Aim and Fire!
There is one thing the Switch certainly isn’t lacking in and that is eShop titles. The system is perfect for quick pick up and play titles for when you are on the go and Sparkle Unleashed is a title that takes advantage of that. Developed by 10tons, Sparkle Unleashed is a puzzle game that has the player firing off orbs to match the same colour as the ones going along the track to break them and stop them reaching the end, because if they do it’s game over.
The core mechanics of Sparkle Unleashed are remarkably simple to pick up and learn. You find yourself on a stage with a set track that a group or orbs will follow, from here you take aim to try match the orb you have with a matching colour that moves along the track. If you match them they’ll break and you keep going until you either clear them all or they clear you out by reaching the end. It starts of pretty simple and slow paced, but after some time you’ll start to feet the heat as the game decides to add in another set of orbs on another track, chain orbs that have to cracked twice, and rock orbs that can only be broken by breaking adjacent coloured orbs. As all these new mechanics are introduced it does help to mix things up a bit as the game can get a bit repetitive.
Of course it isn’t just ways to make the game harder that are introduced, but the title also features an assortment of power ups that help balance out the difficulty. These little bits of help will pop up on the map and you then must shoot them to gain their benefits, but if there are too many orbs on the field you might find it impossible to hit that much needed bit of relief. You start the game with just the one, but as you progress on your journey you’ll acquire keys that can be used to unlock new types and power up the ones you already have. My personal favourite is one that has a flurry of butterflies launch out from the exit and devastate any orbs that get in their way.
There are not a great deal of titles on the Switch that makes use of it’s touchscreen, and Sparkle Unleashed is one that does decide to opt for touch support most likely due to the fact that the title is also available for your phone. All in the controls work great and if you prefer to use the touchscreen it does the job well. I prefer using a standard control scheme.
I did mention that Sparkle Unleashed is perfect for pick up and play sessions, but it certainly doesn’t hold it’s weight for extended periods of play. The game does get quite repetitive and quite fast. This isn’t helped by the fact that the starting difficulty is pretty damn easy. The challenge does start to ramp up, but you do have to get through quite a number of levels before it does or you get the option to change the difficulty.
The game also offers a survival mode which is very enjoyable. It does exactly what it says on the tin. You find yourself trying to hold back wave after wave of orb until you find you simply can’t keep up anymore. You get ranked on how well you’ve done and trying to get that 5 star rating does offer a fair bit of fun. How many stars you have will also unlock more survival levels so settling for 2/5 stars simply will not cut it.
Sparkle Unleashed has a certain whimsical feel to it and it certainly is an aesthetically pleasing title. It’s nothing special, but it does a good job of setting a certain mood especially when you combine the visuals with the lovely soundtrack that is quite the treat and really conveys a certain sense of wonder.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Sparkle Unleashed was provided by 10tons.