Grab your hammer and grab your wrench it is time to fix the fractured world of Geodia! When things go south for Ada and Wingnut the only option is to abandon ship and hope for the best. The world below them has been thrown into chaos as the inhabitants are now monsters lurking around every corner. Or should I say on the next screen. Sparklite plays like The Legend of Zelda and yes I am talking about the original. You scroll from side to side and top to bottom. Each new screen adding a new area to investigate so to speak. The world of Geodia is full of hidden treasures and monsters. The little Indie title is also full of surprises such as the inventory and patches. Really? Yes really but first let’s talk about the central hub, a floating ship.
It is safe in the sky
Up high in the sky is where you will find your central hub to craft, upgrade and converse with those that seek refuge. You start off in the Medbay where you can equip patches, upgrade patches or upgrade your multitool. Inside you will also be able to purchase patches in order to equip to the multitool. The Medbay can be upgraded as well just like anything else aboard the hub. When you leave the Medbay you will notice there isn’t really anything to do at first. That is because you will need to find the people below in Geodia that will ultimately become your vendors of sort. There are several to discover and each serve a purpose so be on the lookout.
Down below in Geodia you will find monsters, chests, or other items you can bash away with your wrench. That is when you will discover the currency you will be using to do all these upgrades and it’s called sparklite. It is slow going at first and seems like a grind to gather any good amount of sparklite. After a while though you learn there are more denominations of sparklite and more of it. I admit I was frustrated in the beginning with how slow paced the game was and it felt as if I was never going to progress forward. With each trip down though you began to realize it’s all a part of opening up new areas. The odd thing about the game though is how I could never find out how to leave from down below. The only way to make it back up was to essentially die. Now you don’t really die, you just wake back up in the Medbay but I thought the game was broken for some time. Perhaps I missed something and you can but I never figured it out. It’s not an issue as I died plenty of times regardless.
Early on you find out that you must defeat a Titan in each area. These Titans were sent there by the Baron and that’s about all I can say without spoiling things. Of course the Titans are the bosses of each area and all you have to do is locate their dungeon in order to fight them. This was a little bit of a letdown. The Titans while in appearance look great and daunting, they don’t really pose much of a threat. Some of the mines you find in the game are more difficult. Granted the first Titan will give you some fits if you haven’t upgraded much but once you figure out their attack pattern they are fairly easy to defeat. Heck some of the monsters in the world of Geodia gave me more problems.
Inventory and Patches oh my!
I know what you are thinking. How could this possibly be a surprise? Well one reason is that it is actually a big part of the game and fun to discover. The inventory consists of Gadgets, your wingnut and supply bag. All of this will be discovered down in Geodia or found in mines. Most of this is needed in order to access more areas of Geodia. I won’t spoil all of them but the first one you get will be the Spark Slinger. This can be used to defeat monsters but can also be used to activate these triangular shrines. Once activated they will open up new areas or in some cases show hidden chests. The neat part about finding Gadgets is that you find the blueprint to make it first. In order to make the gadget you must take it back up to your central ship to the inventors shop and craft it with Sparklite.
Wingnut is your subtle sidekick who has his own little gifts. Wingnut can help you find treasures, hidden items and even progress you to the next area. I thoroughly enjoyed the little dude as my trusty sidekick and using it any chance I got. One of its cool uses is to vacuum up the jelly like substance from the ground and once it’s full it will spit out a ball. You can then knock it open and gather the good amount of sparklite from inside.
Your supply bag will be where you keep all the neat goodies you find. These will come in handy for when you want to destroy a rock or say gain some quickness. You can even find some that will replenish health or illuminate you while you’re in a dark cave. Of course all of these can be equipped to a single button but you will have to go into the menu in order to change them out. You lose them when you go back up as well.
Patches are another nice part of the game and configuring them in the multitool can be a game within a game. It’s not really complicated, I just found it to be delightful. Each patch starts out as a bronze patch and can be upgraded by merging two together. This will then make it a silver patch and so forth. The more you merge the better the patch. You can find patches in Geodia as well and some of them will already be silver or higher. To me this is where the game shined the most. I enjoyed tinkering with the patches and the gadgets to see how many I could get to the highest level. It’s not just for enjoyment though as the patches are very important to your character. The only way to gain overall health is through patches and the only way to gain strength as well. However, you can also discover patches that will display certain areas of the map or even show you the locations of the Titans. Needless to say I upgraded the Medbay all the way so I could use as many patches as possible early on. A piece of advice, be on the lookout for Pogo and Margo. Help them find each other. You won’t regret it.
The world and the pesky combat
Geodia is actually constructed quite well with its new areas to discover. The crazy part is with each trip down from the hub the land changes. That is correct. There is no memorizing where things are at because it won’t be in the same location next time. This helps with an otherwise small map made up of different areas for example the vineyards and the acid land. There are variations of monsters and things that will harm you with some said to be vulnerable to certain attacks. You will find out that meaning while playing the game. What I enjoyed about Geodia is that it looks pretty great and for the most part everything works well. There were times a monster would get stuck on something and it would make them easy pickings but it didn’t happen often. The annoying part was the combat. I felt is if sometimes the hit marker was off or didn’t register. Same can be said when I was getting attacked. There were times where I asked how did that even hit me? Perhaps it was some odd angles some of the monsters use but it did appear slightly off.
I didn’t notice this with the Titans but they are very large and the attack radius is quite different. Some of the monsters are super easy to defeat while others will pose a much bigger threat. There was even an issue with one monster in particular that trapped me in this attack loop. I had to spam the dash button in order to move away but even then sometimes it didn’t matter. I couldn’t tell if this was intended but it definitely made for an annoying monster to fight. The variety of monsters is okay and change from area to area. Make sure to just whack the crap out of everything.
You will be able to use other weapons besides your trusty wrench and hammer. I say trusty because in the end the most powerful weapon that I could tell was indeed the wrench. It’s quick and easier to use. This was a tad disappointing but it didn’t have a big impact with the overall enjoyment of the game. I didn’t find many issues with the game outside of perhaps some audio bugs, which by the way was great. The biggest issue with Sparklite would have to be the last boss fight. It was awesome to see yet very lackluster as far as combat. I thought there would be this fantastic challenge at the end but the baron wasn’t difficult to defeat. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected it seeing how the Titans were fairly easy but this was a little too easy. I liked the ending to the game and it wrapped it up nicely but I couldn’t get over how this god like baron was so easily defeated.
Sparklite is a fun Indie title by Red Blue Games that I found enjoyable from start to finish. I loved discovering new areas along with new characters in the game. The core part of the game does present a decent challenge with monsters and obstacles. Finding all the necessary items to progress had me searching like a hound dog hot on a trail. It’s cute, it’s well thought out and it’s very much what I expect from a good Indie title. The gameplay is addicting even when it feels like a grind at times. There are plenty of awesome things to discover, most I didn’t even talk about because it’s fun finding them for the first time. You can’t help but want more sparklite so you can help Ada grow in skill and also upgrade other areas of the floating hub. The game does fall short with the Titans and the Baron. It’s painful to say when the design of them work so well for this game. In the end Sparklite is a fun romp through Geodia with well-crafted areas and a cool upgrading system. Indie fans should find delight in this game.
Rating 8 out 10 (Buy)
A review copy was provided for the PS4.