Developer 10 Tons are starting to make a name for themselves in the PS4 space by bringing over celebrated mobile titles. After releasing the surprisingly refreshing and addictive King Oddball, they’re back with the equally addictive Sparkle 2.
I had never played, nor had I heard of, the original Sparkle, so I didn’t know what to expect when I started the sequel up. I was actually a little bit let down initially when I realized that it was yet another in the ever increasing long line of match three style games. My fears though, were quickly extinguished once I started playing. Sparkle 2 is a solid game that has taken what is overly familiar and turned it into something fresh, tense, and undeniably fun.
The first thing that will likely catch your attention is that a rather compelling narrative opens up to you upon starting the game. Story in video games is nothing new, but in a simple match three style game like this, it’s rather unexpected. You aren’t given much exposition, but enough to have grabbed my interest. The story plays out with the grizzled voice of a story teller against the backdrop of some beautiful and haunting backgrounds. You’re never too sure about what’s going on, but what you do know is that you are on a journey traveling to different places on your overhead map, collecting keys along the way. I was encouraged to continue playing stage after stage in an effort to see where the narrative was going. Unfortunately, the payoff doesn’t really live up to the expectations. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there really isn’t anything to spoil. Suffice to say, I was let down by the end. Games like this, however, are not built for story so the fact that we get anything is a bit of a treat and luckily, gameplay is where Sparkle 2 shines.
Every level gives you an increasing stream of glowing colorful orbs, which are traveling along a predetermined path on their way to a hole at the end . The player’s job is to launch orbs into the stream in an effort to link three identical colors together to eliminate them. The orbs keep coming until you destroy enough, eventually clearing the whole board before they reach the hole. As you progress through the game the orbs will come in greater numbers, move quicker, and even come at you two or three streams at a time.
It sounds simple enough, but Sparkle 2 gets really interesting with the unlockables and perks that it offers you. The farther you progress, the more perks you can unlock and many of them really are game changers. The power ups and the like really make the game fun and interesting to watch. Once you start chaining orbs together one after another and seeing power ups flying all around, you will immediately appreciate the fact that you can play this on the PS4’s big screen instead of the small, cramped screens of our phones or even tablets. Sparkle 2 is a beautiful game that feels right at home on Sony’s powerful system.
Besides unlocking things like the typical challenge mode, there really isn’t much more to say about this game. It employs a well-worn and classic formula in a way that makes you constantly tell yourself “one more round.” It’s not Bioshock Infinite, but as far as match three style games go, Sparkle 2 is about as perfect and polished as it gets. If you have even a passing interest in games like this, do not let this one slip off of your radar.
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