From developer 10tons comes Sparkle, a marble shooter that shares a fair amount in common with a couple of already established titles.
If you have played Luxor or Zuma, then you’ll be aware of the type of game Sparkle is. Chances are you’ve played one of them on PC, iOS, XBLA, PSN and any other system known to man. The one system you won’t have played it on, is the PS Vita. Thankfully 10tons have seen a gap in the market and moved in to fill it.
Sparkle does exactly what you’d expect of this type of game. You must clear levels of waves of coloured marbles as they move along a path to reach their goal and lose you a life. Simple, seen before and offering nothing new. From the moment you start the game, you feel like you are looking at a cheap knockoff shovelware version of Zuma or Luxor and would be forgiven for dismissing the game early on.
To do so though would be denying yourself of a fantastic time-waster. Gamestyle started the game for the purposes of review, but suddenly found our clocks had jumped forward about 6 hours in what seemed no time at all. We had to check to make sure someone wasn’t playing a joke on us, no way had this game eaten this much of our time.
It had, it really nails the addictive nature of a PopCap game and because there is nothing like it on the Vita, we were more than happy to be playing. It shows that there is an opening for all those quick play puzzle games such as Peggle, Denki Blocks, Super Puzzle Fighter, Puyo Pop,etc. The system is made for it.
Sparkle is very competent in its own right, levels are challenging and the layouts are varied, as you move through the main game’s plot. Yes that’s right, there is a plot. The woods have been taken over by dark forces and you must destroy the orbs and follow the path to claim back the land… Yeah, it is just a plot device to make a reason for the visual style and driving forward to the next level. We are big believers that this isn’t needed in puzzle games, but it is fairly unobtrusive and can be ignored.
There is a lot of content for your money, aside from the main story mode, you can play a challenge mode, that see you needing to clear individual levels as quick as possible, or survival where you play continuously until you cannot keep the marbles from the black hole at the end of the path. Both add a lot of additional play time to the game as you try to better your previous attempt.
Overall Sparkle is a great value for money game, that offers up a decent challenge. It isn’t offering up anything new, it isn’t genre defining, it does exactly what you’d expect and does it well. A game we didn’t expect much from has really surprised us.