Developer: 10Tons

Publisher: 10Tons

Release Date: 25th December 2017

Price as of Article: $7.99 £7.99 7.99 Euros

Story

Sparkle Unleashed Nintendo Switch Review-Written by Lachlan Bruce for SwitchWatch

An ominous darkness has spread through an enchanted land. The places of power have become silent, with nature itself even coming to a standstill. Your goal is to make your way through this darkness, and bring light back to these lands once more. 10tons aren’t known for their elaborate stories, and you don’t get anything special here with Sparkle Unleashed. A puzzle game such as this doesn’t really need a story, but the fact that it has one means it needs to be critiqued, and this loose narrative is thin at best.

Audio

The music is easily the best thing in this game. It has an epic orchestral score, with angelic choirs echoing along to the beautiful string sections. At least that was my initial thought. As I progressed through the game, I realised that the tracks were repeating frequently, and the repetitive nature of the music started to highlight the repetitive actions of the gameplay. The sounds also become grating, as you will begin to have nightmares where all you hear is the ominous sound of marble clinking far off in the distance.

Visuals and Performance

As far as art direction goes, there is a rather coherent style here. The backgrounds are all varying takes on nature settings, with a distinct path carving its way across the screen in a snake like fashion. The marbles themselves are shiny and spherical, as you’d expect from, well, marbles. The fire is the real star of the show, looking surprisingly stunning in this rather basic puzzle game.

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Unsurprisingly the performance here is top notch. Both in handheld and docked modes, Sparkle Unleashed runs buttery smooth, which is both expected and necessary in a puzzle game that requires the precise movements that this title needs. I encountered no bugs in my time with the game either, so this holds true to the standard 10tons has set with their other Switch ports.

Gameplay

Sparkle Unleashed is a basic match-3 puzzle game at its heart. You match your three colours by launching marbles from a shooter at the bottom of the screen, firing them at the spheres as they try to snake along a path. Your goal is to stop these marbles from reaching their destination.

The controls are simple, with you using the sticks to move the marble shooter left and right, and pressing the A button to fire your marbles. You can also switch between two marbles by pressing B. Or if you want a much easier experience, you can use the touch screen controls. Tap where you want to shoot a marble and the shooter will teleport to where it needs to go automatically, and tapping the bottom of the screen changes marbles. This feels like the way the game is intended to be played, as the button and stick controls are slower and less precise.

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Along the way you can collect power ups, which will allow you to gain fireballs that flat out destroy marbles, or ice that will slow the speed at which the marbles trudge along the path. You can level up these powers as you progress through the story, and these power ups appear once every 3 matches you make within a game. There are 6 different power ups in total, which definitely help out when the game starts challenging you the further into it you go.

value

You get a lot of bang for your buck here. There are over 100 stages, which will keep you going for hours. After the main campaign is finished with, you can take on higher difficulties that can up the challenge rather considerably. The sheer amount of puzzles gives this a fair amount of replayability, and at such a cheap price it seems like a no brainer for fans of match-3 marble puzzle shooters.