During the E3 2021 Ubisoft Foward event, players everywhere got a first look at the sequel to Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. In Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, Mario and the Rabbids are back on an even more fantastic adventure. For those that have never played, these games are a fun blend of Nintendo, Rabbids, and strategy gameplay. As someone who was not interested in tactical games beforehand, this series made me change my tune. So was I excited to see the sequel announced today? You bet your gold coins I was! Below is what we learned about the game from the trailers and developers themselves.
New Faces and Places
From the cinematic trailer alone, we see Mario, Luigi, and Peach alongside Rabbid Peach, Rabbid Luigi, and newcomer Rabbid Rosalina. Each character wields brand-new weapons that are more integrated with their personality. For instance, Peach has ditched the Boomshot and now holds a cannon-infused parasol, which harkens to her parasol attacks in the Super Smash Bros series and Super Princess Peach. Additionally, we are introduced to the Sparks: fusions of Rabbids and Lumas (from Super Mario Galaxy). A terrifying entity is consuming Sparks throughout the galaxy, so it is up to Mario and the gang to stop this foe and save the day!
But I’m sure those won’t be the only faces we meet throughout the game. During the gameplay sneak peek trailer (and cover art), we see a mysterious female punk Rabbid. While she doesn’t directly resemble anyone in the Mario canon, her hairstyle and spikey eyebrows appear eerily similar to Bowser’s. Could this be Ubisoft‘s take on Bowsette? And will this Rabbid prove friend or foe? We’ll just have to wait until 2022 to find out.
In addition to some new characters, players can look forward to exploring an entire galaxy! This expansive setting is a considerable leap from the land-locked location of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. By traveling to each planet and freeing them from evil, you will collect additional Sparks and uncover their secrets. I love that this game is leaning into the Super Mario Galaxy element a ton – not just with characters, but also the setting and plot. You can truly feel how much the team behind this game loves the Mario franchise.
The core of the Mario + Rabbids series is its tactical strategy gameplay. Each character comes with a unique set of moves and abilities, and it is up to you to decide your team’s makeup for the best battle. Once on the field, players can take their time and figure out the best moves for their team to defeat as many enemies as possible while avoiding damage. As I stated earlier, I was a newcomer to the strategy gaming world. But this series offers various options (including Easy Mode) that make the games fun for anyone, regardless of skill level. So we can expect the gameplay of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle in this sequel, with a few added updates.
One of these known updates is the Sparks. Along with being plot points, Sparks also come with unique abilities that will help players during battle. Towards the end of the gameplay showcase, we see Mario’s fire Spark perform a powerful finishing attack. These new abilities will add a whole new level of thrilling gameplay to the series. Finally, there is also the rumor that the alpha gameplay showcased today was from…(dramatic pause) a Nintendo Switch Pro. Could this be a hint of what we can expect this Tuesday during the E3 2021 Nintendo Direct? Only time will tell.
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