Parents need to know that “Sparklite” is a steampunk action/adventure game available for download on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows-based PCs. Players explore an ever-shifting world while fighting monsters and mechanical creatures.
Players are also encouraged to seek out special blueprints and gadgets, showcasing the hero’s engineering capabilities. While there is a lot of fighting in the game, there’s no blood or graphic violence, with defeated enemies simply disappearing in a puff of smoke.
What’s it about?
In the world of Geodia, Sparklite is a rare and powerful resource. Used responsibly, it allows the people to channel the life force of the planet into a constant, rechargeable source of energy capable of fueling all kinds of technological advances. Unfortunately, in the wrong hands, Sparklite can be a massive force capable of cataclysmic destruction. Geodia’s self-proclaimed “Baron” is definitely the wrong hands, as he seeks to gain ultimate power and rule by stripping the planet of every scrap of Sparklite from its core. The only thing standing between the Baron’s schemes and Geodia’s total collapse is Ada, a talented young mechanic with a knack for engineering Sparklite. To save planet, Ada must rally support from Geodia’s people and travel to each of the Baron’s dig sites to shut them down once and for all.
Is it any good?
“Sparklite” is the perfect example of how to take nostalgic charm and craft it into a wholly new and original adventure. What makes “Sparklite” stand out isn’t the fact that it’s something you’ve never seen before, but rather it takes what you know and pieces it all together in a way that feels somehow fresh but with a familiar sense of déjà vu. Both the game’s style and core mechanics feel like they’ve been pulled from the golden age of the 16-bit era. Most of the action consists of running around planetside, taking on the Baron’s minions in between quests for the various townsfolk.
One of the more interesting, but also stressful, tweaks to the formula involves the game’s procedurally generated world. Basically, every time you visit your flying base of operations, whether voluntarily or after getting defeated in battle, the world beneath you shuffles and shifts around. As a result, every person, item, and quest you might visit is constantly changing location. Still, there’s a real sense of accomplishment as you progress, upgrading your equipment and your base along the way. It’s that sense of growth as both a character and as player that keeps the game from getting stale or repetitive, and keeps your interest in seeing that next quest through to the end.
Rating and content
Recommended for ages 10 and older
Quality: 5 out of 5
Educational value: 0 out of 5
Positive messages: 3 out of 5
Positive role models: 4 out of 5
Ease of play: 3 out of 5
Violence: 3 out of 5
Sex: 0 out of 5
Language: 0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 0 out of 5
Consumerism: 0 out of 5
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
Developer: Merge Games
Release date: November 14, 2019
ESRB rating: E10+ for fantasy violence