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Sparkle HD Review (iPad)

Game Review: Sparkle HD
Release: April 5, 2010
Developer: 10tons Ltd
MSRP: $2.99 (sale price)
Version: 1.10
Size: 22.2 MB
Website: 10tons Official Site

Asking me to play a marble-popping puzzle game makes me about as excited as hearing about the newest-and-soon-to-be-record-breaking “Realistic Military First-Person Shooter”.  I played a couple on my iPhone, and even on the original DS back in the day, but never felt obligated to see them to the end.  Lost of interest, annoying spikes in difficulty, banal and repetitive levels, I could go on.  Now I’ll go ahead and stick my foot in my mouth.   Sparkle HD (lame name), while undoubtedly a marble-popping puzzle game through-and-through, manages to somehow satiate an appetite for flinging colored balls at similarly colored balls I didn’t even know I had.

Presented as a sort of fantasy epic (which, yes, is pretty amusing considering the game’s genre) you’re overarching task is to search through Crowberry Woods, finding powerful amulets and banishing the darkness from six ancient pieces of architecture (Windmills, Obelisks, etc).  Now what the hell all that means is that basically each trek to each building is around fifteen levels, so you’re looking at around ninety to one hundred maps total (which is a pretty meaty package, considering the other modes offered here, too).

The levels get more and more complex as you progress, adding more marble colors and twists to their tracks.

The actual gameplay has a few twists thrown in, with over a dozen power ups at your disposal (from flaming arrows that destroy marbles to fireflies that organize them to more easily get chain reactions) and amulets that you chose beforehand to help you out in game.  There are fifteen of these you can unlock after certain levels, and while some are completely pointless in my opinion (being able to see another marble slot to “plan ahead better”? No thank you) most provide substantial assistance.  Like one that has all the power ups thrown at you, or having only the purple flame power up (essentially a get out of jail free card that eradicates all orbs in a huge radius) appear throughout the entire level, and my favorite – having your marbles shoot out faster and in turn receiving a higher chance of hitting your intended target.

Features

– Enjoy several hours of top quality action puzzling
– Travel through Crowberry Woods and discover over 10 powerful Amulets!
– Use over a dozen power ups
– Wide selection of different hand crafted levels
– 3 game modes: Quest, Challenges, and Survival.

While there’s very little to not like here, there is one minor, small, minuscule (and every possible synonym for tiny you can think of) knock against the game I could bring up.  When using the power ups, while perfectly serviceable and fun, it comes clear after so many levels that some essentially serve the same purpose as others.  The freezing ice that evaporates the marbles serves the same purpose as the purple flames I mentioned earlier.  And when you call upon the wrath of the moon, and get a shower of sparks that kills a big playing field of marbles, well it’s the same outcome you get from the spinning fire sparks that erupt from your marble slinger when you receive the wheel of fire power up.  There’s more comparisons like this, with the same powers and just a couple of surface changes so they differ ever so slightly.  By no means is this a deal breaker, however.

If used correctly, you can line up the frost beam to connect with multiple lines of marbles on certain levels.

Mitchel’s Final Say:

I’m just going to cut to the chase here – buy this one.  It’s on sale right this moment for Thanksgiving until Monday, the 29th.  And while it’s not that much off (two bucks) I would still heartily endorse this for its normal $4.99 price tag.  Besides the 100 levels of mind-numbingly satisfying marble-popping mayhem, I barely got to mention the unendingly fun side modes of Survival and Challenge, or the amazing in-game sound, like the marbles clinking together or the frost rays arching across the level.  There’s just a lot to like here, and it’s obvious a lot of time and effort went into making the game.  Fans of the genre will eat this up, and non-fans (read: me) will begin to wonder why they were never fans in the first place.

Buy this one

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  • Brian Heitzenrater (FrehleyzComet)

    Wish I had an ipad. Hopefully come tax time… 🙂