You Are What You Eat
Sparkle 2 Evo is a game based around one of the most fundamental means of survival in this world of ours: eating. You eat and you grow. Once you’ve grown (I should say evolve) you eat some more and on and on it goes. Reminiscent of titles like Snake or Fishy it’s a game play style most will be familiar with, but does it match the addictive masterpieces I just mentioned?
Sparkle 2 Evo does make strides to separate it from titles that it seems to have been inspired by. First of all you start the game with no discernible features and must choose what type of food to eat. As you play you may choose from a delicious selection of red, blue or green food. Throughout the course of the game you’ll choose what type of food to chow down on and it’ll change the evolution path your creature takes, which will lead to all kinds of shapes and sizes being taken by your creature. Growing bigger also means you can eat bigger creatures.
The mixture of food you digest determines the stats of your creature, eating speed, acceleration and a few others. It also changes the special ability the creature will be able to use, my personal favourite being the green praying mantis which did wield a special skill a little bit more powerful than its counterparts. Another unique feature of the title is the space of which you can travel. From a bird’s eye view you move around, but can also dive deeper into the background or return to the foreground to search for more edibles.
The neon environments aren’t technically impressive, but certainly are nice to look at especially when combined with the relaxing ambient soundtrack. This feature did begin to frustrate me towards the end as it adds a lot of extra space to explore as tracking down food sometimes becomes a bit of a hassle, even with flashing markers guiding the way as sometimes they didn’t seem to do a great job.
Survival of the Fittest
This then brings us on to the meat of the game. There are two modes to choose from, Recreational and Competitive. There isn’t a massive difference between the two, the stages are the same, but competitive mode will throw an AI controlled opponent into the mix that you’ll have to race against to devour the majority of snacks and creatures that have found themselves on the menu.
Race is a very strong word; it’s not so much a race, but more of a stroll in the park. Your counterpart in this neon world doesn’t put up much of a fight and most of the time you’ll have eaten the majority of hors d’oeuvres before he gets a chance to fill his stomach. Recreational on the other hand will simply have you collecting your desired colour of food filling you up the exact way you want to evolve until you’re big enough to eat the big fish on the last level.
The distinction between these two modes is where the game really breaks down for me. In every way the game seems designed to be something to sit down and relax to and recreational mode can pass some time for 10-15 minutes, but competitive mode seems totally out of place and it’s a bit like adding a versus mode to Animal Crossing. Not every game has to have an option to win or lose and with the poor balancing of the game it seems like this mode was more or less an afterthought to sell make it appeal to a few more people.
At $4.49 Sparkle 2 Evo is a title that you don’t expect a vast array of modes to pick from. It offers a visual design that is appealing, a soundtrack that fits well with the ambient approach the game takes and the backbone of the game play does have some good ideas; however, the overall execution is lacking. Competitive mode being too easy and recreational mode not having a big enough hook to keep me occupied for that long it falls flat compared to other games that revolve around an animal eating, like the juggernaut that is Snake.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Disclaimer: A review code for Sparkle 2 Evo was provided by Forever Entertainment for this Sparkle 2 Evo review.