This is my final request: if you haven’t played the first Mario + Rabbids game, play it. Then come back here, and be excited for Sparks of Hope with me.
Ubisoft Paris seemed to have further ideas though, as they decided to announce an extra little showcase just for the game during the Nintendo Direct Mini.
I was already very excited for the game, but the Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope has actually made me even more excited. It looks so stupid, while also looking like a genuinely incredible game.
So what did the Sparks of Hope showcase reveal? Let’s take a look!
There were a lot of new characters shown off for Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. Some we already know from past Mario games, others completely new to the series. The game’s creative director Davide Soliani explains it well:
“Speaking of the team, last year, we introduced two new characters to our unusual party of heroes,” Soliani said. “First, there is Rabbid Rosalina, the ever-jaded Rabbid. Really different from her role model.”
“And then, there is this mysterious new Rabbid with a sword. Her name is Edge. I hope you will like her as much as we do.
The showcase also mentions that ‘even Bowser joins the team in an effort to reclaim his lost army’. Soliani gives a more in-depth explanation of Bowser’s introduction.
“We still felt our lineup was incomplete without a heavy hitter. And so, today, we are happy to welcome Bowser to the team.”
“It’s unexpected of him to team up with his long-time rival,” Soliani says. “So you are probably wondering why he does so. Well, I do not want to spoil the fun surprises ahead, but I can tell you that it has something to do with Cursa.”
“In its destructive pursuit to extend its reach to all planets, this malevolent entity has taken control of Bowser’s army. Now Bowser has no choice but to join the ranks of the Rabbids Heroes, and fight alongside Mario to reclaim his army. And it will be explosive!”
You also see the Sparks, that are a merge of Rabbids and Lumas from Super Mario Galaxy. They are kinda ugly but also still a bit cute, so I like them.
There’s also heaps of new enemies, with the most shown-off ones looking like shy guys. On top of that, as mention before, the classic Mario enemies like Goombas make nefarious appearances.
NPCs and side quests
A whole lot of new non-playable characters were shown, that hang out around the worlds that you can go to. Some of the names were revealed, like Augie and Captain Orion.
The purpose of these characters seems to be to provide the player with tasks to complete. These are quests that look like they either exist outside of the regular combat gameplay, or complement it.
Judging by the introduction of Rabbid Rosalina and the Sparks, this adventure seems to be a wider, perhaps more galaxy-crossing journey compared to Kingdom Battle. Think the jump from Super Mario 64 to Super Mario Galaxy tone-wise.
And the footage shown seems to reflect this as well. While the original game had many unique areas, each new world in Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope looks like an entirely different planet.
You jump from regular grassy areas, to beach areas, to autumn areas, to spooky areas, to shipwreck areas, to snowy areas, to ancient temple areas, to Cursa’s yucky goopy areas. It’s pretty massive.
Judging from gameplay footage, it also looks like you can explore these areas pretty freely, with the over worlds being completely separate to battle maps. Also, the over worlds include puzzles! I love puzzles.
And you don’t even need to have Mario on your team anymore. Goodbye Mario.
New combat gameplay
The biggest change that has been made in Sparks of Hope is definitely the removal of the grid system. Rather than the grid on the battlefield, players can move within a certain range.
Personally, I love this. The grid was cool, but this system feels a bit more natural to me. As well as this, characters can now glide around the area after bouncing off other characters.
In Kingdom Battle, characters have unique weapons in their arsenal but weapon types are shared. However, in Sparks of Hope every character has a weapon that is unique to them.
Mario has twin blasters that let him shoot multiple enemies. Luigi gets a long-range bow with a damage boost depending on distance.
Rabbid Mario has large gauntlets that let him do Big Punches. Rabbid Luigi has a bouncy type of gadget that boy-yoy-yoings between enemies.
There are also new technical moves, like Princess Peach’s shield move and Rabbid Rosalina’s Jigglypuff type move where she can put enemies to sleep.
As mentioned prior, Sparks are the despicable combination of Rabbids and Lumas. However, they actually come in handy!
They seem to be elemental forces of some kind, and it looks like you can choose who gets what Spark. The Sparks are summonable partners that can be used in battle.
The abilities of the Sparks range from water to ice to lightning, and there are probably a whole heap more. They seem to do some Big Freakin’ Moves, which will definitely make them very useful.
I don’t know about you, but I’m hyped. Sparks of Hope is looking so good, that I almost have grown a fondness for the Rabbids. Or, at least, the way that they’ve implemented Rabbids in the Mario + Rabbids games.
Especially Rabbid Peach. She still slays.
Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope will be releasing on Nintendo Switch on October 20th, 2022.