We worried that by the time the October 20th release date for Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope rolled around, fans would be burned out on the franchise due to the sheer volume of content they had been exposed to over the preceding few months. Today is the day that all eyes have been waiting for, and the reviews are published for everybody to read. Was all the attention necessary? Here is the most up-to-date summary we’ve got!
However, before discussing the opinions of other critics, we should share our own. We gave Sparks of Hope an 8 out of 10 in our review and called it “a must-play for Mario and strategy game enthusiasts alike” despite some concerns with the game’s accessibility.
Don’t take our word for it, though; check out what the press is saying about Mario’s latest gun-toting adventure:
Mario + Rabbids: Sparks Of Hope early review scores
Easy Allies 9
Press Start 9
MC 86 (34 critics)https://t.co/06I3STUDlP
OC 85 (31 critics)https://t.co/X6rhnU2Hgj pic.twitter.com/m9KEBBAG1g
— Nibel (@Nibellion) October 17, 2022
First, let’s look at Eurogamer’s enthusiastic review. The review lauds the title’s inventiveness and progression from the previous game, while it does not provide a numerical value to the game’s likeability.
The roster of characters is colorful and quirky, encouraging experimentation, and alongside equipping items and sparks, each character has a handful of skill trees to plug points into as they level. (Characters also auto-level off the battlefield.) Throw in bosses, inventive victory conditions, deep cuts from the Mario universe, and clever battlefield design and you’ve got something pretty special.
The review by IGN does include a score, and it’s a very high one: 9 out of 10 for a game whose only fundamental flaw is its lengthy loading times.
Between fights you get to catch your breath in the large and brilliantly colorful open worlds, solving its light puzzles and being puzzled yourself by its oddball story. It’s extremely gratifying to play an ambitious sequel that fixes all of the main issues I had with the original, and then some.
Reviewing the game’s strategic depth and connections to the mainline Mario titles, GamesRadar+ gave it 4.5 stars out of 5.
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope captures everything that made the original so special, all while delivering a more complex and complete experience. It offers a new level of strategic depth, with world-building that makes it more of a Super Mario game than you might expect.
Dexerto’s 8.5/10 review, which matched our sentiments, appreciated the game’s entertainment value but wished for a more significant challenge:
Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope builds upon its predecessor in surprising and delightful ways to create a tactical RPG that stands among the best in the genre. While it may lack the challenge of some of its contemporaries, it’s a fun adventure that, despite still feeling like a fever dream cooked up by a child’s imagination, is one of the finest titles of 2022.
The 4/5 review by NME was similarly glowing, calling the game “one of the Switch’s best offerings”:
Ubisoft has a sublime grasp on Nintendo’s platforming charm, and blended with Rabbids’ more absurdist humour, Sparks Of Hope can turn even the most die-hard speed-runner into a completionist tourist, scouring each level in search of the next gag or side-quest.
The Guardian’s 3/5 review was the least enthusiastic of the bunch; while the publication praised the game’s strategies, it concluded that its Nintendo-ness was ultimately its fault.
Running into those iconic gold coins, you’re instantly rewarded with the telltale Mario sound effects – but the joy’s missing. Movement is sluggish. Mario can’t jump. The thrill of leaping into a coin is instead replaced by a hollow-feeling, Nintendo branded collect-a-thon.
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