Ubisoft Forward was the first major presentation of E3 2021, kicking off the expo with a slew of new games, updates, and world premieres. One of those world premieres was Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, a sequel to Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, the spinoff that combined Mario characters and locales with the insanity of the Rabbids and the gameplay of XCOM. It was a crossover like no other, and the sequel to one of the best strategy games on the Switch seems to up the ante in every way. Here's everything we know about Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope.
What is Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope?
Mario has had many crossovers in his storied videogame history, but his crossover with the Rabbids was definitely one of the most unique. Mario + Rabbids is a strategy game that borrows elements from XCOM. You control one Mario character along with two Rabbids modeled after some of the Mushroom Kingdom's finest, like Yoshi, Peach, and Luigi. Each character has its own class and weapon, and you must utilize these skills to survive combat encounters.
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is the sequel to the 2017 original, this time taking the crew of familiar Mario characters and their Rabbid doppelgangers into space. The team that worked on the first game has returned, including Creative Director David Soliani and composer Grant Kirkhope, responsible for the music of classic games like Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, and even the DK rap.
In this new game, you're tasked with rescuing the adorable Sparks throughout the galaxy, who provide distinct powers that will help you in battle, while battling an enemy known as Cursa.
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is a new adventure that sees the group traveling across space to defeat a malevolent entity know as Cursa, while collecting Sparks. The group is joined by Rabbid Rosalina, as well as a new, green-haired Rabbid who wields a powerful sword. New enemies join the fight as well; in the sneak peek look at the gameplay, we spotted Bob-Ombs and Goombas, as well as evil Rabbids that resemble shy guys, and another Rabbid that was reminiscent of Captain Toad.
The Lumas from Super Mario Galaxy have been fused with the Rabbids, with each Luma imbuing party members with special abilities. In the gameplay trailer, we see Mario make use of a red Luma to call down a meteor shower. A blue and yellow Luma were also seen in the trailer, though it's unknown what power they'll grant. We think that these mutated Lumas might be the Sparks mentioned on the Nintendo eShop page.
In the cinematic trailer, we also see Mario wielding two guns in each hand, Luigi with a bow and arrow, and Peach with a cannon umbrella, so we expect lots of new weapons to be introduced as well.
Did Nintendo accidentally leak its own game?
It did! Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope was revealed ahead of Ubisoft's E3 show by Nintendo themselves. The Nintendo eShop page went online too early, revealing that the game's reveal was imminent. The first game was also leaked ahead of its reveal back in 2017, so perhaps this was Nintendo's way of keeping with tradition?
Who is playable in Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope?
In the trailer, we spotted Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach, alongside Rabbid Mario, Rabbid Luigi, Rabbid Peach, and Rabbid Rosalina. While Bowser wasn't seen in the trailer, he does appear in the artwork, but it's unknown if he'll be a friend or a foe.
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle also included Yoshi, as well as his Rabbid doppelganger, but he wasn't in the trailer or promotional art. Donkey Kong and Rabbid Cranky, two characters introduced in the DLC chapter Donkey Kong Adventure, have also not appeared. There will be nine playable characters in total, according to the Nintendo eShop page.
When will Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope release?
There's currently no release date for the game outside of a 2022 window. We'll update when we learn more.
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