Indie Corner: Sparkle 2 (Switch)
Sparkle 2, the sequel to Sparkle Unleashed, is a marble-shooting matching title developed by 10tons that has been released on countless platforms, with the Nintendo Switch version being the most recent. While a small, easy to learn video game that plays like a smartphone app doesn’t feel quite right on consoles, it does has its place on portable ones, like the Switch.
The gameplay of Sparkle 2 is straightforward. Colored marbles roll in strings on a set path towards a hole. If a marble reaches the hole, it’s game over. That’s why you take control of a turret that shoots the same kind of marbles in the direction you desire. If your shot marble connects to a string that consists out of three or more marbles of the same color, then that string disappears. While shooting marbles, there are runes forming a circle around your turret. When these runes are fully formed, then there will be no more new strings of marbles coming your way. The level ends when you have destroyed every marble on the path.
To give the player something to work towards outside of simply completing every level, 10tons has included a short story. The tale starts in a forest and talks about five keys that have to be collected in order to unlock a secret something. These keys can be found in several landmarks that are scattered around the map. There are 18 levels between every landmark, which totals to 90 levels that you have to complete in the game to reach the end. The story is nothing special, but it does help in keeping your attention since you’re always close to getting the next key. There’s also a nice narrating voice that guides you through the game, which gives off a sense of comfort.
To differentiate the gameplay somewhat, 10tons has included some modifiers called ‘enhancements’. Enchantments can make the harder levels a little easier by changing some mechanics, such as launching orbs faster or removing a color from the path(s). There are four levels of enchantments, and as each level is unlocked, another enchantment can be equipped with a maximum of four being equipped simultaneously, one from each block of enchantments. These modifiers are a nice addition to the game and give the player an extra goal to work towards. The only slight issue I have with it is that it’s a little confusing to change them through the pause menu.
There are also power-ups that occasionally spawn in the levels that you can use if you can hit it with a marble. These power-ups upgrade your next marble into something powerful that can give you an advantage at the right time. You can roll back the strings, giving you more time to destroy them or paint a string into one color. They’re basically enhancements that can only be used once. You don’t have to use these power-ups, but they are pretty helpful for casual players or those who’ve never played a game like this before.
Like I said earlier, Sparkle 2 basically plays like a smartphone app so what’s it doing on the Nintendo Switch? Well, truth be told, a game like this fits perfectly on a hybrid console that you can take with you. I’ve often picked up my Switch and played some Sparkle 2 while waiting for my computer to install something or when I was expecting company and decided to kill the time by playing the game until they arrived. It’s also worth to mention that I’ve experienced no bugs or glitches during my entire playthrough. Sure, it’s a small game so you don’t expect any major issues to come up, but it’s still something that should be mentioned.
Sparkle 2 for the Nintendo Switch is a simple, but addicting game that’s great for killing some time at home or when you’re traveling by train or bus, due to the hybrid design of the Switch. It’s nothing exceptional and can nowadays be played on every platform, but it’s still a fun experience nonetheless. If you haven’t played this game before, the Switch version might be one of the best to try out.