Another marble shooter with a few addictive twists.
Marble shooters are a dime a dozen, but the better ones always stick with you. Case in point: Zuma. Sparkle 2 is an example of a similar outing that could coast along on the success of the games that came before it, but it’s actually a slick and entertaining alternative that will very easily usurp hours of your time if you’re not careful.
It’s easy to very quickly discount or discredit Sparkle 2 for its derivative core gameplay, but its simple mechanics belie meta-game elements that draw you in further. The basics are simple: a string of marbles move along a predetermined path to an end. New marbles are constantly rolling in, which you’ll need to stack between similar colors: red with red, green with green.
As the balls roll along in a snake-like pattern, making combos will wipe the others out. The object, of course, is to clear the playfield of each colored marble as fast as you can. The faster you complete each level, the better you’ll score at the end. It’s very light fare, and while there’s an addictive quality to it, it can still become repetitive. But that’s where Sparkle 2 shines: it simply offers other things to focus on.
Special “enchantments” can be unlocked along the way that will layer the game in various ways, such as speeding up the descent of the orbs or slowing them down, removing access to power-ups, and a wealth of other things. Bountiful numbers of enchantments are up for grabs, so even when hopping from stage to stage becomes banal, you’ve still got these game-altering augments to look forward to uncovering. Some are more useful than others, obviously, but the fun lies in unlocking them all.
There are 90 levels to burn through, which you might very well do at an expedient pace. Story, Survival, and Challenge modes await you, offering quite a bit of diversion for the $2.99 price tag. It may seem steeper than usual, but Sparkle 2 is actually a very well-designed game with vibrant color palettes and environments, thoughtful levels, and even a story to go along with the marbles you so elegantly chain together. It’s a forgettable story, but one nevertheless.
Sparkle 2 is a quickie, but a polished quickie. There’s plenty to do and see if you’ve got the time to invest – especially if you’re a fan of the genre. And even if you’re not, it’s cheap enough to try out. Give it a whirl and see if you don’t get into the marble game.