This is a review for The Sparkle 2: Evo, if you would like to check out the video version you can find it here.
In The Sparkle 2: Evo (S2E) you control a sparkle and your goal is to consume microelements in order to evolve. The game provides the player with the opportunity to pick three evolutionary paths: 1) The Red path which evolves the sparkle into a carnivore that is fast; 2) the Green path which evolves the sparkle into an herbivore that is calm and slow; and 3) the Blue path which evolves the sparkle into an omnivore whose features lie in between Green and Red. Beyond that there is not much more to the story of S2E.
The games graphics are gorgeous and oddly mesmerizing. The colors are soothing and the design really makes you feel like you are in a pool of primordial ooze trying to get a sparkle to evolve and just flowing through the goop to find the resources necessary to evolve to the next level. The obstacles are simplistic in design, yet compliment the game perfectly. The sparkle and other creatures and microelements seem to just fit right for the games design and premise.
S2E’s soundtrack fits what the developers created as an experience. It’s mysterious and magical composition is reminiscent of the some of the sounds I think about or think I would hear if I were watching a documentary on the beginning of the universe with Sir David Attenborough narrating the show. The sound effects are wispy and remind me of gusts of winds that just suddenly breeze through. They are fast and occur when you eat microelements or other creatures in the abyss.
S2E’s gameplay has two options, either controller mode or touch screen. There are not that many controls to worry about, just: movement, dive, rise and special power. When controlling your sparkle, it is preferable to use the touch screen. The controller mode is handy for when you want to dock the system, but the controls just feel clunky. This is kind of understandable though, because the game was originally designed for mobile phones where the controls were all touch screen. You move around the abyss and follow “pings” to find microelements of the color you wish to evolve with. Throughout the levels you meet other inhabitants of the Abyss, and if you are not evolved enough and bump into them, the game pushes you up to a higher level than you were on. When you do evolve to a certain level, you can begin to consume the other creatures and they will give you microelements depending on what type of creature and color they are.
There is a “competitive” mode, which allows you to play against an AI. And your goal is to just consume as much resources as you can before the AI does. This means you aren’t being particular to a specific color (except it does help you later on when you can consume the other inhabitants of the Abyss. It is not something that gets the blood pumping or gets your palms sweating, but it does add a little urgency to the levels so you aren’t just floating aimlessly throughout each level.
S2E is an experience that has been designed “To fill your free time and make it FUN!”. Players need to understand this about the game, and I believe that the game is an “experience”. There are no big bad guys to deal with, or final bosses, or any secret plot to take over the world. S2E is just there to fill your time and be a time killer. Unfortunately, I just feel there’s a big disconnect with bringing this game to the Switch and it is just a potential money grab. The game is designed for touch screen, and if it came down to it, I would rather pay the $2.99 on Itunes to get it on my iphone, than the $4.99 to get it on my switch, which to be honest I would never play in touch screen mode. Because just to get into the game you need your controllers so the console recognizes it, and when I’m on the go my controllers will be docked to the system, and I will just use those, more so I don’t lose the controllers than wanting to use the control scheme.
Because of this unique situation this game is really hard for me to score. I really engage with the uniqueness of the game, its art and music and the experience it is trying to represent and with that I give the gameplay a 9 out of 10 and the experience a 9 out of 10. So if this were a game review for a mobile phone game I would give it a 9 out of 10. However, this is a review for a game for the Nintendo Switch, and because the game just misses the mark and really mars the experience of the game on the console I have to give it a 4 out of 10. The game doesn’t belong on this console, nor any console honestly. This game should be purely dedicated to mobile phones and I do recommend that if you want to try out this game, to go the Android store or Itunes and pick it up, it lives up to what it says it wants to deliver.