Game news Mario + The Rabbids Sparks of Hope: simple sequel or brand new video game for the whole family on Nintendo Switch?
Published on 18/10/2022 at 17:30
On paper, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is a real UFO. Except that Ubisoft has already offered this atypical formula. It was in 2017 with Mario + The Rabbids and it was quite excellent, despite a risky bet! After that, is it still possible to renew the formula? It sounds complicated, and yet that’s the promise the developers make to us. So, is the Nintendo Switch exclusive a deceptive sequel or a genuine new game?
The following text is a transcript of the test video at the top of the page.
Everything is beautiful in Mario and the Rabbids A tactical more accessible and complex than ever…… but not simple for all that Shorter than Kingdom Battle So, what is Mario + The Rabbids Sparks of Hope worth?
Everything rolls for Mario, Peach, Luigi and the Rabbits, who are still just as stupid of course. Their stupidity makes daily life hectic in the Mushroom Kingdom. But at least we never get bored and the good mood is there. But that was before Cursa arrived to unleash her dark curse. The rest, we begin to know: Mario and the Rabbits will have to go on an adventure to save the surrounding planets and put Cursa out of harm’s way.
Everything is beautiful in Mario and the Rabbids
All in the ship and let’s go! Palette Prime, Beacon Beach, Pristine Peaks… Choose the planet you like and expect to be amazed. If you like colors and decorations à la Mario, there is plenty to find what you are looking for. Even better : the environments are surprisingly varied. With Mario Odyssey and the others, we were able to see different planets. But if some kingdoms of Mario + The Rabbids Sparks of Hope have a little air of deja vu, the game still manages to surprise us with environments that we are not used to seeing in this universe. And what about the 34 minutes of hand-made cutscenes that are very nice to watch ? Everything is going well, even if we note some concerns of fluidity in docked. But not enough to deprive Sparks of Hope of its sparkling charm, both in terms of visuals and atmosphere.
The humor of Rabbids is at the rendezvous. Always as stupid, they are as quirky as caricatural… sometimes even a little too much. But nothing surprising in that! If you like rabbit humor, you will be delighted. If not, you’ll be left behind, that’s for sure. On the other hand, the narration is surprisingly neat. The lore of each planet and the story of their guardian is skillfully distilled throughout exploration. To follow, it’s a real pleasure! On the overall scenario side, however, we are not straying from the beaten track. But hey, the main interest of Mario and Rabbids has always been more the gameplay than the story. And at this level, this sequel really folds the cards… or rather the Sparks.
A tactical more accessible and complex than ever…
There’s a lot to say about the gameplay of Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. So let’s start with the basics: it is a tactical accessible to all. The idea is to renew a formula as old as the world and rather austere. It worked in Kingdom Battle and it’s a full box for Sparks of Hope which took the risk of sweeping away one of the emblematic characteristics of tactical: the squares on the ground. It gives very free movement in combat, limited only to an area. Area that can be enlarged by using the many mechanics of the game such as team jumping or special boxes. Therefore, the fights become very fluid and pleasant, far from the frustration that classic tactical can cause for neophytes, while adding new elements to take into account in your strategy.
And that’s not all ! Have you heard of the Sparks? These little creatures between Lumas and Rabbids are great allies in the battle against Cursa. They allow your heroes to use defensive or offensive effects in combat. Far from being simple boosts, they are an important tactical element. Before each fight, it will indeed be necessary to analyze the terrain and the enemies in order to equip the appropriate Sparks, otherwise winning will be very complicated.
There are also objects to use, real-time elements, a modular team, personalized skills for each hero, different types of fights (survival, area to reach…), interesting bosses… In short, there is enough to change the gameplay a bit and adapt your style of play accordingly. Everything is presented by a much better thought out and fairly intuitive interface. In addition to some rhythm problems at times, it’s a solid hit for fights that strike the perfect balance between true tactics and accessibility.
Another interesting balance: that between the fights and the exploration phases. If the latter were rather light in Battle Kingdom, Sparks of Hope sees things big. We therefore find a structure similar to a Mario Odyssey (with less scope eh): planets to explore following a main plot but with small challenges and other puzzles to complete on the side. Not enough to search for moons for hours, but still enough to have a good time picking up the different planetary pieces. Add to that the possibility of dodging or not certain fights and Beep-0 which offers interesting puzzle mechanics thanks to Sparks and you get surprisingly rich and enjoyable exploration sessions, which almost make us think of a new game rather than just a sequel.
…but still not easy
As we said, Mario + The Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is a simplified tactical, but it is not simple for all that. Clearly, if you don’t pay attention to your Sparks, items, or team composition, you’re going to be pissed off. Ubisoft’s game is a real tactical one and its fights should not be taken lightly. Even in easy mode, you can quickly take a beating if you’re not careful. Because yes, there are difficulty modes in Sparks of Hope, four to be precise: three defined, one personalized.
Always in this idea of being accessible, the game lets you adjust different parameters as you like and when you want. Before each fight, it is possible to change the difficulty easily and quickly and that helps not to freak out in the face of overly tough enemies. It can also allow younger audiences to try their hand at the genre in a fun way, even if Sparks of Hope is clearly not a kid’s game.
Note that for the levels, the progression is well thought out. The further you go, the higher the enemies level. But the xp is earned very quickly and allows you to always be on the spot. Normally, it is impossible to arrive on a world with a significant difference in level compared to the monsters that inhabit it. No need to chain fights and explore every corner of each planet before you can move forward. But if we can give you some advice, at least try to look for the few hidden Sparks to have the most possible advantages during the fights. And if you prefer to trace until the conclusion, it will always be possible to come back for them a little later.
Plus court que Kingdom Battle
100% amateur, here is a game that will be as pleasant as it is quick to complete. Nice and varied puzzles, sometimes tough challenges, new fights… Sparks of Hope is full of small elements to explore for rich and pleasant content to discover. 5 planets and guardians to save, 30 sparks to unlock, 6 bosses, 9 heroes (including several exclusive ones)… There is plenty to do ! Replayability level, be aware that certain quests and areas will only be accessible after having advanced or even finished the story. We do not recommend, for example, to rub shoulders with one of the epic enemies if you have not yet finished the main plot. There is therefore a real interest in restarting the game once the final boss has been defeated.
On paper, Sparks of Hope is thicker than Kingdom Battle BUT the game is surprisingly shorter. Less than 15 hours to finish the main story and barely 10 more to reach 100%. So yes, the game does not risk becoming too repetitive, which is a good point. But we still expected a little more, just as we would have liked to find Yoshi and Rabbit Yoshi or a co-op mode that have purely and simply disappeared. As we know, the game is counting on its next DLC to expand in terms of content, but as it stands some may find it a bit light.
So what is Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope worth?
Mario + The Rabbids: Sparks of Hope breaks the codes of classic tactics a little more to offer us a more hybrid experience than ever. It is accessible and difficult at the same time, mixes tactical fights and free exploration and emancipates itself from its predecessor by offering new game sensations. If it is the worthy successor, Sparks of Hope is much more than a simple sequel to Kingdom Battle. Ubisoft has the formula you need to attract all types of players, from neophytes to tactical fans, including young people looking for new experiences. Mario + The Rabbids: Sparks of Hope could well become the mainstream hit of this end of the year for the Nintendo Switch. At least, it has plenty of potential and fully deserves its excellent 17 out of 20.
About Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
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