If two game genres ever deserved to be nominated for a “most over-used” designation, it's match-three and tower defense. Still, the shelf life of stale mechanics can often be extended a bit by creating unexpected combinations as new match-three/tower defense game Puzzle Defense: Dragons has managed to do. While this cute little game isn't exactly a paragon of innovation, it does offer a generous amount of free-to-play fun.
Puzzle Defense: Dragons has two modes: Campaign and Battle. The significant difference between the two is that the first has combat happen in stages as you progress across a map, and the second has it go on indefinitely (or until you run out of reinforcements). Also, Campaign mode has a weensy bit of implied narrative (re: the dragon attack on your resident kingdom) and gives you five lives/chances to fulfill each level's objectives. Battle mode on the other hand, is continuous and does away with the story add-ons.
Whichever the mode, the match-three element of Puzzle Defense: Dragons is clever, since rather than having you rearrange existing icons within a grid, it asks you to create matches by placing the icons yourself. In this case, the icons represent different types of military units starting with a basic swordsman (who's more or less useless) and continuing through more powerful units such as archers, snipers, king's archers, and heavy crossbowmen.
The idea is to group three or more of the same unit next to one another. This combines the three and transforms them into a single, more powerful unit. The progression of this works in the order listed above—three swordsmen equal one archer, three archers equal one sniper, and so on. The strategic part comes in as you determine where to create these groupings, especially since once placed, units are immovable (in general). Read more »