hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night

6:00 PM on 07.30.2010 // Sean Carey

I clearly remember the sense of fascination and wonder I experienced the first time I scored a strategy guide for Metroid back in the late 80’s. Seeing all of Zebes laid out on the pages at once was a joy for me, and I would take it with me to school or on family road-trips. With no NES to play on away from home, I would project myself into the pages and mentally practice the routes I would take when I played the game next.
 
When I first launched Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night on my iPhone, I had a rush of that yummy nostalgic feeling hit me. The game is navigated from a zoomed out perspective where you move from panel to panel within the castle as if you were an Alucard miniature on top of a Symphony of the Night strat-guide. There’s no doubt that this game is packed with elements designed to appeal to devotees of the franchise.
 
The big question here is whether or not Castlevania Puzzle’s gameplay experience is equal to the huge amounts of fan service on offer here. Read on for the official review!

Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night (iPhone) 
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami 
Released: July 22, 2010 
MSRP: $4.99 

Despite the wild departure from the platforming and combat elements of other games in the series, Konami definitely nailed the vibe for this title; Castlevania Puzzle feels very much like a Castlevania game should. Most character and enemy sprites were pulled as-is from Symphony of the Night, although it does look like a few were touched up. Much of the excellent music also makes the transition to this game, and even though it sounds like it is cut and looped at times, I’m more than willing to overlook that given the short length of most battles.

The map is nearly a one to one replica, with all the major landmarks there; the Clock Tower, Alchemy Lab, and the Long Library are all waiting to be explored again. The seminal item-procurement and subsequent backtracking elements are in full force as well, although an added handy-dandy fast travel function between discovered safe rooms removes much of the tedium of getting around.

As you travel between frames in the castle, you will trigger battles with recognizable SOTN enemies; there will almost always be an enemy in a frame the first time you enter, but it reverts to a random encounter design when backtracking. When a battle is initiated, you are taken to a new screen where you will engage in deadly puzzle combat with your foes.

The core gameplay is distinctly akin to Columns; blocks will fall into your play area, and matching 3 of the same color clear them from your board. Certain blocks will be unclearable until you form a match-3 adjacent to them, which will allow you to plan ahead and set up cascades of match-3 chains as you get the hang of the game. Chaining your matches are the key to victory, as successful chains drop a shower of blocks onto your enemy’s play area, which increases the amount of HP they lose.

There’s nothing revolutionary about the base puzzle mechanics, but when you add the RPG elements on top the result is very satisfying. As you level up, you can allocate points to stats such as attack, defense, or different magic schools. All of these options for your character build can radically alter your play experience, as different spells can change the complexion of a battle a great deal. Levelling up can become a bit grindy if you’re just wandering around the castle, but taking note of which areas have enemies that offer the right amount of XP without overpowering you can offset this if you’re attentive.

As much as I want to gush over how well Konami has merged the SOTN experience with a genre that seems wholly unsuited for it, I would be remiss not to point out a gargantuan flaw in this title. On the battle screen, the portion of the iPhone screen devoted to your play area is woefully inadequate. With the character/enemy sprites covering the center, and your opponent’s play area on the right, you’re left with a paltry one-third of an already tiny screen with which to maneuver your blocks while puzzling.

Unless you’re sporting petite elvish Orlando Bloom-like fingers, you will encounter a healthy heaping of frustration when you can’t get a crucial block to drop how you need it to. To the developer’s credit, they do include the ability to adjust the touch sensitivity which helps to mitigate this problem to an extent. Regardless, even with the responsiveness just the way you like, there’s just no way to avoid the many frustrating errant rotations, missed placements, and premature block drops you will experience while playing.

Without the issues surrounding the use of screen space and controls, Castlevania Puzzle would have been a phenomenal title. They really nailed the presentation, and I have no doubt that this game plays like a dream on the iPad where there is ample real estate for proper puzzling. I would snatch this game up in a heartbeat for XBLA or PSN if it were released there as well. However, issues and all, Encore of the Night is still a good game with a lot to offer SOTN fans looking to get their Alucard fix on a elbatrop.

Score7.0 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)



Sean Carey,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Just got an email from Nintendo saying that my Club Nintendo reward has been shipped and is on its way. Now it's the end of an era. *pours one out for Club Nintendo*
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
I've been thinking of starting up a criticism-minded "game of the month" type podcast. Would anyone be interested in something like that? If you'd wanna be part of it, let me know, I'm generating ideas and looking for contributors
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Playing the most difficult strategy game ever: trying to figure out what order to beat your backlog in.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Transient Ryu stays ripped by riding the rails and throwing other transients off of his rail cars - [IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/homeless%20ryu.jpg~original[/IMG]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I'm so, so sorry everyone. :(
kolten2 avatarkolten2
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJCiF5dBSpweeStTjOqu-uA/videos
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
I'm pretty sure you guys know what game I'll be playing tomorrow. One of THE hottest games of the season. That's right, I'm talking about Lunch Truck Tychoon. Kojima ain't got shit on me, mukkas!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Playing Project Zero 2 on Wii. One should hope PZ5 got more sensible controls - twisting the Wiimote left/right to turn the camera does not make sense.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
"When you are not playing the game or choose not to join the defense, your FOB will be defended automatically by your Security Team and security devices." Yeah, I think I'll just avoid the FOB functionality in MGS V
Snaveage avatarSnaveage
PSA: If you're picking up Phantom Pain tomorrow, put the kids down for a nap, turn off your phone and tell your partner to pipe down - the opening hour deserves your undivided attention. Enjoy!
extatix avatarextatix
If you like your hentai VNs [url="https://groupees.com/vn3"]cheap.[/url] Or even [url="https://www.indiegala.com/manga"]cheaper[/url].
VeryImportantQuestion avatarVeryImportantQuestion
Just read that SquareEnix have applied some weird mutation of crowdfunding mechanics to the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided preorder. I know the last blog I wrote mentioned how big publishers try to pervert these systems, but to think it's already this far gone.
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
First in line to grab MGS V tomorrow. Close to my house, so it looks like I can eat and sleep comfortably. No one else seems to be waiting at my mailbox. Neighbors are getting suspicious.
The Travisionist avatarThe Travisionist
[img]https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CNwHpCTVAAA0jLp.png[/img] Sometimes, life is good as a ghost.
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
You know what, I'm just gonna come out and say it. I hope MGSV fails. It won't train wreck by any means, but I hope it's a huge financial failure. Nothing against Kojima, but #fuckonami
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
MGS V unlocks for me tomorrow at noon.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Since my blog using this is basically useless, I still wanted to share it. [img]http://i.imgur.com/a33WM5Q.png[/img] CAN YOU DIG IT!?
Manchild avatarManchild
I don't think you should be able to say #Fuckonami if you are deciding to support their product anyways. I don't often agree with boycotting and am not condoning that, but get your story straight and show a little consistency.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
When the band began to play the stars were shining bright. Now the milkman's on his way and it's too late to say good night. So, Good Morning! Good Morning!
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
I'm guessing all rock bands in the world must have stopped making music videos this year, since I read fall out boy's "Uma Thurman" won for rock video of the year. I can only assume there were no other nominees.that's the only rational explanation.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -