While the plastic-looking 3D characters can never replace the charming big-headed sprites of the original, Capcom’s new free-to-play mobile Puzzle Fighter gets the puzzle fighting bit done well enough.
I won’t make too much of a fuss over the art direction of Puzzle Fighter, as it’s little more than set dressing to the main event. The dropping gems look just fine. They fall, they crash, they drop numbered garbage gems onto the opponents’ board when matches are made.
Then again, there are the super moves. Kind of hard to ignore the characters when they’re pulling stunts like these.
Out now in soft launch in select territories (I’m playing from “Australia”) and launching later this year worldwide, this new Puzzle Fighter features two modes of play. The main focus is competitive online play, where players matched via their rank battle it out to climb the competitive puzzle fighting ladder.
Rotating single-player missons give players something to do while not matching gems at each other. As of right now there is a special event going on where players try to earn enough missions points for a special reward of some sort.
I like the fighting so far, but with a strong focus on competitive multiplayer, I’m going to have to wait and see how much microtransactions affect battles and ranking. Players can purchase crystals and coins to unlock new characters, costumes and moves. Upgrading special moves is done by collecting skill cards awarded though play or via purchased chests, so it’s obvious players who drop a dime or two are going to have at least a mild advantage.
We’ll see how it plays out when those ugly little Capcom characters take their puzzle fighting worldwide later this year.