It seems like the puzzle game genre has been experiencing a confident renaissance as of late, with Nintendo’s new console being the front runner. Sparkle 2, a magnificently polished marble shooter developed by 10tons, is now available on the Nintendo Switch and is another solid entry that understands and takes full advantage of the Nintendo console’s hybrid capabilities.
The basic premise boils down to: long ago five magic-imbued keys were created, and now are disseminated across mystical worlds that remain undiscovered. Your duty is to find those keys and unlock secrets, which can be accomplished through clearing rows of orbs by consistently matching three or more orbs of the same color utilizing the marble shooter. This underlying story does somewhat add real depth but it is the gameplay that makes Sparkle 2 truly shine. Clearing all the orbs will result in a completion of a certain level. However, if any of the lines of orbs reach the exit, it’s game over. Stream after stream of orbs will constantly appear, resulting in fast and fluid gameplay that will test your reflexes. Sometimes getting rid of orbs will reward you with various runes, which can be quite helpful in future conquests. Furthermore, there is a whole stock of weaponry available to unlock and choose from that add flavor to the game: for example some weapons alter the colors of the marbles they hit, resulting in more streamlined methods to clear a level.
The levels are quite rudimentary at the beginning but ramp up in difficulty in an ultimately satisfying way. Levels always feel fresh whilst presenting their own unique challenges. There are 91 of them in total, taking slightly less than 10 hours to complete. Stats and achievements also provide more incentive to clear this game more often. Furthermore there are special modes to unlock as you progress through the game. Survival mode for example has you gaining stars as rewards by trying to survive as long as you can in never-ending levels. Challenge mode has you complete the same level three times, each time being more difficult than the last. And Cataclysm mode is an entirely different beast of its own, made up of longer, more intricate levels. This varied replayability will definitely grant you more bang for your bunk.
Sparkle 2 also is visually spectacular on the Nintendo Switch, with its vibrant colors and well-designed, intuitive menus and user interface translating well to the console’s screen. The cut-scenes are also of surprisingly high production quality. Coupled with some skilled voice-overs, they are important in fleshing out the overall plot and spiritual world of Sparkle 2. The music on the other hand is serviceable, but admittedly pales in comparison to other puzzle soundtracks on the Nintendo console. Since only a handful of melodies are used every few levels, the ambient background music can become quite repetitive and can sometimes seem like stock film orchestral music.
Despite that minor nitpick I found Sparkle 2 to be a worthy addition to my almost burgeoning library of Nintendo Switch puzzlers. The overall premise is simple and the gameplay is fast-paced and addictive, making Sparkle 2 an amazing title to pick up and play wherever you go. Packed with content and a gorgeous aesthetic to boot, Sparkle 2 is truly dazzling in what it sets out to achieve.
Check Out the Sparkle 2 Trailer:
Sparkle 2 is available for the Nintendo Switch, PC on Steam, Xbox One, PS4 and PS Vita.