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Sparks of Hope Not as Loved as It Should Be

We have a number of writers here at GamesReviews who have looked at hundreds of games over the past few years. Few have been as loved as Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. What’s crazy, however, is how much hate this game got. So when Nintendo reached out and asked if we wanted to look at Sparks of Hope as part of the Games to Play This Winter, we went outside of our office and had a guest writer who had NEVER played either of the Mario + Rabbids game take it for a spin. Here is what they wrote for the site.


I’m not sure how I missed Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope. In fact, I’m not sure how I missed Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle either. Timing? Other games on my mind? Life issues cropping up? Looking back, I cannot pinpoint what it was, but I did in-fact miss out on both these titles. From afar, they seemed interesting enough I suppose, but as someone who has steered clear of turn based titles over my lifetime of gaming, I guess perhaps that was what turned me off.

I love 3D Mario titles, but I think I love the ability to freely explore my surroundings. It’s why games like Super Mario 3D World + Bowsers Fury are fun to me, but not fantastic. Even Super Mario Bros. Wonder, which did some great things, wasn’t quite what I wanted. I wanted another Mario Odyssey. I wanted a new Mario Sunshine. I wanted a new 3D Mario. And I probably looked at Mario + Rabbids and said, “This isn’t it.”


When Adam approached me with this oppertunity, he noted one key thing – he understood I wasn’t a fan of turn based games, and knew I preferred massive 3D Worlds to 2D or even small areas, like you find in Mario + Rabbids. He wanted to see why there was so much dislike for Mario + Rabbids, and why it didn’t sell as well as he thought it should have. So here I am. Let’s briefly dive in.

Honestly, I had the wrong attitude when starting up Sparks of Hope, and turned it off more than one before actually sitting down for a long session. And perhaps that’s what has caused so many issues. The early moments of Sparks of Hope are not great in my opinion, and I didn’t feel grabbed by the first hour or so. But the more I played, the more enjoyable it got. I went from, “I realize why I didn’t want to play this” to “Why didn’t I realize I should play this!”


It takes all the key elements of a turn based, tactical strategy game and infuses it with Super Mario theming throughout. From the world to the enemies, and the scattered references to Rayman and Rabbids, there is something so charming here that eventually led me to also say, “Why didn’t this game do so much better?”

After making my way through the main story as fast as I could – we cannot get this article posted in the Summer after all, that would defeat the “Winter” theme Nintendo was pushing with these titles – I touched into some of the DLC, and the game continued to deliver. This game did not do as well as Nintendo or Ubisoft wanted, at least as critics would say. But I think about it differently now – this is a fantastic piece of art, with engaging gameplay and tons to discover. It checks all those boxes I had when playing Nintendo games as a kid. Remember entering a level for the first time in Donkey Kong 64? Remember jumping through paintings in Super Mario 64? Remember those wacky courses in Mario Golf: Toadstool’s Tour? I got all those feelings and so much more when exploring this game, and while I’m not sure it’s likely, I’m hoping there is more in the future.

Listen, if you were on the fence about Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle I implore you to look at the game again. It’s such a fantastic title with so much charm. I’m sure you’ll find something to love!


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blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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Twitter: @AdamRoffel