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One of Japan's biggest mobile games is getting a Super Mario spin-off

One of Japan's biggest mobile games is getting a Super Mario spin-off


But it's coming to 3DS instead

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Nintendo isn't bringing Mario to a smartphone anytime soon, but that doesn't mean the portly plumber can't star in one of the biggest mobile games around. Japanese developer GungHo has announced that the latest spin-off of its massively popular Puzzles & Dragons series will star Nintendo's iconic mascot. However, the game — called Puzzles & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. edition — will be coming to the Nintendo 3DS instead of iOS or Android.

More than 32 million downloads in Japan

While not a household name here, Puzzles & Dragons has proven massively popular in Japan, with more than 32 million downloads in its home market. The gem-matching puzzle game originally launched in 2012 and is available on both iOS and Android. GungHo recently announced that the game had reached 6 million downloads in North America.

While Nintendo is typically very protective when it comes to licensing its popular stable of characters, last year President Satoru Iwata said that the company would be more aggressive in the future on that front. "We are not at a stage where we can share the specifics with you today," he said at the time, "but we are seeing possibilities in licensing character IP in areas Nintendo has never worked before."

The new Puzzles & Dragons is launching on 3DS in Japan on April 29th. No word yet on a North American release, but GungHo says that "details are forthcoming."