While I’m a fan of the genre, I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say before that I’ve been truly addicted to a marble popper game. With Sparkle that has all changed. I think I might have even gotten over the sadness of losing Stoneloops Of Jurassica. Whether that’s really true or not, Sparkle is one awesome marble popper. The action is fast and furious like it should be, there are some incredible power ups, and the music is some of the most entertaining tunes I’ve run across in a while. If you love the genre or are a fan of casual games in general, look no further for your next fix.
I’ve gone over the basics of marble poppers in the past, but just in case there’s anyone reading this who is not familiar with the concept, it’s basically match 3 with groups of objects heading towards a “danger zone”. Your goal is to shoot individual objects into the group such that you create a section of three or more objects of the same color, eliminating those objects and reducing the size of the groups. All groups on each level must be eliminated to move on. If one group makes it to the “danger zone”, then either the level or the game is over, depending on which mode you’re playing.
The game has the standard quest mode, where you progress through a series of increasingly difficult levels. In this mode you can collect amulets, which will give you certain bonuses when you decide to wear them (use is unlimited, but only one amulet at a time is allowed). The next mode is challenge, where you can play any level you’ve beaten in quest mode, attempting to get the smallest time on each of four difficulty levels. Finally you have survival mode, where you select an amulet and then progress through a series of levels, just trying to last as long as you can on each level. Normally with a game like this I stick to one mode, but in Sparkle they are all equally entertaining.
Controlling the game is dead simple – just tap where you want to fire. The game is very responsive, so if you miss it’s just because you didn’t time your tap or have your aim right. Power ups are used automatically, and there are a number of really fun ones that you can get. Some of my favorites include “revenge of the moon”, which rains particles down on the level and destroys a bunch of objects, and another one that backtracks from the danger zone to about half way through the level, destroying everything in its path. I’m not 100% sure what all the different power ups do, but if you’re diligent about hitting them you can make quick work out of a level without having to fling too many extra objects.
Visually this game is all about flash. That’s not always a stringent requirement of mine, but it sure makes me happy when it’s there. The menus look cool, the backgrounds look good, and even the objects are pretty nifty, even though they are basically just spheres. What really sticks out, however, are the darkness and spell effects. Whether it is initially tracing over the level or oozing out of the danger zone when a group gets too close, the darkness is almost creepy. When a spell takes effect there is usually some sort of particle effects or sparkles or whatever. This is by far one of the best looking marble poppers on the App Store.
The sound effects are surprising well done too. Usually I could give or take the sounds, but in this case they actually manage to enhance the atmosphere. Granted it sounds kind of like you’re playing pool as the objects clank together, but the spells each have a unique audio quality. I especially like the cackle when you acquire the joker orb. And the there is the music. It’s classical… it’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes”… it’s from a Tim Burton soundtrack… in the end all I can say is that it’s pretty amazing. I could easily sit and listen to the music while working on other stuff, but it’s too alluring to pick up the game and start playing again.
If you haven’t gathered by now, I like this game just a little bit. In fact, I’d say it’s my most played game of the week so far, and not just because of the review (which is just a bonus, because this wasn’t on my list to review anyway). If you like marble poppers, shame on you should this be absent from your collection. If you’ve never tried one before, what are you waiting for? Sparkle’s probably one of the best places to start.
Quick Looks link: [All About Quick Looks]