The holiday season is well underway in the world of video games. While we’re all trying to juggle our time with the AAA heavyweights like Death Stranding and our annual Call of Duty installments, smaller gems are making their way onto digital marketplaces. One such game hoping to worm its way into our hearts is Sparklite, a rogue-like adventure in which gamers help Ada fight to reclaim Geodia for its people.
Geodia is suffering from the over-mining of sparklite. Because of this, Geodia suffers from Fractures which cause the lands to shift. Each time Ada returns to the ground from the safety of the Refuge, her map will have changed and she’ll need to once more investigate every nook and cranny in search of items to aid her in the fight against the Baron and his minions. There are mineshafts to spelunk, vaults to unlock, and citizens in need of assistance scattered all over this ever-changing world.
Sparklite is divided into five main areas, each with its own special vault to discover and boss site to shut down. In order to discover all of the secrets locked away in Geodia, there will be backtracking, there will be puzzle solving, and there will be lots of dying.
Gadgets and Gizmos
Ada wields her trusty wrench but she will need more than that to complete her quest. That’s where gadgets and widgets come in super handy. Gadgets are unique tools that you acquire by completing vaults. You’ll use each new gadget to solve the puzzles within and then create a schematic once you reach the end. Ada can turn these blueprints into permanent equippables back at the Refuge inside the Workshop.
Widgets, however, are not permanent. Ada will pick these up during her travels and are slotted into L1 as a hold to use item. They have limited uses and as soon as Ada runs out of hearts, they tumble from her pack, lost back into the world. So far I’ve come across timed mines for blowing up larger rock formations, health and energy restoring widgets, and ones that come in handy during boss battles. Sadly, the second gadget I acquired doesn’t feel right. The controls on the remote controlled Power Bomb flip between either unresponsive or too sensitive. For the review’s sake I did collect its blueprint and crafted the item but I refuse to use it.
Are you finding the shifting map an issue? Are you spending too long wandering around and want to bolster your health stores? Worry not. You can purchase and discover patches that grant Ada bonuses for as long as you keep them clipped to her patch board. Unfortunately, I have run into an issue with the patch board. There’s one patch that I purchased from the medical centre and no matter where I try to place it on my board it refuses to work. Patches that reveal things on my map and increase my life meter apply just fine. For now, I wait to see if they update the game so my bronze increase weapon damage badge can be put to use.
The Daily Grind
Since everything on the Refuge requires sparklite, you’ll be heading down to Geodia’s surface a lot to grind for the shiny stuff. There are times when I’ve purposely depleted Ada’s hearts on a run just because I know I have enough sparklite in my pocket to upgrade a facility or found a patch I really want to equip immediately.
Exploring the world is a lot of fun. While the goal of each land is to defeat the Baron’s henchman and move onto the next area, there are other goodies to search out. One of my favourite things to hunt down is the colourful bow of a pirate ship wherein the captain hosts a game of chance. I’m also avidly searching for the little bird-like beats that have chosen to hide throughout Geodia. The more I find and send to Harmony up on the Refuge, the better the performance will be.
But Sparklite isn’t perfect. The game definitely needs a patch as soon as possible, and not just to fix the patch board problem I noted before and the wonky controls for the Power Bomb. When Ada passes out and is craned back up to the Refuge, I’ve encountered a squealing audio error that nearly blew my ear drums out. It happens far too frequently for me to be comfortable playing with headphones which means keeping the decibels low on the TV at all times.
My other complaints are pretty minor ones. For instance, I wish there was a legend for all of the icons on the map that I could pull up for reference. And I would like the option to return to the anchor and get a lift back up so I can upgrade resources instead of forcing Ada to need rescue. Even if I lose the widgets that I have on me, it’s a small price to pay.
All in all, Sparklite is a pretty fun game. It’s vibrant and cute and as a fan of pixel art, I admit that I may be a little biased. However, thanks to its rogue-lite elements, you can play in short spurts or sit down for a few hours at a time which is a real plus in my books.
Sparklite review code provided by publisher. Version 1.01 reviewed on a standard PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy here.