As someone with no affinity towards the Castlevania series, picking up Castlevania Encore: Puzzle of the Night seems like a weird move. Up until I played it, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to regret the discounted price I paid for it.
While I haven’t played enough to pass a final judgment on it, I’m really digging this so far.
Imagine a game that mixes Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo’s core puzzle gameplay with the RPG mechanics of Puzzle Quest and wrapped in Castlevania presentation and you get this game. At its core, the game is about dropping pairs of coloured blocks into a well and matching three of the same colour, like Puzzle Fighter. Your goal within ‘battle’ is to defeat your opponent by draining all of his or her (or its) health. This is where the Puzzle Quest influence kicks in. You can drain your opponent’s HP through chains of disappearing blocks or by using spells. When you win, you gain points that can help you level up your attributes and abilities. To top it off, you play as Alucard, questing through the Symphony of the Night Castle in sort of the same manner you would have in the original.
I think all of these elements are working great so far. Matching three coloured blocks is a timeless gameplay mechanic, but the extra Puzzle Quest and Symphony of the Night elements add more depth and flair to the experience.
The only part of this package that is bringing down the experience so far are the sometimes imprecise controls. The game does let you adjust the sensitivity, which you may need to fiddle with before you get something that’s right for you. Even when you find one that works best, you likely will experience pieces rotating or dropping the wrong way due to the imprecision of the touch screen. It’s by no means a deal-breaker, but it’s worth noting if you’re a stickler for controls.
Castlevania Encore: Puzzle of the Night is available now on the iTunes store. I’ll drop a link to it at the bottom of this post should slaying Dracula three coloured blocks at a time sounds fun to you. Konami has already set a precedent by putting this on sale once before, so those looking to stretch their dollar might want to wait for a price drop. However, I think so far the game is worth the asking price and worth a shot for puzzle game players looking for something deeper than Bejeweled Blitz.