Price: FREE ($5.99 to unlock full game)
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Thanks to their relative simplicity, marble shooting games are invariably pretty fun. Anyone who's nurtured a Zuma addiction can confidently attest to that. Sparkle Unleashed is similarly fun and also offers a great example of how 'try before you can buy' can work well for both the consumer and the developer.
The full version of Sparkle Unleashed offers 108 levels, along with a survival mode and extra difficulty settings. The free version, played here, offers 23 levels as a great taster of what's to come. It actually proves reasonably substantial too, giving one a clear guide as to what to expect.
Starting out, Sparkle Unleashed is pretty easy to play. Colored orbs come gradually along the screen, working their way towards a hole - thereby ending the game. Players must match up orbs by flinging them skywards. It's a familiar concept and well executed here. Rather than having to drag one's finger around the screen, it's simply a matter of tapping in the right spot and the paddle immediately goes there. At all times, players have two different orbs to switch between with a hot spot located at the bottom of the screen for switching out. Sometimes it's possible to accidentally switch orbs when trying to clear something low down on the screen, but it's mostly a quite effective system.
Sparkle Unleashed is fairly easy going at first, but later in the trial version, things heat up. Soon enough there are multiple strings of orbs coming along at once and things get much trickier. By that point though, most players will know what to expect and be able to handle it. A series of power-ups help to an extent with a form of leveling-up system unlocking new ones at regular points. It's a smart enough system to maintain one's interest.
Throw in a suitably thrilling soundtrack and Sparkle Unleashed is a fine example of the genre. It's good enough that it'll tempt many into buying the full game, and understandably so.