Nintendo is partnering with one of the most successful mobile developers in Japan for a new game that mashes up Mario characters with one of the top-grossing games in the world.
Developers GungHo Online Entertainment and Nintendo announced today that they are working on Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition. This new release combines the gameplay of the Puzzle & Dragons mobile apps with the characters, settings, and aesthetics of the Mushroom Kingdom. The title will debut April 29 on 3DS for around $33 (4,000 yen).
This represents a major partnership with one of Japan’s fastest-growing developers. Puzzle & Dragons on iOS and Android makes nearly a billion dollars every year, and it is extraordinarily popular in Japan, where more than 10 percent of the population is actively playing it.
GungHo has previously released a 3DS adaptation of its mobile hit called Puzzle & Dragons Z. That game was one of the best sellers for the 3DS in Japan in 2013. Now, combined with Mario, Peach, and Bowser, it could do even better.
The gameplay of Puzzle & Dragons is mash-up of two popular genres: match-3 puzzlers and role-playing games. Your goal is to collect dragons that serve as your team in battles. To perform attacks with your dragons, you must play the puzzle game. When you match three, that powers your dragons’ actions.
The Super Mario Bros. Edition will play exactly the same, but instead of dragons, you’re collecting goombas, bloopers, and flame chomps. Additionally, this Nintendo-ized version of Puzzle & Dragons strips out the in-app purchases that make up the core of the gameplay in Puzzle & Dragons proper.
Check out the game in action:
We’ve asked Nintendo and GungHo for more information, and we’ll update this post with anything new. We also are trying to find out if the game is coming to North America or any other Western territory. It’s possible, as Puzzle & Dragons has found an audience in the U.S., but it definitely has not matched its Japanese success.
If you’re wondering if it is odd for Nintendo’s mascot to appear in other company’s games, it isn’t. Mario has previously starred in special adaptations of NBA Street, Dance Dance Revolution, and SSX.