With the breakout collaboration between Ubisoft and Nintendo set to return with Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, the sequel will introduce some significant changes with its titular Sparks. Taking heavy inspiration from Super Mario Galaxy, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope will see Rabbids and Luma fused to form “Sparks” that appear to be integral to the game’s plot and mechanics. Sparks of Hope will see Mario and other fan-favorite characters return alongside newcomers like Bowser and Rabbid Rosalina, all venturing across the galaxy to save the Sparks.

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Many previous mechanics from the original Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle seem to have been overhauled to make way for the Sparks. From the removal of status effects to techniques being translated into Sparks’ effects, Sparks of Hope is shaping up to be a drastically different experience. Since Sparks will not be exclusive to the player, these changes add significant variety to combat that should be fun yet challenging to master, with each Spark having different strengths and weaknesses.

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Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope’s Gameplay Changes

Marketing for the upcoming sequel has been centered around the biggest changes made to overall gameplay in Sparks of Hope. For example, gone is the linear level design of Kingdom Battle in favor of Sparks of Hope having an open overworld. Other changes to the game have been overshadowed, such as the removal of status effects, but with the introduction of Sparks and their elements and abilities, Sparks of Hope will be a vastly different game compared to Kingdom Battle.

Prior to each battle, players will be able to swap out their Sparks and determine the best strategies for combat. Sparks will take over previous mechanics, such as Aquanox assuming the Bounce status effect or Vampdash making Rabbid Luigi’s technique available for other characters. Beyond this, they will introduce new abilities such as Ethering, which turns the player briefly invisible; or Reflector, which can bounce enemy attacks back. Though many Sparks have been confirmed ahead of the official release, it seems more are yet to be revealed.

Sparks Contribute to Diverse Combat

Sparks of Hope, seems to not just be reworking Kingdom Battle’s mechanics for the sake of a sequel, but building on them to offer more diverse combat encounters. Kingdom Battle only offered nine possible status effects, while Sparks of Hope practically doubles this when it comes to equipable Sparks. The intention seems to be to adding greater choice for players, and early previews of Sparks of Hope are already celebrating the variety Sparks add to combat, how they can synergize with different characters, and how they can be tailored to individual players’ gameplay styles.

By focusing much of the combat modification mechanics on Sparks, it should allow players to best understand how to best apply each one, with whom, and where. The streamlined approach will also give players unique situations in combat, such as combining Vampdash and Regenesis to constantly recoup a character’s health, or Reflector and Glitter to draw enemies in and turn their own attacks against them. With a variety of enemies in Sparks of Hope to experiment with and find the right combinations and strategies, options should be endless.

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is set to release on October 20, exclusively for Nintendo Switch.

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