Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope – Review
Follow Genre: Turn Based Strategy
Developer: Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Milan
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: The Sparks are a fun addition, A bit more freedom
Bad: Removal of secondary weapons, Only weapon skins and no new weapons available
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

It’s already been five years since the Mario and Rabbids crossover game was released. Developed and published by Ubisoft, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle proved to be an interesting mash-up of two iconic game IPs. The silly XCOM-like strategy game was a lot of fun to play through, even though it suffered from a few difficulty spikes here and there. Now, the sequel, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope has been released, and we were very stoked to see if this one would be just as good as the original. We were quite entertained, and while some of the changes made to the overall gameplay formula aren’t the best, we still absolutely loved playing through this wacky strategy adventure title.

Story

Sparks of Hope plays out a short time after the events of the first game. It seems that the Mario Bros universe and the Rabbids universe have permanently merged, and everyone is at peace and quite content. Sadly, things become quite messy once again, as a new villain appears on the horizon. The evil Cursa is spreading ‘Darkmess’ all across the galaxy, while also hunting Sparks. These Sparks are a weird hybrid of Lumas and Rabbids, and they possess quite a bit of power. The only way to stop Cursa’s evil ploy is to harness the power of the Sparks yourself and save the galaxy.

Overall, the premise is quite simple, but the story is properly fleshed out. Each little planet you’ll find yourself on has its own little background story, and it’s just a lot of fun to see how the story evolves throughout the game. If you have played the first game, you’re getting more of the same here in terms of story depth. Expect a simple but fun storyline that motivates you to press forward.

Graphics

Graphically, Sparks of Hope looks quite good. The game has the same style as the first title, albeit with maps that offer a bit more freedom. However, due to this, the backdrops are slightly less impressive than they were in Kingdom Battle. The game has different biomes you can wander around in, and these all have a few funny landmarks that made us crack a smile now and then. The character designs are still very much the same as they were in the first game, but there are some new characters thrown in the mix. The sequel will let you fight new enemies, which are often also hybrids between Rabbids and typical Mario Bros enemies, and it was always fun seeing a new one rear its head. Outside of a few clipping errors and a small frame drop here and there, the game runs smoothly. We do have to say that the graphics looked a bit muddy when playing the game in handheld mode on the original Switch.

Sound

The sound design of Spark of Hope is fairly good. The game has a rather cinematic soundtrack to support the events that unfold during your adventure. We did notice that the combat music was sometimes a bit out of place or too upbeat for what was going on, but the tracks were of high quality nonetheless. The voice acting that is present in the game is superbly handled, but it’s strange to have a few characters that have fully voiced dialogues, while others just blurt out a few words of their given lines. We would have preferred it if it was one or the other. We think a game such as this could be amazing with fully voice-acted dialogues.

Gameplay

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is, like its predecessor, a strategy game with RPG mechanics. From start to finish, you’ll explore different small biomes and engage in short turn-based battles. In these battles, each character can move freely in a certain radius, and you’ll be able to use skills and abilities. Of course, you will also be able to attack, but if you do so, you will not be able to move anymore. The battles play out as they would in an XCOM game, so it’s always important to find cover before you perform your attack. This already sums up the meat of what this game is about.

Outside of the fun combat, you’ll run around in the aforementioned biomes following your main quest. Each biome also offers many side-quests, but these almost always boil down to the two same things: You’ll either engage in another battle or you’ll have to solve a puzzle. This formula works for the most part, but if you’re a completionist, things might become a bit monotone after a while. That being said, completing side quests is a great way to unlock more Sparks. These Luma-Rabbid hybrids will allow you to add a few new skills for your party to the mix. Each character can equip a Spark, and these will provide the character with an extra active and passive skill. This allows you to mess around with different party builds. The Sparks can also be leveled up, making them stronger. We appreciated this addition to the party mechanics but we also regretted that we couldn’t buy new main weapons for our characters and that the secondary weapons were also been removed. We quite enjoyed these secondary weapons in the first game.

Exploring is a bit less linear than it was in the first game, and you do have more options to heal in-between battles. The controls do take some time to get used to, as throwing items (and enemies) does feel a bit clumsy at times. For the most part, however, you’re getting a solid sequel of the first game in the series, and we did enjoy the inclusion of new characters for this one.

Conclusion

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is a great sequel to the first game, and while some changes aren’t the best, we still absolutely enjoyed playing through this new crossover adventure. Even though the more fluid combat is a fun addition, we regretted the fact that we couldn’t buy new weapons and were limited to weapon skins. This was of course remedied by the Sparks, which allowed us to customize the party with new skills and passive boosts. All in all, we loved the new story, the fun characters, and the overall atmosphere of this wacky crossover. If you enjoyed the first game, picking this one up is a no-brainer.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

1 Comment

  1. […] with some games even having Season Passes before the launch date. Now recently we touched upon Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope and now Ubisoft has told us that they have a whole Season Pass at the ready with three […]

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