These last few months, the publisher Merge Games has brought us several great games: after Solo: Islands of the Heart, Stranded Sails (both reviewed by my good friend Alexis) and Valfaris, here comes another great adventure! Developed by the American studio Red Blue Games, Sparklite is a top-down action game that puts you in the land of Geodia, a land with an ever-changing landscape that is in the brink of destruction.
Sparklite is a challenging game that will please players of all ages! Playing as the intrepid mechanic Ada and her little robot friend, you will venture through the different biomes of this land facing monsters as she tries to stop the Baron from acquiring the Sparklite core of the planet, what shall bring doom to the planet! Join forces with inhabitants of Geodia to stop Baron’s powerful mining machines, build powerful gadgets to help you in this cause and bring an end to his plans before the world collapses!
What do you do? Starting from The Refuge, a floating city that doesn’t suffer from the reallocation from the land, in this colorful adventure you will explore the surface of Geodia while searching for the Titans, Baron’s powerful mining machines with which he wants to reach the plane core. Prepare to face animals turned into monsters and collect Sparklite to build and upgrade gadgets and the Refuge. Use your powerful wrench, your re-engineered gadgets and the power of Sparklite to save the world!
What we liked!
- Graceful visuals: With a retro-inspired looking that resembles the magic of old-school games (some elements will quickly remind you of games like the Legend of Zelda series, Oceanhorn and the not-so-famous Goof Troop, just to name a few), the visual experience of Sparklite is simply wonderful. Colorful and very child-friendly graphics, this is an adventure you will love to experience with your kids. The different biomes of Geodia (Vinelands, Goldenwoods, Acid Bogs, Shifting Sands and Titan Ridge) all have a great personality, with a different color pattern, vegetation and enemies. Our character and common enemies’ animations are really cute, while the titans, the bosses you will face at each area, are really threatening and will have you wondering how to defeat them. Red Blue Games really built something magical here!
- Great sound: Drinking from the same fountain of its visuals, the sound of the game is of impressive quality and have that same old-school feeling magic we all love so much (ok, some of us do). Each different area of Geodia has charming music that gives the perfect vibe for its biome. The sound effects of Ada and her enemies are simply adorable, making the audio aspects of this adventure even more special.
- The Refuge: Above the clouds is The Refuge, a city where the inhabitants of Geodia find shelter from the ever-changing land. There you will find the medbay, to recover when knocked down in combat and to apply patches to your patch board (more about it later), Harmony and her ‘beats orchestra’, an orchestra composed by little birds you will when find while exploring the surface, the workshop, where you can build your gadgets after getting their blueprints in shrines, the ship/library, where you can see how many of each enemy you defeated, the widget shop, that gives you an item every time you visit it, and a ship to take you down to the surface. These buildings will become available as you progress in the story – from the beginning, only the medbay will be available. The widget store can be upgraded, giving you access to more items, while the workshop must be upgraded, allowing you to build more gadgets and continue further in your adventure.
- Customizing your gameplay: At the medbay, Ada can equip patches to her patchboard that can help her survive out in the wilds while exploring Geodia. You have at your disposal a 3×3 grid where you can equip patches to increase your life, your energy bar, the damage you cause to enemies and others. Some patches take more than one slot to equip, so you will need to balance your status according to how you prefer to face the challenges of the game. Patches have three different levels, from bronze to gold, that can be merged (two bronze patches make a silver one, for instance) for a superior patch, more powerful. Your patchboard can be upgraded up to a 5×5 grid in its last level, which will give you enough space to make Ada ready to challenge everything!
- The widgets: While exploring Geodia and at the widget shop, you can find some single-use items from which you can pull out a great variety of effects. The array of effects includes health recovering, timed mines, energy recovering, defense boost, speed boost and many others. Don’t worry about saving them for later because, if you fall while on the surface, you will be taken back to the medbay and all your widgets will be lost. So, use them and don’t get yourself knocked down, ok?
- Gadgets? What for? The gadgets you build in the workshop have very limited uses. Aside from opening doors and lighting dark places, to advance in the story, you can use them to eliminate foes. But truth be told: they are practically useless and unnecessary in combat. Ada can take care of all enemies only with her wrench and hammer – and when necessary, using a widget or two. So, you can keep your gadgets in your purse and use them only when really necessary.
- Co-op adventure? Sign me in: Yes, for the joy of those who have a friend to play in couch co-op, Sparklite can be played with a second player. The problem resides in while one player controls Ada, the other will be controlling her robot, with restricted utility – only the ones already available while playing alone: digging, lighting and vacuuming things. Allowing a second player to join the adventure was a great idea, but the developers could have added more importance to this second player. Giving it an attack function was the minimum to be expected for a true co-op experience.
- Duration: Unfortunately, Sparklite isn’t a very long game. You can finish it in about four or six hours (less if you don’t die a lot as I did). And it hurts my heart when I see such a great game ending that fast ☹
What we disliked
Bugs: As we have already discussed, no game is safe from bugs nowadays. The problem with Sparklite bugs is that they have been game-breaking to me. My game froze a couple times in the load screen while moving from one area to another. Another one locked my character into an animation when I tried to change the gadget Ada was using before the animation was complete. Some small issues that must receive a patch soon.
With its great art, both in audio and video departments, there’s no doubt, Sparklite is a magical adventure that will enchant players of all ages. Charming, colorful and with a great soundtrack, it presents many great ideas to a genre that holds some of the best games I’ve ever experienced. But some of these ideas seemed shallow and have not been explored to their full potential, leaving a desire for more. The same desire the game left me after reaching its end. Red Blue Games have something very special here with Sparklite and I hope to see more adventures in this world in the near futur
With a history of gaming that goes from his old man’s Atari 2600 to his Xbox One, Rafael or RAF687, our Brazilian editor, has a love for games as old as he can remember. He has already spent countless hours in many consoles (Mega Drive/Genesis, Sega Saturn, PS1, PS2 and Xbox 360) and is always ready for more (as long as his wife is asleep). Raf has been writing for LifeisXbox since 2017, with a passion for games of almost all genres – though we know he has a special place in his heart for RPGs, racing games and anything that includes pixel art. Writing about games has always been a childhood dream to Raf, dream that he has fulfilled reviewing games for you here. You can drop him a message at Twitter, Facebook or Xbox Live at any time.