A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The game's primary focus is on the classic theme of "good vs. evil." There are also underlying themes of environmental concerns, as Ada's fighting to literally save her world from breaking apart due to the planet being strip-mined for valuable resources by the unscrupulous and power-hungry Baron.
Positive Role Models
Ada's a strong heroic character, willing to put others before herself, to stand up to the bad guys, and to help out how and where she can. She's also a talented and creative mechanic, with engineering skills that make her capable of building and improving all sorts of gadgets with little more than a prototype and a blueprint to go by.
Ease of Play
The game has a lot of quirks that can take some getting used to. They range from small things like a stamina meter limiting Ada's running time to massive things like a world that rearranges itself any time you leave its surface. This latter feature can be particularly frustrating during longer quests.
Violence & Scariness
Action and combat are constantly happening. That said, the game's retro and pixelated style keeps the damage from being graphic or detailed, and most defeated enemies simply vanish in a puff of smoke.
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Parents Need to Know
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's a lot of fighting, there's no blood or graphic violence, with defeated enemies simply disappearing in a puff of smoke. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content in the game.
Is It Any Good?
No matter how flashy or innovative video games may get, there's always going to be an appeal for those that successfully follow a classic formula. 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 that 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 Super Nintendo era. Most of the action consists of running around planet-side, taking on the Baron's minions 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 placed in a randomly changing location. The knowledge that all your hard work and exploration can get reset at a moment's notice adds a constant challenge to the game, as well as an extra layer of anxiety. 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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.