Before we venture any further, let's address the rather large elephant in the room: Zuma.

At a glance you'd be forgiven for mistaking Sparkle for PopCap's popular puzzler, and you may still struggle to tell the two games apart the first time you play it.

But you'd be doing yourself and the game a disservice if you dismissed Sparkle outright, as this derivative but highly polished casual game is a welcome burst of fun on PS Vita.

It also delivers something quite different in terms of tone. It's far darker than the colourful Aztec island PopCap envisioned, and its throwaway story is more mysterious.

Sparkle is set in a strange wood that's become overrun by evil forces. With your magical staff / slingshot you venture out to match some marbles and banish some evil.

Levels end when you've removed enough balls to fill the magic sigils around your slingshot, meaning waves of ball chains come through to keep you on your toes - as opposed to Zuma's single chain.

A sparkle you can touch

As Sparkle is also on Vita it has all of the touchscreen features of its smartphone counterparts. This means that firing off marbles is a simple case of prodding the place where you want them to end up.

It works slickly, even on the faster levels, and you can opt for the thumbstick approach without noticing too much of a difference.

All of which is very well, but Sparkle never feels really challenging. You don't experience any tension as the balls creep towards the end of the tracks, and I suspect that competent casual puzzler fans will make short work of the game.

There are plenty of levels on offer, so you'll be exploring the woods and multiple paths for a while. But it all feels very familiar - right down to the power-ups - and it lacks the ineffably addictive quality of PopCap's title.

And that's before you factor in the price increase for what is, essentially, a re-release of the iOS version.

Still, there's something here for fans of the genre who have been waiting for Zuma to turn up on Vita. There's also something here for those who just want an casual puzzlers to occupy a bus journey now and again.

Sparkle tries hard to shine, and it's without doubt the best game about firing marbles in 360 degrees currently available on PS Vita, but it doesn't do enough to escape Zuma's shadow.