When it comes to certain genres like marble poppers, there’s not a lot of variation to be expected in actual game mechanics, unless you create some sort of mash up like what has become popular with match 3 games. What does set one entry apart from another is the presentation, and in that regards Sparkle 2 excels even more than its predecessor did. There are a couple of other things that make it rise to the top, though, so don’t think I’ve been unduly distracted by glittery things. In the end, the Sparkle franchise continues to be my favorite marble popping addiction.
Te basic premise is that you have a series of objects, in this case orbs, which travel from point A to point B. You have to stop them by launching additional orbs into the groups to make matches of three or more. Matches disappear, gaps close up, and if you’re lucky more matches will occur to cause a chain reaction. Ultimately you must eliminate each and every group on a level before you can safely move on to the next. Every few levels you will earn a new enhancement that can be used in one of three slots on your slinger, and these can be changed out at the beginning of each level. Try various combinations to see what works well together with your playing style. There are also some cool power ups that mostly help you eliminate some of the excess orbs on the board, though a couple of them just affect the speed of the groups. Power ups are dished out for every three shots you fire in a row that result in matches.
The only thing you have to worry about it tapping where you want to fire. Amulets are used simply because you have slotted them, and power ups are activated when you shoot them with an orb. Tapping is ultra responsive, so if you’re trying to switch active orbs in your slinger, make sure you actually tap on the slinger instead of close to it. I’ve misfired many a time because of that, which is strictly my fault. Story mode contains 90 levels that will entertain and challenge you, and after you’ve played a certain number of those you’ll unlock Challenges mode, where you can play certain key levels at three different difficulty settings. There’s also a Survival mode where you try to earn up to five stars on several different levels by playing for as long as you can. Throw in a few achievements and there is certainly plenty to do. All they need to figure out now is some sort of cool two player mode.
The graphics are great when you consider that you’re basically dealing with a bunch of orbs and some fancy special effects. I’m not sure what else they could add, though the cut scenes could be a little more interesting visually. The sound effects work really well with the action, and the spell sounds and voiceovers are especially well done. Hands down, though, the best part of the audio / visual experience is the music. I’m positive many of the tracks are remixes or simply borrowed from the original, but whatever the origin this is some of the best music for a casual game I’ve ever heard. If you were in a different room and heard the music blaring you might think someone was watching a movie.
If you like this style of game play there’s no question that you’ll want to get Sparkle 2. If you’ve never played a marble popper type game before, the Sparkle series is probably one of the best places to start. The action is fast and furious, the visuals are quite nice, and the soundtrack is amazing. If this doesn’t get you hooked on the genre, I don’t know what will.
|Title:||Sparkle 2||Developer:||10tons Ltd|
|Reviewed Ver:||Min OS Req:||4.3|