Game: Sparkle Unleashed
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Platforms : Xbox One, PS4, Ps3, PS Vita. (Reviewed on PS4)
A copy was provided by the publisher for the purpose of review.
Sparkle Unleashed is the action puzzler from 10tons, developers of the popular Sparkle 2. Action puzzler is a common word these days, especially in the mobile market. Can 10tons rise up from an overly saturated market and provide us with something fresh? Since its release on June 2nd in North America and June 3rd in Europe, I’ve spent the past week with Sparkle Unleashed, slaving away so I can give you my honest opinion. If you’re piqued, there will be a free demo available on all platforms, and the game costs $7.99.
It’s been a long time since I’ve played any form of a puzzle game — during my late teens I was quite prone to the occasional session on Bejeweled. As I’ve grown older I’ve found myself seeing action puzzle games as more of a diversion rather than an actual time investment. So you can imagine I went into playing Sparkle Unleashed with a fair amount of skepticism.
The game involves a preset track where a selection of colored balls will roll along, after which the player then fires said balls in an attempt to match colors and gain combos. You can work through the story mode while doing this or play in the timed survival mode. These are the only two modes available, but you are definitely getting more than enough content for the price that 10tons are asking. As you play through the Story mode you’ll unlock power-ups that help you gain higher combos and play more effectively. This is a nice touch that adds motivation to play the story all the way through. The game really shines during the frantic moments of rushing to match the colors before they reach the end of their path. You’ll be zipping from side to side in order to narrowly avoid failure.
While it may not be the most original concept, the presentation is brilliant. The game runs smoothly and feels seamless, making long sessions feel like a short burst. This is made far worse by the one-more-turn mentality the game imbues. On a few evenings I have gone to play Sparkle Unleashed before moving onto something else, and then it’ll suddenly be midnight and I’ve been playing for four hours. I also want to add that there is color-blind assist and multiple control options, so it is clear the developer has taken the ability of all gamers into consideration. I think this is a great addition and something that more indie developers should incorporate into their games.
While Sparkle Unleashed is fun, it can become repetitive. The power-ups add little variation to the core gameplay mechanics. This isn’t a massive issue but once you’ve played through the story and tried the survival, there isn’t a lot to keep you coming back other than the occasional quick session. While this probably won’t bother a lot of people, those who are looking for re-playability are going to have to look elsewhere. I found myself turning off the in-game music after a few hours as it becomes very annoying. I don’t expect a massively orchestrated soundtrack from an indie game, but a bit more variety would have been nice. Luckily this is something that is easily remedied by Spotify if playing on the PS4 version. I would almost say that Spotify adds to the experience with Sparkle Unleashed.
Overall, Sparkle Unleashed is a fun little game. It doesn’t do anything new, but it takes an already polished formula and improves on it. For the cost of a few drinks down your local bar, you can have a great little go-to action puzzler to keep you entertained between games.
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