Nowadays, it seems that one in two indie games is a Rogue-lite with the other one being a Metroidvania. Sparklite falls into the first category and I just love it. I love everything about it, from the excellent rogue-lite nature to the beautiful art style and animations, everything is right up my alley.
In rogue-lites, the story usually just serves the purpose of explaining the grind or the loop of live, die, repeat and it’s kinda the same in Sparklite. You play as Ada, a young woman who crash lands on Geodia after her ship gets blown up. Geodia is under the rule of the Baron and his titans and your job is well, help free Geodia.
After each run, either successful or not, you return to the hub world which in this case is an ever-expanding floating camp. In each run you collect the game currency which is also the title of the game, sparklite. And you can use said currency for everything, to upgrade the camp, unlock new areas, unlock new and improve your equipment. If you have played any other rogue-lite, you know what to expect.
The more runs, the more sparklite and the more patches you get to unlock along with new equipment or gadgets. Patches are passive buffs like more health or more damage and you can choose what to equip. You can use sparklite to upgrade these patches, mix two to make a better one or just straight up buy new ones in the hub. You will want to invest some time in this mechanic as it will make your life easier especially during the boss encounters.
Your main weapon is a multi-tool wrench which you can swing to deal damage. Other than that from the get-go, you have a hammer which is like your heavy attack, but can also be used for some slight puzzles during the runs.
Gadgets expand your arsenal and allow you to sorta access new parts of the levels. For example, you get a crossbow which, of course, can be used as a weapon to hit from afar, but you can also use it to activate far-away switches which in turn can create a new path or reward you with a chest. Then you also have in-run consumables like bombs or temporary buffs which might prove crucial when dealing with tougher enemies, especially the bosses.
Exploring the levels is highly advised as you might find helpful consumables, more sparklite and new gadgets which will make your life easier later in each run. You will feel this especially during the boss encounters. Rogue-lites are known for their difficulty level scaling, which means that if you fight an enemy you are not supposed to do so at that moment, you will perish. And great rogue-lites, Children of Morta comes to mind, do a great job at transmitting you the feeling of “hey, you are now ready for the boss” while fighting their minions.
Sparklite, unfortunately, doesn’t do a great job in this matter. In a run, for example, you might kill everything in a couple of hits to just die in a matter of seconds against the boss. It feels cheesy and well, artificial.
However, this won’t really affect your enjoyment all that much cause well, you’ll want to keep playing this game. The loop is great and the game is just gorgeous to look at. As soon as the game started I was transported back at the time when I started to play Zelda on a GBA emulator on PC (yeah, couldn’t really afford a GBA). The art style is heavily inspired by games at that time and I loved every little detail.
Sparklite is a fantastic rogue-lite. It has a satisfying loop, beautiful art style, and some great music and while the difficulty spikes might be a little out there, it’s nothing a balancing patch can’t fix. Get this game! Thanks for reading!
Sparklite is available on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch. A PS4 review code was provided for this review.