Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is a more dynamic take on tactical RPGs

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The gang (and the other gang) is all here!

Enlarge / The gang (and the other gang) is all here!

Even though Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is a sequel to a well-loved crossover, it’s still hard to fathom that it’s a real game. Blending the distinct worlds of Nintendo’s iconic Super Mario franchise and Ubisoft’s raving, oddball Rabbids series, the original Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle took many liberties with its sources. Yet it was still a game that was a passionate tribute to both.

The sequel, thankfully, seems to be leaning further into the strangeness of this odd union while also tapping further into what makes Mario and the Rabbids both so endearing. Just ahead of its planned October 20 release, I got to play several hours of this follow-up to one of the Nintendo Switch’s best tactical RPGs and found a charming and transfixing crossover that adds a bit more vibrancy to its solid predecessor.

Strange bedfellows

On paper, a Mario crossover with Ubisoft’s Rabbids as guests in a tactical role-playing game seems strange, but it’s not too far off from some genres Nintendo has infused with Mario in the past. The Mario + Rabbids series shares a lot of DNA with the likes of Super Mario RPG and the Paper Mario series but within the framework of tactical turn-based strategy systems from more mature games like XCOM or Final Fantasy Tactics.

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