to create a unique mashup.
The gameplay of Puzzle Fighters is very unique. The mechanics are simple and easy to understand. The gameplay, however, resembles that of a puzzle game such as Tetris or Candy Crush more than it does of fighting games like Street Fighter. However, the way you play the puzzle aspect of the game is shown through the fighting animations on the upper portion of the screen.
The puzzle features sets of two blocks which drop down on a grid style arrangement. The blocks also have different colors, as well as four variations of block types. The first type of block is the square shaped block which can be red, green, blue, or yellow. The second type of block is the circle shaped block which can also be red, green, blue, or yellow. The third type of block is the diamond block which lacks any color. The fourth type of block is the timer block, which has a countdown number on it. The blocks can be flipped in any direction on the way down. Once the blocks hit the bottom they will begin to accumulate. The majority of blocks will be square; however, the player will occasionally be given circle and diamond blocks as well. When square blocks are paired with a circle block of the same color they will disappear, and the character will attack the opponent. However, the player also has the ability to group blocks up to do more attack damage. Diamond blocks, on the other hand, will eliminate any block on the field of the same color as the one it lands on top of. The timer blocks can be a nuisance, as they basically act like a null block until the timer runs out. The timer goes down by one number each time the player places a set of blocks. The timer can start as high as five. The player is able to arrange the same colored blocks in specific patterns to do combo attacks.
Each character has an affinity color associated with them. When using moves with the same color as their affinity, the character is given bonus effects such as boosted damage, or stun effects. Each character also has support super abilities in the event they are assigned to be a support character. These support supers are essentially quick attacks where the support character quickly jumps in to assist the lead character. Each character also has various main attacks which the play may swap in and out.On the topic of support characters, the player chooses two characters to assist in battle, making your team consist of three fighters.
The game is still extremely new, thus a competitive meta has not fully evolved. However, near the top of the leaderboard, some characters seem to be used more often than others. However, it is unclear if certain characters provide a competitive advantage.
The gameplay mechanics are not very deep. In terms of interacting with your opponent, there are only two ways you can manipulate the game. The first is through timer blocks, each character is able to drop timer blocks on the opponent when doing combo attacks. This can help make it difficult for your opponent to attack. The other way a player can manipulate the game is efficiently organizing their blocks as they come, allowing them to do more damage with their attacks. Outside of that, the gameplay stems down to being a puzzle game.
Puzzle Fighters has the typical in-game currency system and is built upon a standard pay to win model. There are two forms of in-game currency; gems and coins. Coins can be earned through in-game methods, whereas gems must be purchased through the in-game store.
Gold is used to purchase various attacks from the in-game shop, whereas gems are used to unlock new characters or purchase more gold. Gold is also used to upgrade the attacks of characters within the game. Gold is awarded to the player in the seasonal chests, the daily spins upon a match victory, and through the daily boss fights.
There is no way to acquire gems without spending real money. This makes it difficult for free-to-play players to unlock new characters. Although the game provides a generous 100 gems to begin with, this unfortunately does not help at all because a new character costs 500 gems.
The game is pay-to-win, so players spending real money will have a much easier time unlocking new characters, and upgrading their attacks. This gives pay-to-win players an immediate advantage over the typical free-to-play individuals.
If you’re a fan of any of the characters featured in this game, it is definitely worth checking out. The art style of the characters is like a cartoony animated version of their regular design. The character models are absolutely fantastic, and mesh well with the scenic art used for the backgrounds of the fighting arenas. The scenery features many locations from the original Street Fighter series, along with other locations from the other characters respective game franchises.
The menu looks great, but is actually rather confusing as it lacks labels on the main menu of where each button will take the player. As well, everything seems to be scattered randomly into different places making it somewhat difficult to navigate.
The music choice makes it feel like a typical fighting game, and the sound effects on the menus are somewhat pleasing to the ear. The in-game sound effects are extremely satisfying for fans of the Street Fighter series. Nothing is more satisfying than hearing Ryu yelling his iconic “Hadouken”.
Puzzle Fighters does a decent job at rewarding players for playing daily. There are two main ways in which this is done; the first being through daily spins for winning matches, the second being daily boss challenges. The shop also changes daily, giving the player another reason to check the game on a regular basis.
During the middle of the season, and at the end of the season, the player is awarded a chest with resources based on how well they progress on the ladder. This provides the player incentives to progress further, along with the opportunity to unlock new characters the further they progress on the ladder.
Finally, the fighters require resources to become strong, This forces the player to play regularly if they want to improve, as the main way to acquire resources is by playing on a daily basis.
Currently there is a major problem with the ladder gameplay in Puzzle Fighter. Very quickly into a players ladder ascent, they will start playing players with a much higher ranking than should be allowed. It also seems as though there is not a large userbase to substantiate a fairer matchmaking system, as occasionally a player will spend a very long time in the queue.
There is also a lack of mechanical depth that might allow for players to grow tired of the game very quickly. It is important to remember that Puzzle Fighter is still in it’s soft launch, so there is plenty of time and opportunity for things to change.
Capcom as a company, however, has a great track record of game development. They are well established within the video game industry, and have been releasing games since 1987. They tend to build upon franchises rather than create new franchises. Although it is difficult to say whether they will continue to support this game for a long time, as this is their first foray into the microtransaction world of mobile video games.
There is however, plenty of opportunity for Capcom to continue adding new content into the game as there are plenty of video game characters across all their franchises which are not in the game yet.
Overall, the game is not amazing, but it is not terrible either. There are several ways in which it could improve. It is important for Capcom to fix the ladder to begin with, as a player with 400 points on the ladder should never be matched up against a player with 1200+ points.
The game would also benefit from a change to the game mechanics. Whether that be through new block types, or altering the mechanics which are already in place to have more of an impact on the game. The game also does not explain the mechanics in the most concise manner, making the learning curve for a beginner somewhat steep.
The final way Capcom could improve the game is through more game modes. Currently the only way to play the game without friends is either offline against the daily boss fighters, or online in the ladder. There is not enough variation, there is room for a challenge mode. Another option could be a completely different gamemode where the typical formula of the game is altered which would provide much more diversity.