At GDC 2019, we got the chance to try out Sparklite, a roguelite brawler adventure published by Merge Games and developed by Red Blue Games. Inspired by games like Legend of Zelda: A Link to The Past and Rogue Legacy, Sparklite is definitely a title you should keep an eye on if you’re a fan of either of those titles or other indies inspired by them.
“Players assume the role of Ada, a genius engineer, lost in a strange new land thrown into turmoil by gremlins. Ada must help save the world by stopping the invaders from extracting the last of its life-blood, the magical Sparklite. But nature is fighting back too! Violent earthquakes, known as disruptions, periodically shake up the terrain, causing new arrangements and layouts within the world. After each disruption come new quests, minigames, and challenges for Ada to overcome as she builds up her strength to defeat the mysterious “Baron”.
My preview began on an airship with a companion where I learned the basic mechanics of the game including how to attack with my wrench, feeling similar to a weapon swing in any top-down Legend of Zelda title, how to use a charge attack to both turn it into a hammer and use it as a way to solve puzzles, and roll my way around and over obstacles so I don’t fall to my doom. Eventually, the airship took enough damage that we crash-landed in a barren area where we eventually found a cave. Unknown to me, deep in this cave is where the Baron was waiting to take me out, and that’s exactly what he did since we were not yet strong enough to defeat him. After my defeat at the hands of the Baron, I was found by another character and brought to what I can only presume is the main hub town with a variety of shops for me to purchase more gadgets, equipment, and consumables. Ada can also help these shops grow over time by completing various requests, improving the quality and quantity of what she can purchase.
As you progress, Ada will become stronger and you will be able to customize her to your liking. There are 30 patch slots for players to fill with a variety of patches to boost Ada’s vitality, strength, and so on. While Ada has room for 30 patches, she can only equip nine at a time, so it’s best for players to mix and match to fit their play style. The developers have also claimed that they are currently experimenting with patch modifications to further increase customization options.
To me, Sparklite seemed like the perfect combination of a couple of well-received indie titles from the past few years, creating a technological gear based world through a top-down Zelda style perspective. While I didn’t get to see it in as much detail as I would have liked to, only getting a feel for the basic combat and not getting to see for myself how well Ada’s improvement through customization shows, I’m interested to see where it goes from here, and I hope that the full experience proves to be even more intriguing.
Sparklite is expected to launch Fall 2019 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.