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Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope Review

OUR SCORE - 9/10

Throughout 2022 we've seen quite a few good tactical RPGs, but one that always sticks out is Mario + Rabbids : Sparks of Hope, After all, we're used to Mario running and jumping over Koopas, not blowing them up with a gun. But suffice it to say, Ubisoft did an amazing job combining the Rabbids and Mario universe. After Kingdom Battle, we were looking eagerly forward to Sparks of Hope. So, how does the sequel hold up? Let's find out.

After the events of the first game, our protagonists find themselves enjoying a well-deserved rest. However, the peace is interrupted when a space entity threatens to destroy everything in its path. Immediately, Mario and company spring into action. Repelling the first attack, they discover something totally unexpected. The Lumas, those creatures that we first saw in Super Mario Galaxy , have merged with the Rabbids, and have created the Sparks, a powerful race that has become the main target of the villain in turn, Cursa.

Sparks of Hope introduces a pair of never-before-seen Rabbids, who cast aside the jokes to offer something new for this species. On the one hand, we have Rabbid Rosalina. The zero energy she brings to the table contrasts nicely with the rest of the rabbits, and she's sure to become your favorite character. Similarly, the game introduces us to Edge, a Spark Hunter, who is the idealized version of someone cool, something that is not only reflected in his design, but also in his attitude. These two cases are the most striking of the title, and considering that they are part of our team, they are an addition that gives a greater variety to the group dynamics.

While the humor of the Rabbids is something that not many are willing to accept, especially considering that some see them as the Minions of video games, Sparks of Hope does a good job of showing that this is not always the case.

While Kingdom Battle gave us a fairly traditional run through Mario's world, Sparks of Hope takes the plumber and company into outer space. Although some traditional characteristics of the series are preserved, we can also see a series of elements that offer a clear visual identity to this sequel. Although on this occasion we can visit various planets, most have an aesthetic that we have already seen, although their themes manage to make these locations feel like something completely new.

Thanks to Ubisoft's Snowdrop, Mario and company look amazing. In this sense, Edge manages to stand out from the rest. Unlike the other Rabbids, who only dress the same way as his counterparts, the Spark Hunter manages to stand out with his purple jacket and shirt, as well as his black and green hair. More than anything, this goes to show that the European company is capable of doing something more with these characters than just crazy faces with the same white rabbit design that we have seen for years.

However, not everything is perfect. Although visually Sparks of Hope is one of the best games we can find on the Switch, technically the story is different. During exploration, the frame rate doesn't always offer a steady 30fps experience. But seeing as this a slow, deliberate and strategy game, that's not a dealbreaker at all.

From start to finish, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is a delight to the ears. On this occasion, Grant Kirkhope, who was in charge of the music for Kingdom Battle , is not only back, but this section is joined by Gareth Coker, recognized for his work in Ori and the Blind Forest , and Yoko Shimomura, legendary composer who, among her extensive repertoire, participated in the Mario & Luigi series. It goes without saying, but the soundtrack of this new installment is spectacular.

In a year full of tactical games, it can be a bit difficult to take the first steps in this genre. Fortunately, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is a fantastic entry point that gives us the opportunity to enjoy a highly accessible experience, with a difficulty that is in the perfect midd le ground, and has enough customization for you to experience with the combat system in all its glory.

Alongside this, the skill tree is back, thus offering greater customization when choosing what the focus of a certain character is. For example, Rabbid Luigi specializes in reducing opponents' attacks through physical hits, so an emphasis should be placed on buffs that increase the number of sweeps he can perform in turn. On the other hand, Luigi attacks from a distance with his bow, so extending his field of vision is a priority.

The other great improvement that Sparks of Hope presents us with compared to Kingdom Battle , is the freedom of movement in the scenarios. Each of the fights takes place on an invisible grid. All characters have a certain range of motion, and the big change this time around is that you no longer have to use Beep-O to make Luigi go back and forth in a certain way, similar to games like Fire Emblem. Instead, you can now control whoever you want at any time to position them wh ere you think is the best place to attack or use an ability.

The game's campaign, despite offering something we've already seen countless times, manages to be fun thanks to the characterization of the Rabbids, and the introduction of the new characters is more than welcome. Despite the frame rate problems, the game looks spectacular, with different themes very well handled and a first-rate visual style. Whether you're a tactical RPG veteran or a total newcomer to the genre, Sparks of Hope is an easy game to recommend.


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