By Quentin H. / March 29th, 2019
Publisher(s): Merge Games (ID@Xbox title)
Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date: September 2019
Sparklite is one of those games that you can tell the developers grew up while playing and loving the 1991/92 SNES classic, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Everything from the pixel art style to the action fighting RPG style and music is clearly used as a base inspiration for Sparklite to then blossom out into its own in a procedurally-generated, rogue-like title.
The gameplay is deceptively simple: you play as Ada, an engineer whose airship goes down and crashes into a strange land. Ada then works to save the world from monsters who want to mine the precious Sparklite (see where the game’s title comes from?) to fuel war machines. However, Ada can also collect Sparklite herself as she fights enemies and kills them off. When Ada dies, which will happen, she is then whisked away to a flying city in the clouds. At that flying city, she can then use the Sparklite that she has collected in order to build new weapons, make herself stronger, give herself more health, and so on, before she returns back to the planet below to continue her quest. The thing with that, though, is that the game will randomly regenerate the entire terrain. So even though Ada is back and more powerful than ever before, she will not know where she is…only that she still has to complete her quest and of course, collect more Sparklite. Oh, and she has a gun that she can shoot enemies with when she isn’t melee attacking them.
While I fought enemies and subsequently a multi-legged boss in Sparklite, I found that the combat was ‘fair’ and clearly strategic. You can hit/shoot enemies, and if you memorize their attack patterns, then you can do it mostly unscathed. This ID@Xbox title also clearly leans heavily into the challenge that this type of gameplay presents. I died frequently, but the combat in Sparklite made me feel like I could win if I paid just a little bit more attention to what was going on and I remember what happened last time before I died. Death, in other words, never felt unfair and cheap but instead constituted a good learning experience and made eager to dive right back in. This is one of those cases where procedurally generated terrain really serves as an exploratory boon in making the world fun to go back into over and over again, despite Ada’s repeated deaths.
Sparklite is coming out in September 2019, and I am excited to see all that Ada can do when she has near-unlimited Sparklite at her disposal. Furthermore, Sparklite is clearly a labor of nostalgic love for the development team Red Blue Games, and one that I cannot wait to see come to full fruition.
Are you excited for Sparklite? Would you prefer to spend Sparklite on developing new weapons or on character boosts between deaths?
Let us know in the comments below!
GDCGDC 2019ID@ID@XboxMerge GamesPCPlayStation 4Red Blue gamesRoguerogue-likeRoguelikeSparkliteSwitchXboxZelda