Ubisoft followed yesterday’s release date announcement with a dedicated digital showcase for Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope. The turn-based tactical adventure will be released for Nintendo Switch on 20th October 2022.
There’s plenty that’s new and different in Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, but let’s start with the story. With the Mario and Rabbids universes merged together, the Mushroom Kingdom’s heroes and their Rabbids alter-egos now have a new galactic threat to face in the form of Cursa. This malevolent force wants to capture all of the Sparks – the Rabbid version of Lunas – and drain them of their power, and she’s stolen Bowser’s army in order to do so. So Mario and chums hop into a spaceship to go and save the universe.
The gameplay snippets look to be much broader than they were in the first Mario + Rabbids. There’s now characters to meet in the world, such as the Rabbids Captain Orion, and you can take on quests from these NPCs, exploring the worlds to find puzzles and other secrets.
Turn-based combat is still at the heart of the game, but it’s transformed from the first game. The grid-based battlgrounds are gone in favour of completely freeform movement, within a particular range from a character. This allows for greater fluidity in the strategic choices you make, mixing together different character abilities in freeform combos.
All of the heroes have a specific weapon – Mario has double shot pistols, Rabbids Mario has techy boxing gloves, Luigi a sharpshooter bow that’s more powerful the further away he shoots from – as well as unique class-like techniques and the ability to use Sparks to unleash special attacks.
Oh, and there’s new characters on the team. Rabbids Rosalina is basically the exact opposite of regular Rosalina, her special technique putting people to sleep, while there’s an all new sword-wielding character called Edge, and Bowser’s teaming up with the good guys because he wants his army of minions back. He’s got a rocket launcher.
Finally, there’s the soundtrack, with Grant Kirkhope returning from the first game, and now joined by Gareth Coker and Yoko Shimomura. That’s an almighty trio of composers!
Looking back on our review of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Dave said:
“As strange as Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle sounds on paper, there are some really good ideas in the mix. Having XCOM’s battle gameplay presented in a more light lighthearted fashion and greatly enhancing character movement are both excellent touches. It’s not perfect, but there’s a lot to like from this unlikely combination.”
You can read the full Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Review here.