The 3DS is already home to handheld versions of two of the most popular fighting series of all time - Street Fighter and Dead Or Alive - with a Tekken game on the way early next year. Is there space in its catalogue, then, for yet another? Just about.
BlazBlue is one of Arc System Works' two big 2D fighting game series (the other being Guilty Gear). While other 2D brawlers like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat have made the jump from sprites to polygonal characters, BlazBlue sticks to its guns with a gorgeous hand-drawn style - it feels like you're playing an anime cartoon rather than a game.
As a fighter, BlazBlue is fairly complex. Its combo system is pretty tight and there are all manner of blocks, counters and reversals you'll need to learn to master the game. Thankfully there's a superb tutorial system which covers everything from the basics (how to walk forward) to ridiculous 12-hit combos with cancels and specials all over the place.
It's easy to get bogged down in the tutorial's technicalities, but the hilarious script (one of the game's characters continually puts you down as she teaches you how to fight) keeps your interest.
In terms of single-player modes you'll be sorted for a while. As well as the standard arcade and training modes, there's a Challenges mode which acts like the one in Super Street Fighter IV, tasking you with pulling off the trickier combos.
The Abyss (Beat a series of increasingly difficult opponents while gaining items) and Legion (Progress through a map with a team of fighters) will keep you busy for a long time, and there's a ridiculously long Story mode with lengthy plots for each of the game's 18 characters.
Sadly, there's far more story than fighting here, so unless you're a sucker for OTT anime voice-acting and bizarre scenarios, you'll be giving your right thumb some good exercise as you bash the A-button.
It takes some getting used to playing the game with the D-Pad and some of the more intricate moves can be tricky to pull off every time, especially for the more dedicated fighting fans used to playing with arcade sticks. Amazingly, despite its hefty control customisation settings, there's no option to control your character with the Circle Pad, which could have been far more preferable.
That's not BlazBlue's only flaw. The lack of online multiplayer is unacceptable when you consider it's been done in Street Fighter and Dead Or Alive, and there's some annoying slowdown which shouldn't be happening on a 3DS. Still, fighting fans looking for something to tide them over until Tekken will be content with this, as long as they're willing to battle the control system first.