After showing off a new trailer at yesterday’s Nintendo Direct Mini, Ubisoft had a dedicated showcase today for their upcoming game Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope where we saw a whole host of new information for the game. This is a sequel to 2017’s Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and promises to be better than ever, with new characters, new innovations to the tactics-based combat and a new approach to explorable play areas.
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is set to release on October 20th, 2022 exclusively on the Nintendo Switch and is available for pre-order through the official Ubisoft Store. There is also a Gold Edition of the game available for pre-order, which gives players access to the season pass containing ‘upcoming DLC packs, including additional story content featuring new characters, quests, and battles’ as well as the Galactic Prestige Pack of weapons.
Check out another article from KeenGamer here: YU-GI-OH! MASTER DUEL FOUR MONTHS LATER – WHAT CAN BE CHANGED
New Mario + Rabbids Character Details
We got to see a closer look at 3 of the new characters coming to Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope: Bowser, Edge and Rabbid Rosalina.
Mario’s arch-enemy Bowser joins the roster as the party’s ‘heavy hitter’. The only new Mario series character to be added, Bowser joins the group so that he can ultimately take back his underlings from Cursa’s control, lending his strength and firepower to Mario’s cause.
Bowser wields a bazooka-like weapon, and he is able to deal AOE damage to any enemies he hits with his main weapon. He is also seen jumping off of other characters later in the showcase, meaning that he isn’t restricted to the ground despite his large size.
Compared to the other characters, Bowser definitely seems to be taking up the ‘tank’ role, able to dole out heavy damage with his weapon as well as soak it up.
Edge is one of the new Rabbid characters we were introduced to when the game was first announced, but today we finally got their name.
They wield a massive sword, which we see them throwing forward to hit multiple enemies in a wide range. As stated in the trailer, Edge seems eager to join Mario in his fight so expect them to be a very close range and high damage dealer.
With her counterpart nowhere in sight, fans will have to make do with this sleepy, unenthusiastic Rabbid instead.
Rabbid Roslina wields a rapid fire weapon in the shape of a stuffed Luma called ‘The Klaboomer’. We get to see a brief look at her unique character technique, which involves putting all the enemies surrounding her to sleep. She appears to be playing a more supportive role, perhaps as a debuffing unit compared to other characters like Princess Peach (whose character technique shields her surrounding allies).
Combat Changes in Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
The original Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was praised for its surprisingly deep and challenging combat and the sequel promises that and more with a round of tweaks and adjustments to the combat systems.
No More Grid
Firstly, the combat is now separate from exploring the overworld. In the original, the combat maps were built into the levels you explored, meaning that you had to engage with every encounter as you came across it. In Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, the overworld is separate and the player must actively run into and attack enemies in the overworld, which will then teleport them to a battle map.
Alongside this, there is no more movement grid. Each character previously had a set number of squares that they could move on a grid, but in the sequel they have done away with this system in favour of a fixed amount of movement. While in that character’s movement circle, they can move and position themselves as much as they want, allowing for more strategy and planning for players.
More Diverse Weaponry
Each character also has their own unique weapons. In Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, each character had unique aspects to their kit but they shared weapon types (shotgun, sniper, exc.). In Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, each character gets a unique weapon that is unique to them.
Mario wields a set of twin blasters, allowing him to hit multiple enemies in a single attack even if they are not next to one another. Luigi wields a long ranged bow, and he even gets a damage bonus depending on how far away he is from the enemy he is attacking. Rabbid Mario has two massive gauntlets that allow them to do massive damage at close range, while Rabbid Luigi has a gadget that bounces between targets.
Alongside this, each character has their own unique technical move, which provides certain benefits and bonuses depending on the user: as previously stated, Princess Peach shields her allies whereas Rabbid Roslina puts all those around them to sleep. Rabbid Mario was also mentioned, where they can set up a deadly counterattack for any enemy that attacks them.
Pairing this alongside new aspects of the combat experience, such as certain enemies like Bob-ombs being able to be activated and thrown at other foes, and the roster of playable characters appears more interesting and customisable than ever.
Enhanced Movement Capabilities
Movement abilities have also been enhanced in Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope.
In addition to the move away from the grid style of play, the movement options have been expanded. Characters are still able to bounce and propel other characters around the battlefield like they did in the first game, but now they are able to glide around the arena once they have jumped. This allows players more options in where they go and what they do after they land.
Certain attacks have also been updated, such as Mario’s stomp. Now he is able to stomp an enemy from a glide, before going back into a glide to continue moving. Other abilities like this are sure to be in the game, augmenting the player’s ability to both move around in battle and to reposition for an advantageous end result.
Sparks are a new kind of ability in Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope.
These are like summonable partners who will augment the combat portions of the game. There are a vast number of Sparks (who are the slightly disturbing combination of Luma and Rabbid) whose elements appear to range from water to ice to lightning and more. It appears that any character can equip any Spark, as we see several characters using the same Spark throughout the gameplay, meaning that there is a choice in who you give your enhanced Spark abilities too.
The abilities granted by the Sparks include a paralysis and DOT from the lightning one (as seen when Luigi shoots a pack of enemies after being enhanced by its power) and a massive and high damaging ice storm from the ice Spark. Other Sparks seen include one similar to the Baby Luma that accompanies Mario in Mario Galaxy and even a black one being used by Bowser. Overall, Sparks seem to be a very beneficial part of the combat experience, one that continues to deepen the tactical and strategic aspects of the game.
Rabbids are the main enemy of the Mario + Rabbids series, usually as horrific hybrids, but they aren’t the only enemy in Sparks of Hope.
Classic Mario enemies such as Goombas and Bob-ombs have been sighted, as well as Thomps aiding strange looking Rabbid enemies. More new enemies include Rabbids that look like tigers, Cursa’s mask wearing minions, even ghostly looking Rabbid enemies. It gives the game a nice shot in the arm, where every encounter is diverse in its variety of enemies and how to approach them.
New Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope Levels and Play Areas
We got a new look at several different biomes and areas that Mario and friends will be exploring in their journey throughout the galaxy.
New Worlds To Explore
Each of these new worlds seems to be an entirely new planet, meaning that there are a lot of possibilities for what the game can offer in terms of environmental diversity. So far we have seen a autumn coloured wood and beach land area, a wrecked boat, a snowy forest complete with a decrepit old mansion at it’s heart, underground caves and tunnels filled with puzzles and Cursa’s horrible black goop, and more. There even seems to be some ancient temple like areas, which could serve as endgame areas.
The original game also had a lot of unique areas, but Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope seems to be reaching for even more than its predecessor.
NPCs and Side Quests
Another new aspect is the introduction of more NPCs and side quests within each of these biomes. Quests and NPCs were in the original, such as a whole host of collectables and puzzles to unlock new weapons, but they were never to the extent being shown of in Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope.
We get to see several new faces, ranging from a tiny Rabbid with a massive backpack, a moustachioed sailor Rabbid defending an icy keep, a Rabbid who looks like Poseidon named Augie and a Rabbid lumberjack with a beaver companion.
These characters look interesting enough on their own, but the showcase mentions that each of these characters and more will provide the cast unique side quests that make them engage with the new explorable spaces. This may include finding and colleting specific creatures in the overworld or even completing a puzzle with the famous blue coins of Mario’s past. The worlds themselves seem brimming with new activities, puzzles and quests to complete.
The Legends Behind The Music of Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
The showcased closed with a brief mention of who is composing for the game.
The composer of the original, Grant Kirkhope (Golden Eye 007, Banjo & Kazooie) has returned to make the world and planets feel alive with new music. He isn’t alone, however, as two new composer have also joined to lend their talents to the game.
The first is Gareth Koker, a British composer well known for his work on Ori and the Blind Forest, Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Halo: Infinite. The second is the famous Yoko Shimomura who is known for her work on the Kingdom Hearts franchise and beyond. With all three of these incredibly talented composers working together, the score of Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is shaping up to be something really special.
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope launches October 20th 2022 and more information on the game can be found on the official Mario + Rabbids website.