Sparkwave (Free) by Crescent Moon Games is a fast-paced hex-style twitch reflex arcade game. If you enjoyed games like Pivvot,
HEX:99, and SHREDD, then you will get a kick out of Sparkwave. Be warned — these twitch reflex games are definitely not for the faint of heart.
Ever since Super Hexagon, I’ve fallen in love with the challenge of the twitch reflex genre, and while they can be infuriating most of the time, I still keep coming back to them. I think that the mobile platform is perfect for the genre, due to the simplistic controls provided by touch screens and the fact that a lot of games are best enjoyed in short bursts throughout the day. Whenever I have a few moments to spare, I like being able to pick up my phone, launch a twitch reflex game, and test my reflexes for a few minutes at a time. For me, it’s fun and it’s rather nice when you’re able to best your own previous high score because you’ve been doing better at the game over time. That’s why twitch reflex games will always have a spot on my iPhone, so when I heard that Crescent Moon Games was coming out with a new addition to the genre last week, I had to check it out myself.
Sparkwave, like many other games in the genre, features a gorgeous, minimalistic art style that looks sharp and crisp on Retina screens. While the game starts out with a dark colored background with light specks that represent stars, the colors change as you get further along the tracks. The background colors range from darker tones to more vivid hues, but they all have rather nice color gradients that go together seamlessly. In the foreground will be hexagons of many different sizes that appear as you move, forming a trail for you to follow in your spark-covered ship. Even though there can be many colors appearing on the screen at various times, your ship will always be recognizable due to the bright, contrasting color. Animations in Sparkwave are smooth and fluid, which is absolutely necessary for a twitch reflex game, of course. There is a quirky EDM soundtrack that is fun to listen to, and will appeal to fans of the EDM genre. Sound effects add a nice finishing touch to the game’s audio package.
As with most twitch reflex games, Sparkwave only has one game mode, and it is essentially an endless run to see how long you can survive. The objective is to fly as far as you can without hitting annoying obstacles (dark tiles) that show up along the way. The game moves quickly, and the track will form as you go, so it can be rather unpredictable at times, especially when you encounter random angle shifts that change the direction of the entire path, forcing you to react rapidly. There are crystals to collect along the way, which can be used to purchase additional spark colors for your ship, or some booster items from the shop. Since the game is free, it does show ads every now and then between runs, and you get five free continues per day at the cost of watching a video ad. If the ads bother you that much, you can always opt to get the in-app purchase for removing ads.
Controls in Sparkwave are simple enough: tap the left half of the screen to steer your ship to the left, and tap the right half to go right — you will move forward automatically. You can do short taps to move just a little bit, or hold your finger down to move continuously in that direction. But since the track moves rapidly and can shift position at any time, I would recommend sticking with quick, short taps for better control.
I’ve only spent a short amount of time with Sparkwave so far over the weekend, but I’m finding it to be an enjoyable twitch reflex game when I need my fix. The visuals are sleek and gorgeous, the music is fun, and the fast-paced gameplay means it’s addictive and challenging at the same time. However, if you’re the type of person who will rage quickly at these types of games, then it probably isn’t something you need to go grab, but if you want a challenge test of reflexes then it’s a great addition to your collection. I just wish that the game was a bit less ad-heavy and didn’t have restrictions on the number of continues you’re allowed per day. I’ve also noticed some crashes after viewing an ad to continue, which is annoying and can be frustrating, so hopefully the developers fix that in the near future.
Despite the minor flaws, Sparkwave is a delightful game for fans of the twitch reflex genre. You can find Sparkwave on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for free with in-app purchases.