What do you get if you cross Castlevania, Puzzle Quest and Puzzle Fighter? Yep, you get this game.

(Okay, it’s not actually based on Puzzle Fighter. It’s based on a very similar Konami game nobody (i.e. me) has ever heard of.)

It sounds like one of those terrible, terrible cash-ins that pop up on handheld consoles and mobiles, but it’s been executed with such love and care that it actually damn well works.

You play as Alucard, obviously, and have to play through Symphony of the Night, but without any whipping or jumping. You move around a map and in each room you might find an item, an enemy or nothing at all. (Yes, you can choose where to go at certain points. Yes, there are areas blocked off until you get the correct relic to let you get to them.)

If you find an enemy you battle them by destroying falling blocks. Combat is divided into rounds and when the hourglass flips to end a round, you and the enemy damage each other, with the damage dealt being based on your strength stats and the amount of blocks on your respective boards. First one to lose all their hit points loses.

Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night

It's hard to keep track of your opponent's board in the heat of battle.

By killing enemies you gain items, money and experience. There are tons of stats to put your experience points into when you level up – I’m concentrating on strength, because I keep forgetting to use spells – and all sorts of items to find and use. There’s an awful lot going on in the game, but you’re eased into it just slowly enough for it to make some sort of sense. There’s still an element of trial and error with the menus and upgrades, but I don’t think you can ever ruin things for yourself too badly if you mess up.

It’s surprisingly compulsive and oddly faithful to the source material – so much so that I found a health-restoring room by remembering where it was in the “real” castle. I’m only an hour and a half in, so I can’t speak for length or late-game difficulty, but I think it’s already been worth the three quid it cost me.