A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players need to use strategic thinking to plan out battles, considering things like line of sight, elevation, cover, etc. Heavy focus on working as a team, coordinating actions between squad members. Game also requires some light puzzle-solving skills.
Themes of friendship and teamwork. Characters fight against a common foe to save the universe while also helping others in need that cross their path.
Positive Role Models
The heroes are generally good-hearted, friendly, caring. While some personalities, particularly the Rabbids, are over-the-top, they still are willing to stand up for the proverbial little guy. Even Bowser, the villain of most Mario games, sets aside his differences to work with the heroes toward a greater goal.
Human characters are few and far between. Other characters' (e.g., Rabbids, Goombas, etc.) personalities tend to be varied and unique but generally over-the-top and comedic in nature. Male, female, etc., are all presented with equal strength and charisma.
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Ease of Play
Game mechanics are simple enough to learn, but there are a lot of intricacies involved. It's important to factor in character positioning, cover, elevation, and other environmental aspects to be successful in battles. Characters also require a bit of micromanagement when it comes to leveling up, switching weapons, and equipping Sparks.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is persistent in both gameplay and cinematics, though it's slapstick and cartoonish in nature. Characters get shot with umbrella cannons, shocked with lightning, or blown up with stray Bob-ombs, but they simply disappear from the battlefield when defeated.
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Products & Purchases
The base game is a complete experience, but a number of add-on downloads are available for purchase. These include cosmetic items, expansion packs, and a season pass that will unlock new story content as it is released. This is the sequel to 2017's Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is a turn-based strategy/adventure game available for the Nintendo Switch. The game is the direct sequel to 2017's Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. Mario and his pals from the Mushroom Kingdom team up with some of their Rabbid doppelgangers through a series of strategic battles in their quest to save the galaxy from a new looming threat. Combat is constant, but it's slapstick and cartoonish in nature. There's never any blood or graphic violence shown or even implied in the game. Parents should be aware that, while the base game is a complete experience, other content, such as story expansions and cosmetic items, is available as additional purchases.
Is It Any Good?
The crackpot idea of teaming Nintendo's iconic mascot with Ubisoft's loony Rabbids and then topping that off by throwing them into a turn-based strategy game seemed like a crazy concept. And yet, not only was it a huge hit, but it spawned this eagerly anticipated sequel: Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. With some mighty Mario-sized boots to fill, Sparks of Hope does the plumber proud by easily leaping over the high bar set by the original. It does everything a sequel is meant to do and then some.
Sparks of Hope improves on the already impressive first game in just about every way. The game replaces the original's grid-based movement by allowing players to move anywhere within their movement range. The new playable characters don't just expand the roster -- they genuinely add to the story and to the unique strategic possibilities their special abilities bring to the mix, such as using Rabbid Rosalina's ability to put enemies to sleep before taking them out with Edge's ability to dash multiple times in a turn. The planet-hopping theme of the game's plot gives players a wide range of environments to explore and introduces them to an expanded cast of fun characters in the series' ever growing universe. And with all of the extra collectibles, hidden secrets, and side missions to find, it always feels like there's something more to discover. Whether you loved the original or are just experiencing the mayhem of the series for the first time, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is one of the best crossovers in gaming, and a must-play for Switch owners of all ages.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.