Sparc

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Sparc Game Poster Image
Virtual dodgeball is full of electrifying fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

No positive, negative messages.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No protagonist in this game; you play yourself from a first-person perspective, but you can customize how your avatar looks to other players.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn.

Violence

Other than getting hit with a virtual ball and hitting someone else with it, there's no violence, no blood or gore.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sparc is a futuristic sports game -- not unlike dodgeball -- that's played while wearing a virtual reality headset. The game can be played against the game's AI (artificial intelligence) or against a person via multiplayer mode. There's no inappropriate content in this game. Parents also should be aware that VR equipment makers don't recommend VR experiences for kids under 12 because of the impact the technology may have on younger players' physiological development.

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What's it about?

In SPARC, your job is to compete in a futuristic virtual sport ("vSport") that's very similar to dodgeball. After you don the headset and grab ahold of the controllers, you'll toss a virtual ball toward an opponent in the hopes you'll make contact, and they'll do the same. Inside of narrow arenas, you'll throw, dodge, block, and deflect -- all in virtual reality -- and use your entire body to get in the fun. You can play different kinds of Brawl matches against the game's AI in single-player challenges and training modes, or take the action online with various multiplayer modes against real people. There's also an option to watch others play in Spectator mode.

Is it any good?

This dodgeball-like game is a great example of a one-on-one sports game in VR. The futuristic concept of Sparc is well conceived and executed, as you aim to hit your opponent, use the surfaces to bounce the virtual ball, deflect using the shield, and rack up as many points as you can before the timer runs out (depending on the mode). As your skills grow, you can unlock more avatar options and take on different modes. It's a great social game, too, with the many different multiplayer modes.

The developers really nailed the game's immersion. It has great-looking menus, and you can move around, grab the virtual ball with ease, and smartly aim against the opponent. There's a great sense of depth and ball physics. But Sparc isn't a slam dunk. No music while playing the game makes it feel a little lifeless. You can't use the PlayStation's DualShock controllers, so you'll need to buy two Move controllers if you want to play. There isn't a lot of variety in the arenas you play in, either, and there's no global leaderboard for high scores. But overall, Sparc is good, clean fun. It's easy to pick up and hard to put down.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about competition. Do you think that the level of competition in virtual reality sports is higher or lower than in regular video games? Why do you think this is?

  • Discuss screen limits. Because VR can be incredibly immersive, how do you set effective screen limits so that you don't stay completely plugged into the virtual world for hours?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love sports

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