[ Introduction ]
Where to begin with Sparklite… I saw the announcement trailer earlier this year; with the visuals and the gameplay video showing us a LoZ: Link to the Past inspired top down RPG, how could I say no? Months pass and not much else is said about it. Then boom, it was a few weeks until release and we got ourselves a review copy, the gods must be smiling down on me. Lo and behold, it’s that good I repurchased it on Switch.
The story of Sparklite is a simple one. Set in the everchanging and charming land of Geodia, you must defeat the five Titans of the mining industry. After Ada’s plan falls apart, you wake up on a ballon-platform that is home to refugees. To overcome the Titans, Ada must harness the power of Sparklite.
[ Gameplay ]
Sparklite is a rouge-like. However, the devs made a very wise choice with how Sparklite plays. They have stripped it back to the days of old and made the controls and all the other elements accessible and straightforward. For me, this was a good idea as my six-year-old son was watching me play it, I left the room and came back to him destroying enemies and exploring without help. Making this game that accessible increases the appeal of the game on the whole.
Even the upgrade system is simple, they’re called widgets in game and you can buy them from the platforms and equip them to increase the aspect of Ada the player likes. The widgets are placed on a grid with differing sizes, so it plays a bit like a puzzle game. It is also possible to upgrade widgets by placing the same one on top of the other. The grid can be increased to fit more in. The shops that widgets are purchased from are also upgradeable.
All these upgrades need one element and that is Sparklite. Sparklite is dropped from enemies, as well as found within the environments; destroying boulders, boxes and cutting grass and plants will yield this precious commodity. Collect the correct amount and voila upgrade. Upgrading is imperative to beat the Titans in epic boss fights, I don’t want to give out any spoilers but I can say that they are equal parts fun and frustrating at the same time. As with all rogue-like, Geodia shifts each time Ada is defeated and is recovering.
I’ve had a great time playing Sparklite, the game is pure, simple fun.
[ Visual and Perfomance ]
Sparklite takes on the 16-bit art style and WOW! the game is visually stunning. The different areas are all highly detailed, each has its own theme and characteristics throughout. Each tile can be placed in a different part of the map and work perfectly making a seamless level. The developers have done an outstanding job of creating a world that will appeal to the older generation and the younger ones alike. Enemy designs are great but the real highlight are of course the Titans, they’re just incredible. I felt bad killing them they look so good.
There is a slight issue I have with the visuals, is it is very repetitive, as in you need to grind to get Sparklite so you will see the same tiles over and over. It is not a big problem, just the nature of the game.
[ Sound ]
The sound design has had the same love and attention as the graphics in my humble opinion. The music is reminiscent of the music you would expect in a fantasy game like Zelda. Playful one minute then suddenly changing when you’re on the edge of danger. Along with some great sound effects from Ada smashing her hammer down to dropping bombs and explosions destroying things around her.
Just like the graphics and the nature of the game the soundtrack is played on a loop, I personally don’t mind it, but I know a few folks who found it annoying.
[ Conclusion ]
Overall Sparklite is the rogue-like we didn’t want but needed. I loved my time with Sparklite and all the different ways to use the widgets. I love discovering each of the Titans to see if the devs can top the last one. With simple and effective controls in a beautifully crafted world.
The game-like other procedurally-generated games suffers from repetition, and the grinding can be a major pain to some. I didn’t mind it, but I know some gamers do.
Would I recommend Sparklite? YES. This is a must buy.