Barbie Sparkle Blast (iOS, Google Play)

So now the world’s most popular doll toy line is getting in on the free-to-play match-three puzzle game bandwagon.  But surprisingly, this one’s actually pretty decent.  Barbie Sparkle Blast is available to download on iOS and Google Play, but reviewed on iPad here.

So your goal is to match three of the same colored gems in a row by sliding them using the touch screen.  If you’ve played Bejeweled, Candy Crush, or any of their imitators, you know what to expect here.  In each level you’ll have to do something different.  Sometimes it’s as simple as matching a certain number of gems.  Other levels you may have to drop items down to the bottom, match colored bones to help Barbie play fetch with her puppy, clear out leaves or ladybugs on the field, and much more.  By matching four or more gems, you’ll get special ones that can clear out more on the field, and you can combine them together for powerful results.  This is key to getting past some of the tougher stages.

As you pass levels, you’ll earn coins and diamonds that you can spend on various things.  Use them to buy extra power-ups when you’re in a pinch, or spend them to buy new outfits for Barbie.  You can dress Barbie up in different clothes in her closet, and that affects the gameplay as well.  Depending on what she’s wearing, matching certain gems will fill up a power meter.  When it’s full, you can activate it to match and clear any gems on the field just by tracing your finger over them.  You’ll unlock more outfits as you reach new areas while sending Barbie on a globetrotting adventure to help her friends.

Even though this is a free-to-play game, I got to almost level 90 without it becoming TOO difficult to pass.  And a lot of the other free-to-play annoyances weren’t a problem here.  You don’t have to wait too long to be able to play again if you miss too many times, and the in-game ads are optional and not intrusive at all.  Only problem I had with the game is that it froze up on me a couple of times, but that’s it.  If you have a little girl who wants to play a Barbie puzzle game, this is a good choice.

Kid Factor:

Reading skill is helpful for the text, but not necessary just to play. Parental supervision is still recommended for the in-game purchases and ads.

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