Developer: 10Tons Publisher: 10Tons
Release Date: 09.28.17
Sparkle 2 is a marble shooting, match three puzzle game brought to us by 10Tons. As is the company’s modus operandi, they’ve taken what could have been a simple clone of a wildly popular game and made it their own. Any fan of video games, from the most casual grandma clicking away on her windows XP machine to the most hardcore multisystem gamer will recognize the Zuma influence from the screenshots. However, the mere appearance and entrance in to the same subgenre of puzzle game is where the similarities end.
Sparkle 2 is it’s own magnificent beast in many ways, and much of that has to do with what 10Tons has done to improve upon the basic premise of the subgenre itself. Present is the addictive game play, bright colors, beautiful environments, and soothing but wonderfully complex music (although that does get repetitive because there aren’t enough tracks in the playlist), but added on are a bunch of little fine tuned features that enhance the experience over all.
As you play through the story mode, you unlock additional modes every couple of stages (called days, here). In addition, you unlock keys to allow entry past barriers that block your progress, and you earn experience points to upgrade your marble shooter with such enhancements as fast shooting, slowed down levels that make it easier to plan out your next chain, but make the game take longer, and one that adds another orb to your marble shooter. You can swap between the orbs displayed to best utilize which color you need to complete a chain of colored orbs.
On top of all of this, there are also one time use powerup orbs that send out a ring of fire, blast out a ray of frost that destroys anything in its path, moves the orbs backwards, or changes all of the orbs it hits in a section to the same color. The game is fast paced, and the difficulty level increases quickly even on normal mode. There is also an appropriately named “nightmare difficulty” for maximum challenge. Along the way, as mentioned above, you can unlock challenge mode and survival mode. These add even more hours to the game play, making it a great value on top of the 8-10 hour quest mode.
The game boasts both docked and undocked play, but handheld mode is preferred because of the touchscreen controls, especially for the younger crowd. All-in-all, this is one of the best puzzle entries available for the Switch, and Sparkle 2 will not disappoint the puzzle crowd. The challenge and role playing elements bring setting to the table for everyone else.