At the beginning of September, we were received by Ubisoft on their premises to test for a few hours Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, the next game exclusive to Nintendo Switch. This is the sequel to Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle which was released in 2017.
With more than 10 million players on the first opus, this sequel is eagerly awaited by many fans. A few days ago we had the chance to put our hands on the title for several hours to discover the new adventures of Mario. We’re giving you our first review now!
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Mario and the Rabbids are back!
We were therefore able to play the game for about three hours at Ubisoft’s premises at the beginning of September with the developers of Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope. A good opportunity to be able to browse the first levels of the game, discover the new features and exchange with the creators to ask them questions.
The first sequence that we were able to approach is quite simply the prologue of the game which takes place at Peach’s castle. Not much to say on that side, except that from the first minutes, we realize that the title is rather pretty. The first opus released in 2017 was already very nice graphically, we can clearly see that this sequel is improving. Unfortunately, it’s the limits of the Switch that will cause concern, with a lot of aliasing on certain textures. Although on this point, it is still too early to take this seriously given that we played a version in development.
The humor found in Rabbids games is confirmed and this promises to give us many more crazy moments throughout our adventure.
Very quickly, we are invited to test the first world of the game with Beacon Beach. The first opus was very “hallway game” oriented. We had to follow a path through different levels and chain the battles. With this sequel, Ubisoft offers planets to explore in the open world allowing us to follow a main objective that we reach after several battles. But we can also explore and do side activities, solve mysteries or increase the level of our character in optional battles. Moreover, when you are not in the main frame of the game and you are exploring, you can avoid battles by dodging your enemies.
The most interesting in this Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is of course the battles and new gameplay. First of all, Ubisoft ditched the ground grid system and moves no longer count as “one move”. This adds a lot of dynamism to the game and keeps the “tactical” side while making it more accessible to novices who are not necessarily used to it.
Like the first game, this sequel is all about strategy. By being more free of your movements, you can choose to attack, then take cover, or vice versa. You can take cover first to make sure you don’t take any stray bullets and attack. As in the first game, you have additional abilities, special moves, etc.
After an hour of trying our hand to relearn the basics of gameplay on this first world, we are invited to discover a second planet, Pristine Peaks, which we discover a little further in the adventure in order to test the fights a bit more technical.
The main novelty is the Sparks. These are the little stars that you will have to seek out and save and that will become true allies during your battles. Sparks allow you to have additional skills and be able to perform attacks of different types (fire, ice, electric and more). They therefore enter directly into the strategy since the enemies that you will have in front of you will have weak points that you can discover before each battle thanks to Beep-0, the robot that accompanies us throughout the adventure.
At the beginning of the game, you will face simple two-player battles. But during the game, the level will increase in difficulty and you will therefore chain the fights to three. As for the opponents, they will also be more formidable and they will also use special moves to better hit you. The tactic and strategy side is still as important in this sequel.
A very convincing first approach
After three hours of play, the discovery of two worlds and a dozen battles, our opinion on this Mario + Rabbids Sparks Of Hope is necessarily very positive. The first opus in 2017 was already very good. With this first grip, we have the impression that the Ubisoft teams have taken all the best things from the first episode, to improve them and add new features that are welcome.
With the ability to move freely, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope keeps that “tactical” edge, but makes its gameplay more dynamic, action-focused. The game will appeal to fans of the genre, but it will also be able to appeal much more to novices who are not used to this kind of game.
The tactical part is even more interesting with the use of Sparks which can clearly tip the battle one way or the other. It will still be necessary to be a little patient to make a final opinion on the title. Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is due out October 20, exclusively on Nintendo Switch.
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