Playdate has been with us for a while now, and has delivered some pleasantly polished gaming experiences – but Under The Castle might be the best game for the pocket-sized handheld yet seen.

Developed by three people – Dani Diez, ZCorbs and VolcanoBytes – it's a roguelike adventure which tasks you with venturing into crypts, sewers and mines in order to collect items and eventually topple the Evil Lord.

In classic roguelike fashion, the game takes place turn-by-turn. As you move your character around each dungeon, enemies move at the same time – but if they'll only take their turn when you do, so you can stop and mull over your strategy without any danger of being rushed.

Again, as is the case with other games which adopt this approach, clever positioning and movement allows you to get the first strike on foes (simply tap towards them to attack) and avoid taking damage. You can also use the B button to skip a turn, again placing your character in an advantageous position. It's even possible to get projectile-hurling baddies to accidentally hit other foes, if you're smart enough.

Items found in each dungeon can turn the tide of your quest. For example, more powerful weapons are available, and these can be combined with shields for other effects. You can restore your health using potions and cast spells to damage enemies. Other items – such as the torch, which lights up darkened rooms, and the key, which unlocks imprisoned villages – have more obvious applications.

Death in Under The Castle drops you back to the main hub area, and any new items you've discovered during that particular run are lost. However, if you're successful in each mission, you get to keep new items and gear – and these can then be selected on all of your future runs.

Eventually, you'll have access to a vast arsenal of weapons, shields, spells, items and more, all of which are necessary to overcome the later, more challenging levels (you can, if you so wish, switch to 'Hard' mode, which completely resets all progress when you die – giving you the true 'Rogue' experience).

The catch is that, with only eight item slots – which must also be used for in-dungeon items, like keys and orbs – you quickly run out of space, and managing your inventory becomes a prime consideration later on in the game. As well as keeping an eye on your health, you'll also need to top-up your mana from time to time, as this is depleated whenever you use your magical hat (neatly activated by the Playdate's crank) to fly over gaps in the levels.

The game's presentation is utterly brilliant, with some superbly detailed graphics and an atmospheric soundtrack. Under The Castle's bite-sized missions are perfect for portable play, and the difficulty ramps up nicely, too. For just $10 you'll get a good few hours of entertainment with this one – it's easily one of the best Playdate titles released so far, and comes highly recommended.