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Sparkle Unleashed Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . Sparkle Unleashed is proof positive that you really can have too much of a good thing. The gameplay isn't deep enough to be able to sustain such a long and drawn-out adventure. And with levels and puzzles that are hard to tell apart, this PlayStation 4 game is also repetitive. It's fun in short doses, but not a great fit on the modern consoles. Rating: 50%
Sparkle Unleashed
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  • Review Score:

  • C
It's in our nature to always want more of a good thing. We can't wait to super-size our meals, buy the biggest car and, no matter what you tell your girlfriend, take part in that threesome you fantasize about. Gamers are no different. It seems like everybody wants as much content as possible, no matter the quality. If Sparkle Unleashed proves anything, it's that you really can have too much of a good thing.

Already a hit on PC, mobile phones and the PS Vita, Sparkle Unleashed brings the 10tons puzzler to modern consoles. It's a simple game that marries elements from both Bust-A-Move (Puzzle Bobble) and Zuma. This sees players matching colors by shooting marbles at a row of orbs snaking their way around the level. The object is to clear every last orb before they reach the exit at the bottom of the screen.

If you've played a game about matching colors, then you know what to expect here. The orbs will move around the screen and you'll try to match at least three colors. You can also chain together combos by continuing to make matches without a single miss. It's an admittedly simple concept that is a perfect fit on smart phones. However, I'm not sure enough has been done to this console port to make it a compelling purchase.

To the developer's credit, they did introduce a new system that allows players to choose from a series of power-ups. These items will appear on the play field and can turn your luck around in a hurry. Some power-ups will allow you to destroy dozens of orbs at once, while others will change the color. One of the more useful power-ups will push the orbs backwards, and yet another will send fireflies in to eat through the maze.

These items can be a real life-saver, but they don't add enough to the formula. Neither do the locked orbs, which need to be paired twice in order to be cleared from the board. It all hints at what should be a deeper, less repetitive experience.

Offering more than a hundred stages is one thing, but Sparkle Unleashed doesn't bother making them unique. The game repeats the same bland tracks and backgrounds, which isn't much fun. That's not to say the level design is bad, I like the way the paths go through tunnels to make it challenging. However, the designs largely remain the same and begin to blend together after a while.

Sparkle Unleashed (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The game's shallowness wouldn't be as overpowering if there were fewer levels. The campaign moves at a snail's pace and lacks a compelling story. The developers hope that you enjoy the match mechanics enough to play through hours of pointless filler. Sadly, I did not. The puzzles are frustrating and losing often boils down to bad luck. And this is yet another puzzle game with a linear map that doesn't let you skip ahead when stuck.

It should probably come as no surprise that Sparkle Unleashed is better on as a handheld game. The PlayStation 4 release is cross-buy with the PS Vita, a better fit for this style game. But even then, there are better options for matching colors on Sony's handheld.

Sparkle Unleashed is a perfectly fine, middle-of-the-road action/puzzle game with a simple gimmick. It's the kind of casual time-waster that is best experienced in short doses, making it an odd fit on the PlayStation 4. But I suspect even hardcore fans of this type of game will grow bored by what feels like an endless campaign and repetitive level designs. Sure it sparkles, but then it quickly fades.
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