Subtle, captivating, addictive. These three words describe the world of Sparkle - world in which you make a tiny aquatic creature evolve into becoming a grown, magnificent being. We give you control over your Sparkle's development and wellbeing, and you have one goal - to evolve. Whilst exploring the Sparkle Void, you find various nutritious elements to eat. Sometimes you will even have to fight for food with other species. You become what you eat - you get to choose whether your sparkle becomes a fast and aggressive carnivore, a sluggish but fast-eating herbivore, or an omnivore, whose features lie somewhere in between. Insight to your Sparkle's DNA strand will give you information about the progress and will help you plan which microelements you want to focus on eating next. You will also get to fight giant bosses from time to time. But there’s no rush to keep the game in full swing at all times.
The visuals are very nice, and I loved Flow, so I was pretty interested in this game. Unfortunately the controls are pretty poor. Very unresponsive. It acts as if it's still taking your last input a full second after you let go or change direction. There's actually a lot about the controls that make it feel frustrating, not only because of strange lack of action where it should have some, but because of awkward collision with the environment. Flow was a lot more polished in the area of controls, which I have to say is a very major area.
The evolution seems decent, and the audio is pretty good. I would have a hard time suggesting someone buys this whether you have Flow or not. But yeah, there's a demo. Check it out for yourself. If a patch comes out that polishes the controls (which I think wouldn't be a very difficult patch to get together), I could see this being a pretty good game (8/10), clone or not.
most people have been sharing the same feelings i have with control clunkyness and long loading screens and such. but i think what got to me the most was the sheer brightness of the loading screens that pure bright white light made me think i died and was about to get into heaven or something. brightness adjuster is needed at a bare minimum.
I loved flOw and this is like a sequel to that game for me. The added element of multi-path evolution makes it something special. It's a simple concept that varies in complexity depending on how you want to play it and I think that is excellent design.
My only complaint is a lack of free-play mode, but that doesn't stop this from being very interesting.
Having played the demo, here is my impression:
Controls indeed are very slow and indirect, using the keyboard is not possible. You need to use the mouse. However, you can still see that it was designed for touch-control.
The atmosphere and music are great, if you can get in the slow-paced relaxed mood. Graphics are rather simplistic, but brightly colored, adding to the relaxed atmosphere.
If you can get into a relaxed mood, maybe you will accept anything. Otherwise; Oh man, seriously, how long can it take to load a freaking menu selection screen? Its a joke in this game. Too long. Way too long. (probably something left over from the touch-devices again - just no care)
Gameplay is a relaxed slow. The multiple layers are interesting and add another, good aspect to the gameplay. (you can move up and down the layers (thus in the third dimension) while in one layer it is top-down 2D)
On the first real level, the blobs were a bit sparse for me. Indicators of where to find more blobs show regularly, depending on some things (probably that you are on the same layer, and somewhat close). Still, once I ate some and had no indicators, I moved away from the "energy tree", just to find nothing and move back once I had indicators again.
A very relaxing, visually but especially audio appealing which severely lacks in polishment and adequately porting to another platform (the PC).