Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope Review — Shine On

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was one of the first surprise hits for Nintendo Switch in 2017. The tactical RPG was a wonderfully crazy marriage between Rayman‘s Raving Rabbids and the Super Mario Universe which, on top of the already incredible mashup, was a departure for a company that values ​​its characters as much as Nintendo does.

Was it weirder that kingdom fight gave guns to Mario and all his friends, or that the Rabbid counterparts actually cosplayed the heroes from the Mushroom Kingdom? Both sounds absurd on paper, but the strangest thing was that the game ended up being what it was supposed to be.

Five years later and Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope maybe the strangest Mario spinoff yet. It is certainly the most difficult to understand at a glance. Like its predecessor spark of hope is primarily a tactics game with clues to platform and environmental puzzles.

Those supporting flavors are stronger than hints this time, and even the tactical parts have abandoned the grid-based combat system of the first. Both in terms of its genre and how it lets you play with its systems, the new Mario + Rabbids is imaginative and playful, making it a bold step up from Ubisoft’s first attempt.

The original Mario + Rabbids was easily reducible to “Mario meets XCOM.” Perhaps that was an oversimplification in the first place, but spark of hope works to dispel any reducing feeling. The game is still a turn-based, cover-based shooter, but this time every element of the experience feels retooled for the better.

Everything round from the start spark of hope feels looser. The tactical battles no longer work on a grid system. Instead, characters are free to roam and interact with anything and everything within their range of motion. This instantly adds a flexibility to each move that the first game couldn’t match, mimicking the grid system so tried and true to the genre.

The change pays off, especially when you level up and get to do a lot more in a given round. Finally, Luigi and Mario can move from one side of a map to the other in just one turn using a combination of non-combat abilities spark of hope gives all the signs.

Also, the overworlds now feel more like playgrounds. Each is filled with side quests consisting of more battles, but a healthy dose of environmental puzzles and coin challenges add variety to the mix. And with a few late-game exceptions, these enigmatic sequences manage to stay just long enough without exceeding their welcome.

As should be evident by now, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is not afraid to make big changes to the tried and tested Mario + Rabbids Formula. After retiring for some R&R, Mario and the original game’s hero cast (sans Yoshi) are drawn back into a galactic conflict against the evil Cursa, who is allowing Darkmess energy to destroy the universe. After receiving this lengthy apology for galaxy leaping, you’ll be introduced to the game’s biggest newcomer and namesake – the Sparks.

A specific callback that establishes a connection spark of hope To Super Mario Galaxy, the Sparks are fusions of the 2007 game’s Lumas and Rabbids. Each Spark has a unique passive and active ability. Many apply elemental effects to weapons and increase elemental resistances, but some let you buff your teammates and eventually unlock sparks that you can use to summon allies.

Each of the nine heroes that you eventually unlock has two Spark slots. Sparks level independently of heroes and can be equipped and moved from character to character at any time – much like Materia for you Final Fantasy VII fans. Star Bits, another connection too Mario galaxyare used to level your Sparks.

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In short, the Spark system is a wonderful and much-needed addition that delivers Mario + Rabbids Continued fresh for almost the entire running time of over 30 hours. Each world you travel to has a plethora of side quests – this is a Ubisoft game, after all – that will net you money that you can spend on items that quickly level up your Sparks. This loop repeats for each of the five overworlds you explore, and while the structure is formulaic, the gameplay only gets better as you just have more abilities for your heroes.

The first half of spark of hope is not without problems. Difficulty levels seem to ramp up haphazardly in a handful of boss fights and other large encounters. This forces you to grind on the side content, which shouldn’t be a problem for someone who’s already completing as much content as possible. Just know that by the time the final boss rolls around, you’ll have to deal with a ton of side content in order to reach the recommended level cap.

As you get closer to the end of the game, however, it can get easy to feel unstoppable in regular encounters, so the late-game challenges that come are welcome.

throughout Mario + Rabbids: spark of hope, I cycled back and forth between the characters. For almost every one, I found a unique, versatile build. Mario can be a damaging traversal machine, stomping on heads and dashing through goombas left and right. The new character Edge gains a sprint that increases her movement range with each successful hit.

Chaining these free-moving damage bonuses with each character’s sparks and abilities makes for increasingly dynamic and rewarding turns. in those moments spark of hope shines as an excellent genre-twisted mashup of platform and strategy.

The only place where spark of hope What doesn’t quite match the creativity of the first game lies in its storytelling. Not that registered mail kingdom fight is particularly memorable, but this game has moments of self-awareness that poke fun at that Mario Franchises that feel absent spark of hope. The only full-voiced characters are your robotic companions, including the return of Beep-O, your robotic guide who always got on my nerves when I wasn’t skipping through the dialogue.

Registered mail is best Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is harmless, but at worst, adult humor can be annoying. Which is a shame considering how mature the rest of the choices in the sequel feel.

Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope Review – The Verdict


  • A slick mix of turn-based tactics and Mario-inspired platformer play.
  • Sparks add a whole new level of customization and player expression.
  • Heroes are balanced and each is worth using and leveling.


  • Supporting characters are terribly annoying.
  • Random difficulty spikes can be frustrating.

The sequel is both a great entry point and a refreshing departure for fans of the genre Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle adds an accessible flexibility to the formula of the first game. This creative approach to the tactical genre ultimately gives the series its own identity. It won’t win any awards for its writing, however spark of hope still manages to be a blast at almost every corner.

The fusion of tactics, RPG elements and platforms that Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is one of the best Mario Spinoffs on the Switch.

[Note: Ubisoft provided the copy of Mario+Rabbids: Sparks of Hope used for this review.]

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