Sparkle 2 (Switch) Review
With the success of the Switch, the Nintendo eShop has quickly overflowed with indie games from up to a decade ago. Some games you may have potentially played through on two other platforms and now you can’t resist the idea of playing it while you are sitting on the toilet. But there are also the games that have bided their time, slowly creeping onto nearly every platform available until they have near-complete domination of the gaming landscape. Sparkle 2 has finally come to claim the Switch as part of its mighty empire.
Want the short and sweet version? If you loved (or remember) games like Zuma or Luxor, then you’re in for a treat because the Sparkle series is more of that. But by no means is that meant to be a negative, those games were good fun and it’s the type of time killer puzzle game I can easily find time for. For those who still have no idea what kind of game this is, there is a launcher/sling on the field of play. Surrounding it are trails where multi-coloured orbs make a continual path to a hole/holes on the field, and you have to match at least three of the same colour to clear the orbs and keep them from falling into the holes.
Over the course of 90+ levels, you’ll come across increasingly harder puzzles. As you progress, you’ll also unlock abilities to enhance the sling. These are often in the form of providing a power up, or by closing off the source of the orbs. While it is fun to finally unlock new abilities to make the game more manageable, in the end it doesn’t truly change. From the start of the game to the end, you’re going to be doing the exact same thing—Only it gets more stressful. This would be a problem if this was a game intended for hour after hour of gameplay, but it’s not that at all. At its core, Sparkle 2 is a mobile game best suited for short bursts while you’re waiting for something, or when there’s nothing good on TV. Fortunately, being a mobile game previously doesn’t mean it’s not a good game. If anything, the tablet mode and using the touch screen is the perfect place for it.
Using the handheld mode, you can easily tap on the point in the chain where you want your orb to land. This way gives you the most precise control, and it’s the way the game was made to be played. I cannot recommend it enough! If you hate having fun when you play your games, there’s always the physical controls. True, you might not use your Switch in tablet mode, or you may want to sit the whole family down to watch you wreck orb after orb, but using the joysticks to aim is not ideal. The most likely outcome in this mode is that your family watches you embarrass yourself by dying in the first level of the game, as you keep hitting the orbs next to the one you want because there’s no aiming line. If 10Tons do have further support for this game hopefully they’ll add in something for the aiming, for now you’ll just have to get better at the game.
There is a story to keep you motivated on your quest of orb annihilation, though it pretty much consists entirely of narrated text over an image every now and then. You are tasked to gather five keys. The barely-there, although somewhat whimsical, story doesn’t have any impact on the game, although I’ll admit I was still curious about what would happen in the end. There was no way it could live up to any expectations. In Sparkle 2’s favour, it does add to the atmosphere with the music, and also the nature-themed backdrop that I can only still sum up as whimsical. I felt like an orb Wizard (very different from an orb spider) as I played Sparkle 2, flinging orbs and magic to save the day. It’s fun and charming, and goes a surprisingly long way (well, until the music drives you mad).
If working through the story levels isn’t enough there’s also a Challenge and Survival mode: Challenge is completing several levels in one go and Survival, as the name suggests, is seeing how long you can survive on any given level. These modes don’t change the game in any big ways, but they will test you a bit more.
Now while I have painted a mixed picture of Sparkle 2, I must stress that this is a great game, if you play it as intended. There is a surprising amount of content in Sparkle 2, and this is great if you want the most out of your games. But don’t rush it! Play a few levels until it stops being as fun, then step back and come back to it tomorrow. I know it can be a bit rich telling someone how to enjoy a game, but look at it like this: if you’re after a fun puzzle game to play here and there, then you’ll have plenty to enjoy in Sparkle 2. If you want a game you can sit down and try to power through in one sitting, you will likely not enjoy Sparkle 2, because it will be the same thing over and over again.
As with any game where colour matching is a mechanic, it is always helpful if there’s a colour blind mode included. Fortunately, Sparkle 2 has one and it’s great. As well as the colours changing, there are also symbols that are clear to see on each orb to match up instead, I liked having the symbols as much as just the colour.
If you’ve played this game on any platform in the last few years then you’ll largely know what to expect. On the plus side, it’s still a Sparkle game, it’s great at what it does, and Zuma is long gone. It is also good value for the amount of content provided, and as a bonus it’s slightly cheaper on the eShop than on the iOS app store.
- Addictive puzzle game
- Reasonable price
- Lots of content
- Inaccurate physical controls