More abrasive than a scouring pad covered in Bernard Manning routines, Blazing Souls Accelate asks a lot from you and returns so little within its J-RPG structure.

Yet for the masochists - those people who want bewildering complexity, an absence of hand-holding, and who don't care whether a game can carry a story - the title might just be what they're looking for.

Whether such an audience exists is another question.

The plot is barely coherent anime rubbish - all rag-tag adventurers thrown together on a mission to save the day. The voice actors involved with the project put in decent performances but they're wasted on poor dialogue and almost universally unlikeable characters.

"Get the hell out of my way" shouts the scrappy Adelle, while the meeker Aria apologises in battles constantly with "Sorry to intrude". The equally pathetic Snow just seems to yelp when it's her turn to go next. Main character Zelos is perhaps the worst of the bunch: a detestable, arrogant, and aggressive freelancer with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

The gameplay itself is slow and fractured. Every action you perform - whether it's an attack or spell, a summon, a movement, or just ending your turn - takes a few more button-presses than seems necessary.

But there's a great deal of strategy to be enjoyed here. For instance, you can combine attacks into sequences to form combos that alter their effect, and you can make Chains to use multiple characters as one.

Getting to know your heroes as they level-up, and understanding their particular skill-sets, is important.

Realising when to lead a strike with one character over another to maximise the damage inflicted, knowing why you need to wear down the resistance of an enemy before going in for the kill, executing turn after turn of perfectly choreographed butchering - all of these things can be joyous.

Hurt me more

But it's very difficult to do any of them when you aren't actually told how to do so effectively. The game's tutorials are all in long strings of confusing text, peppered with important terms that are never explained.

There's weapon-forging, item-combining, monster-collecting, requirement lists, information to gather, and so on, but to fully participate you'll need to grind away, groping in the dark, until you work out the fundamentals.

Which is a shame, because once you do begin to unravel this confusing ball of knotted J-RPG twine it's a lengthy and mechanically intriguing title that isn't too bad to look at either.

It mixes its visual and aural styles a little too frequently, perhaps, going from searing rock to grand orchestral and watercolour art to chibi sprites in an instant, but it's pleasant enough.

Fans of Disgaea's specific brand of ultra-detailed systems and combo-driven play will fall in love with Blazing Souls Accelate, and more power to them. For the rest of us this is just another PSP strategy title from the East to completely ignore.