Developed By: RedBlue Games
Published By: Merge Games
Category: Roguelite Action-Adventure
Release Date: 11.14.2019
Sparklite is a roguelite, action-adventure title that has you swinging your wrench in the name of taking down a mining coalition hellbent on hurting the world to the point of no return. As you adventure through Geodia, you will harvest Sparklite in order to upgrade your wrench and invent additional weapons and devices to aid you in your quest. Helping “The Refuge” get back to its glory days as well means you will have some powerful allies in your fight against the Baron. Can he be stopped before it is too late?
As the wrench-wielding mechanic, Ada, you will fight through Geodia’s five regions in order to stop the Baron’s mining operations. The Baron is harvesting Sparklite and thinks that digging to the core of the planet to get the vast amounts of Sparklite there is the best way to world domination, but with this planet-harming comes some adverse side effects. The planet is rearranging itself into different shapes to try to slow the damage and the creatures that inhabit the planet have become hostile. It is up to you to take down the titans of the mining industry in order to end the Baron’s cause. Using The Refuge, a floating island in the sky that is safe from the mining and fighting down below, as a home and base of operations, along with its inhabitants who are willing to aid you in your cause, you must save the world. A unique story that offers an interesting setting and way to explain the things happening. I love Geodia and the lore they have built around it.
The world itself is procedurally-generated and changes with each run. As a roguelite, you will be making several runs through Geodia, with the currency, Sparklite, as the only thing you bring with you between each run. Each of the five biomes has their own basic set of structures that you will find recurring, with additional buildings that only happen once in a while, but all in all will become second nature to you as you make repeated runs.
One of the major things you will be looking for on the map are locations that allow you to go through a set of trials to unlock a blueprint at the end. Each biome has a couple of blueprints for you, and these allow you to build a new weapon or item that will make progression easier. Getting these often and early will be essential, but you will also have to keep track of the boss dungeons and random encounters out there to maximize efficiency on the runs.
The currency is used to purchase upgrades to your wrench, as well as at The Refuge to build up the supporting building around the island. You can unlock different workshops and people who will aid you with things like items and blueprints that allow you to progress further on your runs. Sparklite can be found from defeated enemies, big pink tree bulbs that can be knocked down, special rocks, and chests. There is no lack of ways to collect the currency to ensure each run in worthwhile and can get you something new. I appreciated this as some games can get to be such a slog when trying to progress, and this one feels like it values your time.
Upgrading your wrench is the major way to increase productivity between runs. You have a set of open slots that you can slide chips into to make your wrench stronger, show certain locations of the map, or to increase your health. These chips can also be upgraded in the later game in order to allow you to have a better wrench overall without having to find all new chips on your own. Progression in this way is a bit slower than I would have liked, and I found using the majority of your Sparklite early on getting your base opened up to the fullest extent aided me faster than the minute additions to health or damage. Even though getting the wrench pumped up is necessary, this is one of those titles that lets you progress if you are good enough without the need for upgrades.
Combat is something you will have to get used to, as you will have plenty of creatures and enemies standing in your way as you progress. Using your wrench, you can swing away to your hearts content at baddies. You also will have gadgets you learn to make that help with this as well, such as the energy crossbow or boom balloon. In general, fighting is something that you will have to do often but won’t be a major component of this title. Boss battles that allow you to progress to the next area and through the story are the only real place you will have to put your skills to the test, as everyone else you face from square to square are simply fodder standing in your way.
The boss battles can be grueling and really take some preparation before even attempting. Not only would I recommend having your wrench upgraded a good amount but waiting for a run that offers you specific one-use items that can aid you in that fight is crucial. For example, in the first boss fight you have a Chain Chomp-esque enemy that you must avoid while beating on the titan throwing it at you. Even though you have a dash, the timing can be tough and can still get you hit, so unless you are prepared to tank some damage you are in trouble. However, there is an item you can find or get from the widget shop that makes you faster for a short time. This makes the fight much simpler and gives a much higher chance for a victory. Getting yourself in these situations will be your best bet and waiting for those proper conditions can be monotonous at times, unfortunately.
The pixel art in this title is superb and you have some really good animation to match up with it. Each biome is lovingly crafted and detailed. The only thing I found was that your character in comparison to the world is a bit small. Just the most minor of issues, as it doesn’t really affect anything, you just feel so lost in this sea of detail, at times. Also, the soundtrack, though whimsical and pleasant, can get a bit samey.
Sparklite is a really pleasant experience and one that I can highly recommend across the board for indie game lovers to try. Although there are some shortcomings here and there, I think as a total package this is a really nice roguelite experience that doesn’t take advantage of your time and offers some fun and intuitive gameplay. If you are someone who is always on the lookout for the next great indie title — I found it for you.
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*The Switch Effect was provided a code for this game*