The Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope review embargo will be lifted today, even though the game won’t be available until Thursday, October 20. Having said that, being as how I’m currently making my way through Mario’s most recent strategic crossover, I’m not quite prepared to pass judgment just yet. In the interim, however, here are some thoughts based on what could be considered approximately the first half of the game.
I am a fan of the game Kingdom Battle, and what I’ve played of Sparks of Hope has been enjoyable to me. If you enjoyed the fundamental strategic gameplay of the first game, you will probably also appreciate this one because it is very similar to the first game in that regard. Getting rid of the grid and having complete freedom of movement, on the other hand, is one of the most significant changes that can be made to the game.
It’s intriguing because my strategy for playing turn-based tactics games won’t change as a result of this revelation. After making an attack, heroes are unable to move and continue to have limited ranges. But commanding heroes, in the same way, I would in a standard third-person game feels better. It also gives freedom in positioning, which has the potential to make the game more appealing to players who aren’t fans of tactics.
Additionally, I enjoy how Ubisoft Milan applied this principle to the design of the encounters and stages in the game. I enjoy that I can avoid some dangers by simply sprinting out of the path rather than planning steps ahead of time to do so. Certain opponents and level hazards function in real-time, and a lit bob-bomb explodes in seconds regardless of turn order.
The inclusion of strategy in Sparks is very much appreciated. When equipped, these Luma/Rabbid hybrid weapons improve the effectiveness of standard attacks by imbuing them with elemental characteristics, such as fire or ice. Now, before beginning a fight, in addition to the types of enemies and the environment, I have to consider the elemental vulnerabilities of my enemies.
I enjoy how Sparks prompt me to pay more attention to the state of the game; as a result, I frequently switch Sparks between heroes and construct my team by the current situation. Because each hero can equip two Sparks, using them gives everyone the impression that they are more versatile as individuals. To this point, Sparks has also assisted in preventing me from sticking with the same line-up, which is something I appreciate. It is beneficial that the team composition has become more open.
Since I am no longer limited to using only one Mario character and one Rabbid as I was in Kingdom Battle, assembling my teams is now a lot more fun and engaging. Previously, I was only able to employ one of each type of hero.
Exploring the larger, more action-packed overworlds feels like a more gratifying and entertaining experience overall. I have encountered a large number of optional tasks, some of which are simply additional fights, a few enjoyable environmental puzzles, and a few minor minigames that help break up the flow of the main story by preventing me from having to engage in battle after battle after combat.
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They are not the best overworlds I’ve discovered, but Kingdom Battle’s offerings are light years ahead of what these games have to offer. When I obtain new skills that allow me to reach previously inaccessible regions of previously explored worlds, it makes me eager to go back to explore those worlds again so that I can uncover their mysteries.
When it comes to the story itself (yes, there is a storyline), the writing is endearing and not objectionable in any way. Even though the Rabbids only speak in brief words, it is nevertheless unsettling to hear them talk.
However, this is not a catastrophic event. The comedy in the story up to this point is on par with that of an animated film and is directed straight at children, which is entirely acceptable. The humor in Sparks of Hope doesn’t make me laugh out loud, but neither has it caused me to give myself a facepalm.
I still have a lot of games left to play, but Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope feels like the best kind of sequel in the sense that its advancements make me question how we could have put up with the constraints of Kingdom Battle. I say this even though I still have a lot of games left to play.
The battles have been interesting, and it still has that challenging bite that makes the major successes feel like actual accomplishments. I truly enjoy the increased versatility that mobility and combat give, and I find that I have a lot of fun with both. It remains to be seen whether the game maintains its current upward trend, but I must say that I am pleased with what I have played thus far.
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