GAME NAME: Sparkle 2
DEVELOPER(S): 10tons Ltd.
PUBLISHER(S): 10tons Ltd.
PLATFORM(S): PlayStation Vita
RELEASE DATE(S): May 20, 2014
Marbles. Lots and lots of marbles. That’s what it takes to recover five long lost keys and find an epic treasure in Sparkle 2, a mobile game that is now available on the PlayStation Vita.
Sparkle 2 is a classic marble shooting puzzle game in the same vein as Zuma’s Revenge and other similar games. There’s a nice story behind the game play, as you are an adventurer seeking the aforementioned keys and treasure. Each level is a step further on your path through the magical land. With branching paths and dead-ends, you get 90-plus levels to play through. It took me just over five hours to complete the regular campaign, so there’s a hefty amount of content here. There are also Hard and Nightmare difficulties in case the regular mode wasn’t challenging enough for you. In addition to the regular story mode, you also get a challenge mode that makes you play the same level three times back to back to back, each time at a higher difficulty level, as well as a survival mode that sees how long you can last in an endless level. All modes and difficulties will keep you busy for quite a long while, so you definitely get your money’s worth in the content department. Playing in long bursts can get a little stale, but it’s perfect for quick sessions when you’re short on time.
Using the Vita’s touchscreen, the game plays wonderfully. All you have to do is tap where you want your marble to fly, and off it goes. Timing is very precise and I found no delays from when I tapped to when the marble left the shooter. Tapping to switch the loaded object is quick as well. You can also aim and shoot using the analog sticks and face buttons, but this method is significantly slower (especially if you suck at aiming like me) and I only used it to see if it was there. Seriously, unless you don’t have fingers, you should be tapping the screen to play. And even then you should consider learning to play with your toes.
While you play you’ll earn various power-ups to help you in your journey. There are some that appear in the field of play after successive matches, and others you equip before you enter a level. As expected, some are more helpful than others, but they help out tremendously for the most part. I enjoyed finding and using all the different ones available.
A game like this isn’t too demanding graphically, but this one still looks dang purty. The colors of all the marbles are bright and vibrant, which contrasts nicely with the darker backgrounds you play the levels on. The execution of power-ups is also done very well, with great flashes and smoke effects providing the extra flair. The soundtrack is also very stellar. Full on orchestral epicness awaits your ears in what sounds like a movie soundtrack. It actually felt like I was playing the Trine games a little, as the setting and music is very similar to that series.
If you’re looking for a solid marble shooter to play on your Vita, then you’ve found it with Sparkle 2. Visually and sonically beautiful, the gameplay and content is what holds this puzzler above others in the arena. Definitely worth a look for fans of the genre.