Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope review “better than the original”

As it turns out, Ubisoft’s adorable mascots, the Rabbids, have a pretty established world even when they’re separate from Mario and his buddies.

They’re not just Rayman’s henchmen. No, there are even unique Rabbids with their own personalities, which becomes quickly apparent when you meet Sparks of Hope’s Edge.

The Sparks of Hope playable cast aboard their spaceship.


The Sparks of Hope playable cast aboard their spaceship.

Edge is, well, edgy, as evidenced by her leather jacket, spiky black and green hair, and sword that she literally throws at enemies.

She’s not the type of character that would normally fit into a Mario game, but she’s one of the best Rabbids by far.

With Edge and the more detailed, explorable worlds you see in Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, I’ve come to appreciate the Rabbids.

I don’t like the Rabbids, to be honest, but I see what they bring to the table.

Nintendo’s guidelines for portraying its characters are stricter than ever.

But you don’t have to make Mario and his friends act out for cutscenes when you can have a gang of goofy Rabbids do it for you.

The Rabbids are a huge source of personality for the game.

Mario doesn’t have much to offer other than being a brave hero who likes to yell “Wahoo” regularly.

Luigi at least has a personality, but the Rabbids carry cutscenes and the world itself.

While the worlds you visit are often inspired by Mario, they certainly have more in common with Rabbids, including many of the enemies, NPCs, and more.

It’s not just cutscenes either. Take them into the turn-based, strategic battles and these personalities still shine through.

Their weapons, abilities, and animations are bursting with personality. It’s not just Mario, his friends, and a bunch of Rabbids who look like them anymore.

The world system lets you hop to different planets in the galaxy, and this does a lot to make this game feel more expansive than its predecessor.

Mario and the team must board a spaceship to visit entirely new worlds, each with a specific theme, as you would expect from Mario worlds.

Unlike the endless battles you had to endure in the original game, challenges feel evenly distributed.

You’ll enter a new world, work your way to a dungeon entrance, complete some sort of challenge in that dungeon before defeating the boss, and unlock a variety of side quests and challenges – or you can hop back on the ship to get in to travel a new world.

The dust has settled after the events of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, and now the Rabbids live in peace alongside Toads.

Until Cursa, a cosmic entity that balanced the Sparks, shows up and starts everything again.

Sparks are Rabbid-Luma hybrids, and while they’re important to the story of any world you visit, they also join your party.

Sparks can be added to a character’s loadout and provide them with unique buffs such as: B. increasing the defense of nearby allies or imbuing your weapons with elemental powers.

You now have dozens of optional and quick fights to take part in, but your health is the main thing that will prevent you from accepting each encounter.

It doesn’t heal on its own after every fight.

Some characters can use healing abilities, but place your character in the wrong place and they can run out of health very quickly.

Luckily, you can always pay for full health in the overworld by simply pressing the d-pad, but you won’t earn enough coins for a heal after every fight.

That means you still have to be careful about how often you restore your party.

It also means you’ll engage in a lot more battles than is typical in XCOM-style games, but many of those battles move and end much faster than in other games.

Most small fights are over in about three rounds if you play them right.

Even longer fights rarely last more than six rounds total, with the exception of boss fights, which can be long, multi-phased affairs that require more of your tactical skills.

Where the original Mario + Rabbids felt like an endless march down a linear path filled with drawn-out combat, Sparks of Hope manages to make this feel like a real adventure.

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The different worlds, side quests, and optional battles all do a great deal to make this game feel more like a traditional Mario game and a proper RPG journey.

Even if the original game put you off, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is a massive improvement in almost every way and has made this odd pairing a solid Nintendo series to look forward to in the future.

Mario destroys Rabbid enemies in one of the game's worlds.


Mario destroys Rabbid enemies in one of the game’s worlds.

Written by Dave Aubrey on behalf of GOOD LUCK AND HAVE FUN.

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