Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope: We were not expecting much from Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, yet we were pleasantly surprised. Everything that made the first game so much fun to play has been expanded upon in Sparks of Hope.
Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, the sequel to 2017’s Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, expands on its predecessor in some ways that succeed and in others that don’t.
Even the most optimistic gamers were skeptical of the first game before it came out, yet it turned out to be a smashing success because it stayed true to the absurdity of the idea of merging these two IPs while creating a game that was enjoyable for anyone who picked up a controller.
Reviews were overwhelmingly positive, and players praised the game’s characters, unique mechanics, and tactical role-playing. Sparks of Hope is the sequel to the original game, released five years later.
Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope Adds Even More to Kingdom Battle’s Foundation
The sequel, Sparks of Hope, does an excellent job of expanding upon the game’s established tenets. The tactical turn-based combat introduced in Kingdom Battle, which is novel to some players, is used once more, but this time with a higher level of refinement.
The new battle system is more adaptable and open to experimentation than the original’s grid-based movement. This alleviates the pressure of perfectly timing abilities, but executing other maneuvers requires tactical finesse. All in all, it feels like a huge step up over the first game.
The RPG-style worlds in Sparks of Hope are reminiscent of Mario Odyssey more than they are of Kingdom Battle. Like in role-playing games, this enables players to talk to NPCs and undertake optional missions.
The first game was more in keeping with the classic Mario style with planets separated into levels that the player progressed through in a sequential fashion. The game now feels less like a throwback to the Super Nintendo and more like a cutting-edge adventure. Moreover, it appears to be closer to what players expect from a AAA game.
We’re recruiting Bowser to our team of Heroes in Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope on today’s stream! Join Ubisoft News to check out the story battles, side quests, and cozy autumn vibes on the third planet, Palette Prime. Live right now on Twitch.
— Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope (@MarioRabbids) November 2, 2022
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle Still Does Some Things Better
Writing-wise, Kingdom Battle is far superior to Sparks of Hope. Some of the design choices in the new game are baffling, such as the use of voice actors for popular characters like Rabbid Peach. Some of these ludicrous characters even have voice acting, which detracts from the game’s atmosphere and makes little sense.
The initial game’s script has the same kind of silly, universally endearing humor as the Minions. But the sequel does have its moments of corniness. This, along with the fact that the game’s visual features don’t seem to improve on the first at all—in fact, they seem worse in certain parts—makes the sequel a little underwhelming at times, considering that these were two of the main draws of the previous game.
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Overall, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is a fantastic sequel that, despite some questionable design choices, provides a satisfying and enjoyable experience. Although Mario is a gaming legend, the Mario + Rabbids concept is still novel, thus some growing pains are to be expected from the sequel.
Both games are highly recommended for their own unique reasons, and given the acclaim Sparks of Hope has received so far, we can only hope that Ubisoft and Nintendo will work together again on another exciting adventure in the near future.
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