Enjoy the classic marble shooting games where you're centralised and have to shoot and match gem colours to prevent the trail from hitting the end? You might want to check out Sparkle for Windows Phone 8, which is a game that will take to your liking and offer up many hours of gameplay to pass the time.
Sparkle, developed by 10tons Ltd, won the Grand Prize of $250,000 in Nokia's Calling All Innovators competition back in 2011. To spice up the game, there's more than 10 powerful amulets to discover with over a dozen powerups available to the player. While Sparkle isn't an Xbox Live title, there are achievements included to unlock.
The controls in Sparkle are easy and simple to get used to. The powerups offer a unique twist on familiar gameplay with the option to fire marbles at them to unlock useful abilities. But the controls and abilities aren't all that's a bonus in this addictive game. The hand crafted level design and physics of the marbles moving around the lanes is spectacular, not to mention the ice blasts and other abilities taking up the screen real estate.
Three game modes are available to choose from: quest, challenges and survival. This selection of modes ensures differentiating gameplay that helps break up the action and provide longevity. If you're new to the game, there's an interactive instruction pane in the settings (under "Extras" on the main menu) that allows you to test out your aim and some powerups, learning how to play the game quickly and efficiently. It's a neat idea.
Lastly, there's a color blind mode that adds glyphs to each marble to help tell them apart. This could also be useful even with perfect vision.
You can download Sparkle for $2.99 from the Windows Phone Store. A trial is available that includes the quest game mode.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.