Sparkle review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: 10tons Ltd.
Developer: 10tons Ltd.
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

Basically, Sparkle is Zuma.

That may sound overly simplistic, but there’s really no other way of describing Sparkle. It’s not kind of like Zuma, or incredibly indebted to Zuma. Sparkle is, in pretty much every possible way, so similar to Zuma that its developers are probably lucky PopCap aren’t feeling particular litigious at the moment.

sparkle 1

In 10tons’ defense, I should point out that there are a couple of extremely minor differences. Most notably, where Zuma has a vaguely Mexican theme, Sparkle is significantly less specific, and goes for a more general “mystical” theme. Also, in Sparkle you shoot marbles at power-ups, rather than coins — but, it should be noted, those power-ups have the exact same abilities as the special shots in Zuma. Lastly, Sparkle substitutes touchscreen controls (or thumbsticks, if you’re feeling masochistic) in place of mouse-clicking, sacrificing only a minimum of precision in the process.

Beyond those few things, though, the games are basically identical. If you’ve somehow avoided playing Zuma at any point in the last ten years as a free web game, that means this: in both games, you’re responsible for shooting marbles that are slowly (and occasionally not-so-slowly) working their way down a track towards a hole. When you match three or more marbles of the same colour, they vanish from the track. The level ends when either all the marbles are gone or they’ve reached the hole. It’s pretty simple, but also highly addictive.

sparkle 2

That last sentence goes a long way towards explaining why, in spite of everything, Sparkle might actually be a worthy investment for PS Vita owners. Even if it adds nothing whatsoever to the Zuma experience, in the absence of an actual Zuma game (or a Flash player that can handle certain websites), Sparkle is the only way to play the game on Sony’s handheld. It’s obviously not a system-seller or anything, but if you’re in the mood for a fun little time-waster, then Sparkle will definitely scratch that particular itch.

Grade: B-