The original Zuma by PopCap Games spawned a raft of look-a-likes of varying quality, but the recently released Sparkle [App Store] certainly appears to be amongst the best now available on the iPhone. Created by the developers of Azkend and Dragon Portals, two other excellent action puzzlers, Sparkle is gorgeously presented in every way.

For anyone new to the concept (frankly, you've been living under a rock), Sparkle is essentially a Match-3 game spread out over a track, where a long string of various colored balls slowly moves to the end of the path. You fire randomly colored balls at the string in an attempt to make groups of three or more like-colors, causing them to disappear from the playing field. If the string reaches the end of the path, it's game over.

Along the way you'll collect a number of power-ups and items to help your cause, and be introduced to a chain-reaction combo system to really rack up the points. There are three game modes in Sparkle which are gradually unlocked and help to deviate its offering, including a story-driven Quest mode, a time-attack Challenge Mode, and a score-tracking Survival mode. Sparkle also keeps track of your progress through an achievement and stat system, though no global leader boards are available at present.

Sparkle is great if only to rekindle some of that Zuma nostalgia right in the palm of your hand. As we're often finding, the tried and true gameplay works surprisingly well on a touch device, making Sparkle one highly polished and easily recommended action puzzler.

App Store Link: Sparkle, $2.99.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Will

    Better hope this doesn't get too popular, otherwise MumboJumbo will have it pulled!

    • Scott30

      my thoughts exactly

  • Will

    Better hope this doesn't get too popular, otherwise MumboJumbo will have it pulled!

    • Scott30

      my thoughts exactly

  • Yo

    Lol, I was thinking the same thing.

  • Yo

    Lol, I was thinking the same thing.

  • http://www.twitter.com/thewindburn Windburn

    It's an interesting thought, as there really isn't much difference! I guess their saving grace is that there are just so many Zuma clones out there nowadays, that the whole concept has practically entered the public domain.

    I don't know if that's legally accurate, but it definitely seems so.

    • Scott30

      The story of Stoneloops is really mind boggling there really isn't any other way to put it other then Mumbo Jumbo had it removed because it was doing so well, and Apple will pull anything down even without enough proof, just by simple allegations. Cause ya there are a handful of other marble shooters out there and Luxor wasn't the first either which makes it more mind boggling...

      Good luck to these guys though it looks solid, not sure I'll get it yet though I still have bonsai blast to finish still has it is, but I really enjoyed Azkend.

  • http://www.twitter.com/thewindburn Windburn

    It's an interesting thought, as there really isn't much difference! I guess their saving grace is that there are just so many Zuma clones out there nowadays, that the whole concept has practically entered the public domain.

    I don't know if that's legally accurate, but it definitely seems so.

    • Scott30

      The story of Stoneloops is really mind boggling there really isn't any other way to put it other then Mumbo Jumbo had it removed because it was doing so well, and Apple will pull anything down even without enough proof, just by simple allegations. Cause ya there are a handful of other marble shooters out there and Luxor wasn't the first either which makes it more mind boggling...

      Good luck to these guys though it looks solid, not sure I'll get it yet though I still have bonsai blast to finish still has it is, but I really enjoyed Azkend.

  • Deewin

    Azkend is one of the best puzzlers in the app store and I'm glad to see the devs are emulating their success :-D

    • Deewin

      Ok just got it and the video doesn't do this game justice. They went the extra mile to make this super polished and it really feels like something that Apple would make to show off the idevice :) Angry Birds, PvZ and now this :)

  • Deewin

    Azkend is one of the best puzzlers in the app store and I'm glad to see the devs are emulating their success :-D

    • Deewin

      Ok just got it and the video doesn't do this game justice. They went the extra mile to make this super polished and it really feels like something that Apple would make to show off the idevice :) Angry Birds, PvZ and now this :)

  • http://www.bubblygames.com Brian

    I really loved the first Zuma, it was innovative and highly addictive. To be frank after a while I got tired of it and I can't understand why so many versions keep coming out, do people really like those new versions, seen one seen em' all?

  • http://www.bubblygames.com Brian

    I really loved the first Zuma, it was innovative and highly addictive. To be frank after a while I got tired of it and I can't understand why so many versions keep coming out, do people really like those new versions, seen one seen em' all?

  • Graham Goring

    It saddens me that people call these games Zuma clones. :(

    http://www.arsecast.com/index.php?page=023

    • Windburn

      Just so you guys know, I am aware of the whole Puzzloops/Ballistica/Magnetica contra Zuma saga. It was originally a 1996 game, but regardless of how you slice it, it's Zuma that made it as famous as it is today.

      As much as I'd like to get into the history of the game, alot more people are going to have recognition with a little game called Zuma than with a much lesser known earlier variant, so that's what I have to stick with in the interest of conciseness.

      Kudos to those who picked up on it though, you're keeping everyone who reads the comments extra-informed :)

    • Deewin

      Zuma's the one that started the whole craze and spawned a bunch of clones, not Puzzloop. It's just like how people say games are World of Warcraft clones. They weren't the first to do it but they were the first to make it good enough to copy.

  • Graham Goring

    It saddens me that people call these games Zuma clones. :(

    http://www.arsecast.com/index.php?page=023

    • Windburn

      Just so you guys know, I am aware of the whole Puzzloops/Ballistica/Magnetica contra Zuma saga. It was originally a 1996 game, but regardless of how you slice it, it's Zuma that made it as famous as it is today.

      As much as I'd like to get into the history of the game, alot more people are going to have recognition with a little game called Zuma than with a much lesser known earlier variant, so that's what I have to stick with in the interest of conciseness.

      Kudos to those who picked up on it though, you're keeping everyone who reads the comments extra-informed :)

    • Deewin

      Zuma's the one that started the whole craze and spawned a bunch of clones, not Puzzloop. It's just like how people say games are World of Warcraft clones. They weren't the first to do it but they were the first to make it good enough to copy.

  • Symbolist

    A must buy for me to fill the gap of time until release of Gravity Hook.

  • Symbolist

    A must buy for me to fill the gap of time until release of Gravity Hook.

  • samthelion

    I don't really need a new marble popper, however if it drops price, it might be my second one after Stoneloops.

    • Symbolist

      Yessir. Everything for a dime. And in the end complaining and whining about bugs, missing updates and DLC or Freemium. You know? - All those people work for free; they feel paid as long, as You are happy. They do not eat, they do not need a dry place - all they need is Your happiness with 3rd world priced toys. That makes them feel fullfilled and happy without money.

      • markr

        Did you read the comment? He has a full price version so making another full price purchase for the same thing makes little sense. For those of us around when Stoneloops and Blackbeards Assault were released picking this up seems a little overkill for the genre - we bought the hype and the games back then. But new people will have missed that hype and those games now live in the depths of the store.
        I don't see samthelion as saying he wants cheap, just that with one already why buy another?

      • Symbolist

        Yep. Will remember next time I buy food or clothes. This kind of stuff should be free for me, cause I bought it many times.

      • samthelion

        I didn't mean it's not worth the price (it actually seems like it does), it was just a personal consideration (that is, I don't really "feel" like I need it, but I probably wouldn't resist in that case).
        I might buy it at full price if I change my mind, though.

      • monster

        @Symbolist Yes, because buying food and clothes is exactly the same process as buying a videogame

      • Symbolist

        Correctly. Is exactly the same process. Paying money in exchange for something other people invested time and power to create.

      • markr

        @Symbolist - So you would buy a TV that is almost identical to the one you have, it's just newer? So you'd buy a new one so you could use it and the other but not at the same time? That's what you are asking.

      • monster

        /end sarcasm

        It's not the same by any stretch. You buy clothes and food as a necessity, without them you would be naked/starving, they expire and get worn out and NEED to be replaced.
        Buying a video game is a luxury purchase, it doesn't expire or deteriorate or NEED to be replaced

      • Symbolist

        @markr: I would certainly make a pointless comment on a website and claim that I would buy a second one if the price is lower. Not the right answer? Sorry.
        @monster: And we all know luxury has to be cheap, yes?

      • monster

        No, but it doesn't mean all luxury items are by nature expensive.
        For example, a chocolate bar is a luxury item, but you wouldn't consider it expensive, correct?

      • Symbolist

        @monster: But in a magical way this game is, cause it cost more than a bar of (a cheap sort) of chocolate? Do I understand correctly? The game crossed the chocolate line or something like that? And - by the way - dont forget: Chocolate expires. And it detoriates in the warmth :)

      • monster

        @symbolist
        haha okay, the point was, using the same metaphor, that samthelion got some candy. It wasn't his favourite candy in the world, but it was pretty tasty, and it didn't cost much, so he enjoyed it.
        But a couple months later, he went back to the store and saw a new premium, more expensive brand of the same candy. He still had half of the first bag left (he really take his time savoring his candy =P), so he decided he didn't really want to buy it, as although the first was pretty tasty, it wasn't one of his favourites, and he was happy with the bag he already had.
        But he vowed that if the store ever had a sale, he would try this new premium brand.

        Andddd I'm done with this debate cause the metaphors are getting way way out of hand, and the point has been completely lost

      • Symbolist

        But hey! it was fun.
        Have a nice day, monster! All in all it was a friendly discussion without any aggressiveness we have had. So we have done better than many others!

      • monster

        Agreed! Have a splendid day yourself.

        Hoping our comments shall cross again soon in praise of Gravity Hook HD =D

  • samthelion

    I don't really need a new marble popper, however if it drops price, it might be my second one after Stoneloops.

    • Symbolist

      Yessir. Everything for a dime. And in the end complaining and whining about bugs, missing updates and DLC or Freemium. You know? - All those people work for free; they feel paid as long, as You are happy. They do not eat, they do not need a dry place - all they need is Your happiness with 3rd world priced toys. That makes them feel fullfilled and happy without money.

      • markr

        Did you read the comment? He has a full price version so making another full price purchase for the same thing makes little sense. For those of us around when Stoneloops and Blackbeards Assault were released picking this up seems a little overkill for the genre - we bought the hype and the games back then. But new people will have missed that hype and those games now live in the depths of the store.
        I don't see samthelion as saying he wants cheap, just that with one already why buy another?

      • Symbolist

        Yep. Will remember next time I buy food or clothes. This kind of stuff should be free for me, cause I bought it many times.

      • samthelion

        I didn't mean it's not worth the price (it actually seems like it does), it was just a personal consideration (that is, I don't really "feel" like I need it, but I probably wouldn't resist in that case).
        I might buy it at full price if I change my mind, though.

      • monster

        @Symbolist Yes, because buying food and clothes is exactly the same process as buying a videogame

      • Symbolist

        Correctly. Is exactly the same process. Paying money in exchange for something other people invested time and power to create.

      • markr

        @Symbolist - So you would buy a TV that is almost identical to the one you have, it's just newer? So you'd buy a new one so you could use it and the other but not at the same time? That's what you are asking.

      • monster

        /end sarcasm

        It's not the same by any stretch. You buy clothes and food as a necessity, without them you would be naked/starving, they expire and get worn out and NEED to be replaced.
        Buying a video game is a luxury purchase, it doesn't expire or deteriorate or NEED to be replaced

      • Symbolist

        @markr: I would certainly make a pointless comment on a website and claim that I would buy a second one if the price is lower. Not the right answer? Sorry.
        @monster: And we all know luxury has to be cheap, yes?

      • monster

        No, but it doesn't mean all luxury items are by nature expensive.
        For example, a chocolate bar is a luxury item, but you wouldn't consider it expensive, correct?

      • Symbolist

        @monster: But in a magical way this game is, cause it cost more than a bar of (a cheap sort) of chocolate? Do I understand correctly? The game crossed the chocolate line or something like that? And - by the way - dont forget: Chocolate expires. And it detoriates in the warmth :)

      • monster

        @symbolist
        haha okay, the point was, using the same metaphor, that samthelion got some candy. It wasn't his favourite candy in the world, but it was pretty tasty, and it didn't cost much, so he enjoyed it.
        But a couple months later, he went back to the store and saw a new premium, more expensive brand of the same candy. He still had half of the first bag left (he really take his time savoring his candy =P), so he decided he didn't really want to buy it, as although the first was pretty tasty, it wasn't one of his favourites, and he was happy with the bag he already had.
        But he vowed that if the store ever had a sale, he would try this new premium brand.

        Andddd I'm done with this debate cause the metaphors are getting way way out of hand, and the point has been completely lost

      • Symbolist

        But hey! it was fun.
        Have a nice day, monster! All in all it was a friendly discussion without any aggressiveness we have had. So we have done better than many others!

      • monster

        Agreed! Have a splendid day yourself.

        Hoping our comments shall cross again soon in praise of Gravity Hook HD =D

  • PhilLapineau

    Correction; the headline should say: "'Sparkle' – A Dazzling Puzz Loop clone from the makers of Azkend".

    • Symbolist

      Correction: 95 percent of the app stores contents consists of clones, second editions, revived classics and cheap copies.
      Would be rather boring to have it mentioned in every headline, wouldnt it?

  • PhilLapineau

    Correction; the headline should say: "'Sparkle' – A Dazzling Puzz Loop clone from the makers of Azkend".

    • Symbolist

      Correction: 95 percent of the app stores contents consists of clones, second editions, revived classics and cheap copies.
      Would be rather boring to have it mentioned in every headline, wouldnt it?

  • cranker

    I am not a big fan of Zuma, Stoneloops.etc But I LOVED Azkend because It had something about it that made me want to keep playing. For those who have played this game, Does it have something more to it than the others ?

    • Deewin

      It's pretty much the same as the other ones except it has the extra iphone polish Stoneloops had.

  • cranker

    I am not a big fan of Zuma, Stoneloops.etc But I LOVED Azkend because It had something about it that made me want to keep playing. For those who have played this game, Does it have something more to it than the others ?

    • Deewin

      It's pretty much the same as the other ones except it has the extra iphone polish Stoneloops had.

  • Lum-chan

    Hey Touch Arcade writers, Zuma is a clone of Puzzloop.

    Popcap survived on ripping off other games for far too long.

  • Lum-chan

    Hey Touch Arcade writers, Zuma is a clone of Puzzloop.

    Popcap survived on ripping off other games for far too long.

  • cranker

    I still wonder......why not Azkend II ?

  • cranker

    I still wonder......why not Azkend II ?

  • jgc742

    The music is really awesome.

  • jgc742

    The music is really awesome.

  • Jeff

    Beyond the cloning, pricing, etc. issues, the game is a simple joy to play. Stoneloops is tough to beat, but my impression thus far is that this one comes pretty close. Obviously, similar gameplay, but the graphics, music and other personal touches make this a great game for all who enjoy playing games of this genre.

    Have to wonder though if Mumbojumbo will get their panties in a wad over this one too???

  • Jeff

    Beyond the cloning, pricing, etc. issues, the game is a simple joy to play. Stoneloops is tough to beat, but my impression thus far is that this one comes pretty close. Obviously, similar gameplay, but the graphics, music and other personal touches make this a great game for all who enjoy playing games of this genre.

    Have to wonder though if Mumbojumbo will get their panties in a wad over this one too???

  • Tzi

    I love Azkend, but buying this would be like rebuying StoneLoops... Seriously, it may be good but it feels even more unfair is this is allowed to be in the Store but StoneLoops isn't. I would use some coarse language here against MumboJumbo but maybe I won't even though it irritates me considerably much.

  • Tzi

    I love Azkend, but buying this would be like rebuying StoneLoops... Seriously, it may be good but it feels even more unfair is this is allowed to be in the Store but StoneLoops isn't. I would use some coarse language here against MumboJumbo but maybe I won't even though it irritates me considerably much.

  • The Theory

    This one is much better than stoneloops. I'm really enjoying it... looks gorgeous, controls well, and does those little details right that makes a game solid.

    Good buy.

  • The Theory

    This one is much better than stoneloops. I'm really enjoying it... looks gorgeous, controls well, and does those little details right that makes a game solid.

    Good buy.

  • Dave

    Why and how much better is this than Stone Loops? Just wondering if I really need to pick this up?

  • Dave

    Why and how much better is this than Stone Loops? Just wondering if I really need to pick this up?

  • Sebastian

    This stops the iPod from playing. I don’t understand why some games insist on doing that and I have no patience for that at all.

  • Sebastian

    This stops the iPod from playing. I don’t understand why some games insist on doing that and I have no patience for that at all.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cargoplex Aaron

    Why doesn't PopCap just release an official version of Zuma on the App Store already?! I personally LOVED playing Zuma on my 5th gen iPod and have always wanted it on my iPhone. I have tried almost all the clones available on the App Store (Stone Loops was probably my favorite), but I swear that none of them have quite the same appeal that Zuma did for me. I dunno, just thought I'd put in my two cents.

    • Jeff

      Dude...I've thought the same thing. They have several excellent games (Zuma / Text Twist / etc...) that have been cloned from here to eternity. They've missed the bank on several. They obviously know how to develop / port games for the ipod / phone so I have to wonder why they haven't cashed in on these and others???

  • http://profiles.google.com/cargoplex Aaron

    Why doesn't PopCap just release an official version of Zuma on the App Store already?! I personally LOVED playing Zuma on my 5th gen iPod and have always wanted it on my iPhone. I have tried almost all the clones available on the App Store (Stone Loops was probably my favorite), but I swear that none of them have quite the same appeal that Zuma did for me. I dunno, just thought I'd put in my two cents.

    • Jeff

      Dude...I've thought the same thing. They have several excellent games (Zuma / Text Twist / etc...) that have been cloned from here to eternity. They've missed the bank on several. They obviously know how to develop / port games for the ipod / phone so I have to wonder why they haven't cashed in on these and others???

  • Frobots

    The credit belongs to Puzz Loop:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puzzloop

  • Frobots

    The credit belongs to Puzz Loop:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puzzloop

  • Sarira

    You better get it now before MumboJumbo gets it pulled off for likeness of Zuma. Which it is. But till get it now.

  • Sarira

    You better get it now before MumboJumbo gets it pulled off for likeness of Zuma. Which it is. But till get it now.

  • Scott30

    Its not always about who did it first but who did it best first, most ppl prob never played Puzzloop but alot of ppl have or least know of Zuma like it or not...no different then calling all FPSs Doom clones...

  • Scott30

    Its not always about who did it first but who did it best first, most ppl prob never played Puzzloop but alot of ppl have or least know of Zuma like it or not...no different then calling all FPSs Doom clones...

  • 40kbolter

    This game is so well polished, added to my list for one of the best apps you can buy.

  • 40kbolter

    This game is so well polished, added to my list for one of the best apps you can buy.

  • JM

    Sparkle the game must be one of the most polished games in App Store -- it's like something Apple would design. Everything's so smooth and elegant. Also, compared to other Zuma games, this one has Amulets to keep things fresh.

  • JM

    Sparkle the game must be one of the most polished games in App Store -- it's like something Apple would design. Everything's so smooth and elegant. Also, compared to other Zuma games, this one has Amulets to keep things fresh.

  • Khavatari

    Found all 4 secrets!!1

  • Khavatari

    Found all 4 secrets!!1

  • Touchgamer3g

    Sparkle is the most polished iPhone/iPod Touch game I have ever played. Out of all of the marble shooters in the App Store, this is definitely my favorite.

  • Touchgamer3g

    Sparkle is the most polished iPhone/iPod Touch game I have ever played. Out of all of the marble shooters in the App Store, this is definitely my favorite.

  • Drago

    This is a pretty fun game, I've put in far more time that I'd like to admit in the past week.

    It's way more of a Luxor clone than a Zuma clone, what with the multiple chains per level as well as some of the power-ups.

  • Drago

    This is a pretty fun game, I've put in far more time that I'd like to admit in the past week.

    It's way more of a Luxor clone than a Zuma clone, what with the multiple chains per level as well as some of the power-ups.

  • http://www.fullbellek.com Haber

    It looks like the zuma. takes a lot of time these kind of games...

  • http://www.fullbellek.com Haber

    It looks like the zuma. takes a lot of time these kind of games...