Sparklite is a Zelda-Inspired Action-Adventure from developers Red Blue Games and published by Merge Games. Sparklite is available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC, this review is based on the Nintendo Switch version.
For me going back to my childhood has its ups and downs, I loved The Legend of Zelda and I still do, I even have the latest Zelda Game The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening. But I do wonder can a studio create a game that is inspired by Zelda, and make it just as good, with a great story, addictive but fun gameplay and most of all, memorable. So when I saw this being advertised as a Zelda-inspired Action-Adventure I was inspired to check it out.
The game starts off with Ada the games hero along with her robot companion travelling on a ship, that is subsequently attacked by slims, which have a damaging effect the ships hull. Ada managed to escape in the ships escape leaving behind her trusted robot companion, the pod ends up crashing in Geodia. The first thing I started doing, just like I would be in any Zelda game, ploughing down grass and seeing if there is anything to be found. I also played with the controls to see what was available. The control system for the Nintendo Switch was great, no lag, and the functions were mapped out perfect to the buttons and controls.
After a rather short traverse, you come across your families neckless that you must have lost during the crash. The neckless allows you to open a doorway to a new area. Now I do not want to spoil much more so I am going to move it along a bit.
So in the end, you meet up with a friend, and a titan called ‘Boris The Tunnelling Titan’. A battle is ahead, but he is too powerful for you and you end us getting one hit. You are rescued by a mysterious chain with a claw on the end but have no idea where you are when you awake on a bed with strangers all around. After a short conversation, you find out that you are at a place called The Refuge (the player’s hub)
As you would expect any hero to do Ada pops to the local pub, watches sports and then pays to be pampered by some strapping lads, this is turning into The Witcher or was I just dreaming it, and that never happened? you will have to find out.
The world map is set into 5 interconnected areas, each has there own distinct theme. All areas are procedurally generated with tiled landscapes, much like the original Zelda series. When you die, or should I say if you die, I did loads because I suck at these types of games, the tiles get mixed up and the bosses position moves. This does not mean, that you will see new tiles all the time, as there were many occasions that I came to a tile and instantly recalled it before. I would have thought being procedurally generated, you would always see new tiles or a high number of new tiles at least.
Each area will consist of around 20 tiles to battle and explore, including a shine, that has taken its inspiration from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. You will have a map that will change and update as you progress through each area. Do not worry about dying, as you will just be picked up by the mysterious claw and end up back at The Refuge in bed, ready to start all over again.
The boss dungeons are lacking in any extra form of adventure, no puzzles, no enemies, no exploration, just a boss. I would have thought dungeons would be a whole new underground area to explore and battle, solve a few puzzles and in the end find the boss or find key parts to bring them together so you can open the door to the boss, such a missed opportunity there. The bosses d4o give you a good bashing around, but you will soon learn their pattern of attacks and if you were to face them again, you should find it a breeze, so there is no real replayability.
Combat is fun and intuitive and very much like a Zelda game, apart from not having a shield and sword instead you use a rather hefty wrench to slam against enemies. Over time you will unlock a number of new weapons, like the crossbow and bombs etc, and upgrades from chests scattered around tiles.
The only thing I have a problem with is exploration, even though the game offers procedurally generated tiles, you will most likely be seeing the tiles over and over if you die a lot. The dungeons are, quite simply, rubbish, just having a boss and nothing else, just makes them feel, unloved. Saying all that, the game is fun to play, one time around, would you play it again after, I very much doubt it. I recommend the developers take a step back from Sparklite, which has won many awards and think, how can they improve the replayability of this game for the fans. My thoughts are simple dungeons with an adventure, and a shed load more tiles and one final thing make boss not so predictable, change up there patterns.
- Developer: Red Blue Games
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh operating systems
- Publishers: Maple Whispering Co., Ltd., Merge Games
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