Title: Sparkle 2
Version Tested: Xbox One
Available On: Xbox One, PS4, PS3, PS Vita, PC, Mac, Android, iOS, and other mobile devices
Developer: 10tons Ltd
Publisher: 10tons Ltd
Genre: Action, Adventure, Casual, Indie
Official Site: http://www.10tons.com/Game/Sparkle2.html
Release Date: January 27, 2015
Where To Buy: Xbox Games Store, PSN, Steam, App Store, Google Play Store, Windows
Sparkle 2 has already been available for a few years, but after seeing the success of Sparkle Unleashed on the Xbox One, developer 10tons, Ltd decided to expand their newest marble-matching game to consoles. The game is surprisingly entertaining and includes a new Cataclysm mode in addition to the original Story, Survival and Challenge modes. While Sparkle 2 may not have an interesting story to back it up, other factors like soundtrack and level design will hook puzzle fans right away.
The developer said this new venture for Sparkle 2 is another exciting step for them. When Sparkle Unleashed was debuted on the Xbox One, it received great attention – especially because it was one of the first games of its genre on the console. “We’re confident Sparkle 2 will be equally well received, as the gameplay experience is different enough and the production values are a touch higher,” CEO Tero Alatalo said in a press release.
Check out the trailer for the game’s release on Xbox One.
Playing the game, I noticed that the narrative does not seem important, other than that it helps you progress through the different levels. Basically, the goal in the main Story mode is to get five keys by traveling around the landscape. In order to travel through the area, you must complete levels of progressing difficulty. As you complete more levels, the game offers you different power-ups and special effects to help as difficulty increases; these can be helpful in tight spots. The enchantments, in particular, are important because if you know what you struggle with on a certain level you can try to counter that weakness.
Sparkle 2 reminds me a lot of the mini games I used to play in middle school (Bubble Shooter, anyone?), but it has a lot of advantages over those free-to-play computer games. It is insanely addicting, and somehow very satisfying, to match each group of marbles and watch them burst into nothing. The graphics are beautiful, with each few levels changing into a different landscape design. Even though the game is mostly shown from the top down, every aspect of each level is given careful attention. The few cut scenes also display gorgeous landscapes. Everything about this game seems fluid and beautiful, even if you’re paying more attention to solving the puzzles than anything else. That is entirely possible – the different puzzles are thoughtfully designed and the further you make it in the game, the more of a workout your brain gets. I’ll be honest – I went into this game expecting fairly easy arcade-style puzzles. But I actually found myself enjoying the challenge of Sparkle 2 as I got further along.
The Survival mode is fairly self-explanatory, with the player trying to survive waves during a level. The Challenge mode involves set puzzle levels that you must solve, with varying difficulties. In many ways, it’s similar to Story mode, except that you get to choose the level and difficulty you want to play at. For Xbox One, Sparkle 2 also has the new Cataclysm mode. These levels are intense and seem to be for those that need more of a challenge. Let me just say, I am not one of those people, as I quickly discovered.
Another noteworthy part of this game is the soundtrack. Composed by the award-winning Jonathan Geer, the background music can help in the enjoyment of this game. Ranging from fast-paced to more relaxing, this soundtrack accurately describes the different parts of the game in a way that narration never could. While there are only a few different songs, they are varied depending on the landscape area, the pace of the level and even how close the player is to losing. The only complaint I had about the soundtrack is that it can be repetitive if you play Sparkle 2 for a long time. There are only a few songs, after all. But the music weaves a nice overall picture of the kind of adventurous game Sparkle 2 is striving to be.
In order to unlock the other modes available in the game, you have to play Story mode up to a certain point. Basically, everything in the game has to be unlocked by going through Story mode, which makes sense for teaching players the game, but can be frustrating. While the Story mode is entertaining in itself, after being beaten by the same level over and over you may want a change of pace. However, unless you are far enough along in the game, you may not get that opportunity. And seeing as the new Cataclysm mode isn’t unlocked until pretty far into the game, some people may not even get to see the new content for a long time.
That being said, Sparkle 2 does an excellent job of introducing new players into the mechanics of the game, gradually adding new challenges in a way that eases you into each aspect. The game itself is set at $7.99, which is not too expensive for the amount of content you receive. There is also a 15% discount through February 8th.
For being what it is, Sparkle 2 is a fun game. With all of the different modes available, there is so much content for the player – the Story mode alone has more than 90 levels. If you enjoy puzzles and have been looking for a new game to play, then Sparkle 2 is for you.
- Gameplay: Entertaining and thought-provoking puzzle levels, with plenty of content
- Graphics: Gorgeous landscapes and fluid motion
- Sound: Great background music, although a little repetitive
- Presentation: Fairly innovative for a puzzle game; well-designed
- Interesting Puzzles
- Large Amount Of Content
- Entertaining Music
- Amazing Graphics
- Storyline Seems Pointless
- Must Play Story Mode
- Music Can Be Repetitive
Meghan is an amateur gamer, J.R.R. Tolkien fanatic and self-proclaimed otaku. She hopes to become the author of her own fantasy novel one day, and loves to talk about everything from comic books to Criminal Minds.