Sparkle 2 is a blend of a match-3 marble shooter with some RPG elements mixed in. The premise of the game is to find five enchanted keys that are scattered across the game world, and discover the secret that the keys unlock. The story isn’t spectacular, but you don’t need to have played the original game to get your bearings in this one.
The real meat of the game comes from the gameplay itself. The goal of each level is to clear out all of the orbs that shuffle in from offscreen, and progress to the next level. It’s not that interesting of a concept on paper, but the gameplay speaks for itself. You’ll use a combination of quick reflexes, along with some unique power-ups to clear out the orbs quickly and efficiently.
After each level, you’ll see what appears to be an experience bar being filled up. Once this bar is filled, you’ll gain an enchantment. Enchantments can be equipped before each level, giving you a special power for as long as you have it equipped. For example, there are enchantments to increase the speed of launching orbs, to make the game easier, or to help you pull in power ups. You can only equip one enchantment at a time at first, but as you progress you gain the ability to equip more; there are 16 enchantments in all.
Thankfully there are no in-app purchases here, not even for the two extra game modes (survival and challenge). It’s refreshing to see that there are still games in the App Store that don’t have micro transactions baked into the experience.
Aside from the enchantments that you unlock as you play, there are an immense number of power-ups at your disposal. These give the ability to make orbs disappear, turn them the same color for larger combos, or even to make the orbs go backwards on the track. There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to escape defeat by collecting the right power-up at the right time, and just making all of the orbs on the board disappear.
Sparkle 2 may offer up a lot of ideas we’ve seen before, but I’m amazed by the depth they’ve built into the game, despite its simplicity. The difficulty ramps up pretty significantly after the first few levels, but there’s always a feeling of accomplishment when you’re finally able to move on. With 90 levels, three game modes, 16 enchantments, and many power-ups at your disposal, this is a game that has a whole lot to offer any gamer, regardless of skill level.