Weaving the charm of 2D Zelda games with rogue-lite mechanics, Sparklite is quite literally a gem to be uncovered. Set in the ever-changing land of Geodia, and the balloon powered hub-ship above, you play as Ada, a sky-refugee turned Titan slayer tasked with collecting all the Sparklite she can. The titular currency powers not just your mutated foes, but the mechanics of the entire game. Your ultimate goal is to explore the continuously resetting land (explained away as the fractious world reshaping while you heal) to upgrade your arsenal and ultimately defeat each of the five Titans; horrifically awesome 16-bit monstrosities.
Keeping everything payable by Sparklite is a smart move that keeps upgrades simple but effective. You can find and purchase patches that offer base enhancements to health or weapon energy, as well as various map upgrades. There are also gadgets, which you discover the blueprints for while exploring, before crafting them at purchasable workbenches. These are handy for puzzles and occasionally for combat, though we usually found ourselves favouring the trusty wrench. You’re mercifully allowed to keep your Sparklite, patches, and gadgets, but additional items will be lost whenever you die.
Aesthetically, Sparklite is delightful. The retro art blends gorgeously with the music, crafting a generation-spanning adventure. The only issue is repetition, as both area specific soundtracks and gameplay can become monotonous when you’re continuously grinding. However, the reward of an adrenaline-charged Titan fight and the subsequent plot progression and wider map accessibility atone for any fleeting tedium. Finally, there’s the co-op, which is mostly pointless. Your robotic companion is mainly there to farm Sparklite, as its meagre abilities pale in comparison to Ada’s. Put simply, Sparklite is best enjoyed as a single player experience, and to that end, it excels.