Mario + Rabbids threw me when it was first announced. Mario XCom with Rabbids shenanigans? It can’t work. Can it? Well, when Kingdom Battle first came out, I waited about a week and then jumped in with both feet. Mario + Rabbids are like peanut butter and chocolate. They shouldn’t work together. And yet…
So this week when the sequel Sparks of Hope was released, I was ready to jump in without waiting. Considering I was having a pretty hard week, the timing was great. Too tired for Bloodborne, the turn-based nature of Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope lets me still play.
And Sparks of Hope is almost everything I thought it would be.
That almost might put some people off, but let me explain. It’s a small niggle, not a huge problem. Gameplay-wise, Sparks of Hope is great. You start with most of the abilities you earned in Kingdom Battle. So things like moving boxes you can do from the start of the game.
There are new abilities to unlock to help on the overworld though, so exploration is still a key element. And the story explanation of how you earn new abilities makes sense, as the ‘Sparks’ are what you work with.
The niggle is the story itself, or at least the start of it. These new creatures, the Sparks, appear and are being chased by the big bad. Being Mario, you set off to help save the day. That’s it. That’s the setup. And I have almost zero investment in it so far. This is the only part of Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope that I felt has let me down.
But there are plenty of games I have powered through giving the story barely a glance. Mario + Rabbids seems to be the latest in this trend. Actually playing the game and enjoying the battles is exactly what I hoped for.
I will be taking my Switch to the work conference this week, and I am guessing will finish a fair chunk of the story. Only time will tell. For now, all I can say is if you enjoyed Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, Sparks of Hope is well worth your time.