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Sparkle for Nokia N8 review

So, today we were asked if we could review Sparkle, which is a new release available for all Symbian^3 phones, such as the Nokia N8. We were, as always, obliged to review it and let you guys know exactly what we thought of the game – no gimmicks, no bias, just a totally frank look at Sparkle – check out the review below the break.


Overview

If you don’t know what Sparkle is, it’s a marble-shooter that sets itself apart from, quite literally, all of the competition out there. Sparkle for the Nokia N8 is created by 10tons Ltd, who also have a PC and iPhone version of the, though now it’s Symbian^3s turn to join in the fun.

The idea of the game is simple: You have 3 different coloured marbles (which we like to call them) to choose from, the one at the front of the shooter queue is your active marble (the one you will use) – the idea is to match 3 or more marbles of the same colour to eliminate them from the playing field. The marbles roll around a fixed track, destined to reach the end and drop in to the hole of doom (at this point the game is over).

One of the many things that sets the game apart from the other game of a similar nature, such as Luxor, is the story it tells – yep, that’s right, there’s a story to this game. You start in Crowberry Woods, with the darkness descending and the only thing that can stop is you and what can be found in the woods – your epic journey starts at the giant mushrooms – use your orb flinging abilities to subdue the darkness.

Features

Sparkle features three gameplay modes to choose from, each one differently testing your marble shooting abilities, with great effect. You are presented with a map, which represents the various places you must visit and abolish, collecting runes and amulets along your travels.

You start with just one available game mode, that being challenge mode. As you progress through the levels, you will acquire runes and the required amulets to unlock the other game modes – adding a new dimension to the game each time you achieve an unlock.

Quest mode – this is the main game mode that you start off with, you have to progress your way though the levels and remove the darkness from existence as explained above. You will be taken to new areas of the map at the end of each level, which in itself represents a new level.

Challenge mode – this mode comes with four different difficulties, with your goal to beat each level in the fastest possible time. Be the fastest, then you’ll be the best (unless of course your once nimble fingers aren’t up to scratch).

Survival mode – the name of this game type probably already speaks for itself. You have to to survive for as long as you can, until the marbles eventually take over your screen and send you back in to the darkness, or if you prefer to say – game over.

Power-ups

Games are always more fun when you add power-ups in to the mix, giving you a helping hand along the way to achieve the best possible outcomes. Sparkle is no different, you are given many different power-ups to help you achieve victory over the darkness.

Here is just a few of the power-ups that are available in the game;

Purple flame – this power-up offers the player the ability to destroy a relatively large selection of marbles from the playing field, which used correctly can be a very powerful tool.

Fire spinner – as the name suggests, this power up projects fire from the shooter and spins whilst doing so, which is where the name fire spinner is derived from. This is a powerful power-up that gives you a great way to clear those annoying marbles that you can’t seem to get rid of.

and more… such as Wrath of Moon – there’s lots of different power-ups, more than we’d like to list here, but be rest assured they’re visually impressive and help you to clear the marbles before they reach the end of the track.

The only one ‘bad’ (we say bad, but it’s not really a massive deal) thing we have to say about the game is its lack of scoring system, which a lot of people would probably love and, more than likely, will be added to the game via content updates in the future – even if it isn’t, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this game is the best game available on the Ovi Store, at least according to us Geeks.

Intuitive

When we say this game is intuitive, we really mean it. From the point of the main menu onwards, this is very obvious. On the main menu, you are presented with an elegant and visually amazing background made up of mushrooms and, what appears to be, butterflies. Okay, “so what” you ask? Well, this is where the magic begins. The butterflies are interactive, giving you the ability to move them with your finger whilst they float about the screen in a beautiful fashion – so before you even begin the game you’re interacting with it.

This is pretty neat, but there’s more. When you first play the game, you are given a small little intro to the game and how to play it before the level begins. Here on this intro, you are even able to play a shortened version of the game to play whilst you read the rather small description of the game (and that’s all you need as the game is very simple to understand).

Summary

Sparkle for the Nokia N8 and other platforms, simply put, is the most amazing game we have found to date on the Ovi Store – or even App Store for that matter. Intuition along with amazing graphics and sound that rivals the quality of any top music track makes this game absolutely mind blowing – in fact, this game has kept us hooked up to the point where none of us want to make dinner, we’d much prefer to play Sparkle.

The game is easy to learn but tough to master, making it a great game for children and adults alike – nimble fingers or no nimble fingers, this game will keep you hooked and has a great pickup-and-play feel to it, or in our case, sit there and play all day feel.

If you’re a fan of marble-shooter games such as Luxor, your money is much better spent on Sparkle – better graphics, better gameplay, better sound, better interaction with the game and, just all around better, to the point where you have to try it for yourself before you can believe what we’re telling you.

Note: Hands-on video review, overview and gameplay coming tomorrow.

Price: €3.00 / £3.00
Download: Sparkle for the Nokia N8 and other Symbian^3 devices