Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope Review

It’s time to talk about Super Mario. He has had many adventures over the years but if you think about it the games have seemed to be drying up a bit lately. You just don’t see them coming out with the same amount of titles that they used to. It’s a real shame to be honest but it means that you have to really appreciate the ones that you do get. I finally got this game and it’s definitely a great title. I would say it easily beats the first one. I would still rather the rabbids be cut out entirely so it’s just the Mario characters though.

The story starts with Mario and friends needing to fight once more when a villain known as Cursa appears. This foe is so powerful, so evil that it threatens to destroy the entire universe. Mario and friends will have to team up with their Rabbid counterparts to fight this threat off but will those rabbids only serve to speed up the heroes’ defeat? That may have been the case but this time there is another member of the group named Edge. This isn’t a rabbid version of anybody and yet she is extremely powerful so her whole persona is a mystery. She clearly is keeping some secrets but perhaps Mario and friends are too so they all need to keep each other at arm’s length.

Like the first game this is a tactical title which is always fun since there aren’t a ton of those. You get to really enjoy playing as all of the characters too since they all have different abilities and strengths. Ultimately my main lineup was Mario, Rabbid Peach, and Edge. For the first half of the game I used normal Peach but eventually the healing skills were just more efficient for me than the barriers. You can use the terrain to your advantage and if you really master each ability then you will be coasting through this one in no time. If not, then the game can actually be rather difficult. It’s not for the faint of hart and there is no true way to grind out levels here because you don’t get exp for beating normal minions. I’d have preferred if you could just level up like crazy but I understand if the game just wanted to make this one a little more difficult. It’s certainly the right way to approach that goal since it forces you to really use your head.

The game has element typing too so you want to pick the right one to use at an enemy or you will suffer its wrath. The gameplay was definitely developed really well. You can feel the attention to detail there. This can even compete with Disgaea in just how many mechanics you have to think about and how streamlined they all are. You will definitely be having fun playing the game at all times as a result. There’s a whole lot to enjoy here and the game is a pretty decent length. I’d say it’ll take you around 13-15 hours to complete the story. After that you also have replay value to go and beat the rest of the sub quests. I’m not sure exactly what this gets you so that’ll determine if it’s really worth it or not but at least beating the story will still take some time.

Edge was a great addition to the cast because she’s a lot more serious than the other Rabbids. They all talk in this game but the others’ dialogue is usually quite dreadful so you want to ignore it the whole time. Edge at least has real things to say and is important to the plot. Put her in an even more serious setting and she would absolutely thrive while the other characters would really falter. Edge is built different and of course her gameplay is also fantastic. I recommend getting her the 4 dashes immediately. If you pair that with the increased movement and each dash getting stronger then it is a very lethal attack combination. It helped me a whole lot in the final levels.

Then Cursa makes for a pretty solid villain as well. Great design and good powers all around. I would have liked some real dialogue from Cursa though, that would have helped make the villain a lot more high tier. Still a strong villain though and an improvement over all of the forgettable villains from the first game. This one had on screen presence which is important. Also some good backstory and in general the game’s story was way better than the first one. The first did have a story too but far less dialogue and lower stakes so this one improved in every way.

In general that was a solid point for this game which is that it did improve upon the first one in virtually every area. That is a lot harder to do than you would expect after all. It’s always tempting to add some kind of annoying gimmick or something but Nintendo restrained themselves. All of the mechanics actually make sense within the framework of the game which is super important. Additionally, the graphics are excellent here. This looks like a AAA Nintendo game and I suppose it should since that really is the game in a nutshell. This is meant to tide us over for the next big Mario game after all.

In closing I would just say to focus your upgrades on each character’s special moves. They all share general upgrades as well like longer glide distance and more health but each time it just seems to be more worth your while to go for the character specific abilities. 4 dashes for Edge worked wonders and I got Mario’s reaction ability to strike twice every turn. These are the kinds of abilities that will pay dividends almost immediately. You absolutely want to have these abilities on hand. Then if you have a healer you can methodically take the enemies down and keep it moving. In most cases you want to go fast since new enemies will keep on spawning.

Overall, This was a great game. It had solid gameplay, the graphics were great, soundtrack was on point, etc. The game was very solid all around which is critical to being a great game and since the price won’t be getting much lower I would suggest buying the game now. You may as well after all and dive into the hype now. We’ll see if they make a third one at some point although I think they should keep the gameplay style but have them crossover with something else instead. Imagine Mario teaming up with Sonic or Mega Man instead? Now that would be a blast and a half for sure.

Overall 8/10


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