A groan escaped my body as soon as I saw the main screen of Terra Battle. Yup. Thanks, Sakaguchi. A Puzzle & Dragons clone. Alright, the "gameplay" itself is different (Not so much in some ways.) but the framework is all there.
Stamina (which regenerates over time) and Energy (which is winnable from some battles) are both for sale. Stamina is needed to play more and Energy is for buying new units. Units can also be bought with the gold won in battle. These units are not as cool as the ones purchased with Energy. When I recruited for the third time, instead of a new unit one of my units leveled up. It seems that is how they handle the issue of multiples. Slight differences, but not that different. I have played this game so many times this year with so many different skins. At least this one is super pretty.
The game borrows another mechanic from Puzzle and Dragons but it takes a moment to notice it. A clever part of P&D is how as a piece is slid around other pieces can be moved to set up larger combos. Terra Battle plays like a Match-Three-SRPG. A "match three" in this case being two allied units with one (or more) of their enemies in between. Horizontally or vertically. Other adjacent or in line of sight allies can add bonuses to the damage. Units have special skills that can go off and deal more damage.
Units are dragged around the grid, not unlike the pieces in P&D. And just like its gem matching cousin, Terra Battle lets only one piece move at a time but it can be used to manipulate the others. The passed-through unit will end up where the moving unit was. So with some planning it is fairly easy to set up large and graphically impressive combos. It satisfies that "Lots of shit going on" requirement.
It bored me at first, but I am slowly warming up to it. But the damn interface is infuriating. This style of game clearly can bring in enough money if it catches on. (Which will be interesting to see if Terra Battle can do, given its complexity.) The interface isn't bad it is just over used. Nothing is being done here that improves on what P&D did with its menus and that is what pisses me off the most. That's right. The menus. Maybe they are close to perfect but it just feels like something should be done so that I don't feel like I am loading up the same game again and again.