Imagine Spore’s cell stage, then take out all of the interesting customization, charm, polish, and anything else that makes it enjoyable. The result would be something resembling Sparkle 3 Genesis.
Before we begin, I should mention that I’ve never played nor heard of the first two games in this series. I’m honestly impressed that a game of this quality could even have 2 other entries in its series already. A cursory glance seems to suggest that the other two entries are just as bad if not worse than this one.
Here’s the problem: Sparkle 3 is a game about swimming around as a tiny creature and eating food particles to develop. The premise is fine but things fall apart once you see how spectacularly the execution was botched. The two primary actions you perform in this game are moving and eating. Performing either one is painful.
Firstly, your character moves at a snail’s pace and takes several seconds just to turn around. This minor nitpick becomes a huge problem when you find out that the levels in Sparkle 3 are fairly large, with long spans of time spent simply swimming from one place to another. The simple act of moving in this game is miserable.
Second, there are the eating mechanics. Scattered around each level are pellets of food. When you eat the food, your creature levels up, grows bigger and more complex, and gains more power. That’s all well and good, but for some reason eating has a cooldown. If you find two pellets, you have to eat one, wait a second or two, and then eat the second one. This problem is further compounded by the fact that food often comes in clumps of 10 or so pieces. So you spend 10+ seconds just maneuvering your little creature around trying to slowly eat a bunch of static pellets. It’s not interesting or challenging, it’s just busywork.
How about the game’s progression? Well the experience and leveling system might seem interesting at first glance. Your character gains a different ability based on which of three categories he puts the most points into. Unfortunately, it stops being interesting at the concept stage. The three different abilities are: A dash forwards, a shield, and a vacuum that sucks up food. Those abilities don’t seem to ever grow beyond those basic concepts and are overall incredibly dull and uninteresting. As for developing your creature, you get model changes over time which are kind of neat, but the only other development is a numeric increase in your stats which feels entirely arbitrary.
So the game’s core mechanics are absolutely horrendous in their execution. What about everything else? Well the graphics are garish and difficult to understand, and it’s overly difficult identify where the hitboxes of most entities are. Sound effects are either entirely non-existent or anemic as all get out, and the music is dull, generic and forgettable. The quest design and “story” is also terribly boring and poorly executed.
Overall, I’d rate Sparkle 3 a solid 2/10. While you might be able to point out one or two things that you could draw value from, on the whole the game is worthless. I got it on sale for around $3 and I still feel like I wasted my money and my time.
Note: For this review, I played for about 90 minutes. Completing 3 of the 12 or so levels.