GAME NAME: Sparkle 2
DEVELOPER(S): 10Tons Ltd.
PUBLISHER(S): 10Tons Ltd.
PLATFORM(S): PlayStation 3
Sparkle 2 is a fast paced puzzle matching game developed by 10tons Ltd. This game is similar to PopCap’s Zuma and a sequel to Sparkle. If you’ve played Zuma or other marble matching type games and loved it then you’ll love Sparkle 2. In a world of magical forests you’re searching for keys that unlock a mystery. Many have embarked on this journey without success. It is up to you to follow the path, survive the levels and find the keys.
The story isn’t exactly memorable but it does add another element to the game and gives the levels a sense of purpose. The levels are marked as “days.” Holes open up from the ground releasing different colored orbs on a predetermined path towards another hole. To keep the orbs from reaching the abyss, you use a rotating staff mechanism called an “orb slinger” to throw orbs into the moving path and match three at a time to eliminate them. While the objective is simplistic in nature the challenge is all in the execution as timing and aim are crucial.
There are special power ups that pop up as a reward for making matches in active gameplay. The effects for these are very pretty, in fact, the whole game is rather beautiful. Sparkle 2 is bright and colorful and the power ups have their own special effects that add to the overall beauty. My favorite is the colored dust that turns a large section of orbs all the same color. It’s both pleasing to watch and can really help when you’re close to losing. There are also enchantments to be collected as reward for beating the levels. They can be easily switched in-between levels. The more you play the more enchantments you can use at one time. There are a lot of them and they all have their own special abilities like magnetizing the power ups to draw them closer to your orb slinger, blasting the orbs faster from the slinger or giving you a firebolt orb every ten orbs you throw. While not all of them are as helpful as others, collecting them is part of the games charm.
The soundtrack is the real gem in Sparkle 2. The musical scores are orchestral and perfect for a game with a magic based theme. The song will change from a soft ethereal tone to a frantic and foreboding one if you’re on the verge of losing orbs to the abyss below the forest. I enjoyed the sense of urgency as its the only real action Sparkle 2 provides and its nice to hear the soothing song return once you’ve regained control of the situation. The sound effects are great too. From the orbs hitting into each other to the power up blasts and pings, this game is full of engaging sounds.
The actual controls are quite simple and easy for any level of gamer. You can choose to use either x or the right bottom trigger R2 to fire orbs, the right top trigger R1 to switch the orbs held in the slinger and rotating the slinger can be performed by either the right or left sticks R3 and L3. The menu is easy to navigate as well. There you can access your enchantments, check statistics and indulge yourself in trophies earned. The main map is a path through a forested land and you just continue on wherever it leads you.
While Sparkle 2 is entertaining and the levels are fast going its repetitive. I did enjoy this game but its best played in short bursts. If you’re into matching games its a win and having a console based version on a large screen is a plus, especially with how pretty the graphics are. This game is a beauty and a top contender in its niche.