The only way to follow up giving Super Mario a gun is to do it all over again. Normally, you might expect to hear about a Mario + Rabbids sequel during the Ubisoft Forward presentation at E3 2021, but in a twist, a listing for the game on Nintendo’s website spoiled the surprise. Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is slated for the Nintendo Switch in 2022.
Per the listing, the new adventure promises that Mario and friends will go on “a galactic journey to defeat a malevolent entity and save your Spark companions. Explore planets throughout the galaxy as you uncover mysterious secrets and compelling quests!” I, for one, am thrilled to see more Rabbid Peach shenanigans. The splash imagery leaked ahead of the show shows a rockstar-looking Rabbid who is new to the franchise. Luigi also appears to have a bow!
Update: it’s official. Here’s the trailer, which also gives us a look at Rabbid Rosalina.
And there’s some pre-alpha footage that shows actual gameplay as well:
Released in 2017 by Ubisoft Paris, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was a Switch game that, on paper, absolutely should not have worked as well as it did. While the exterior was silly and colorful, hidden underneath was a genuinely engrossing tactics game. Better yet, it was clever and understood its source material, often poking fun at Super Mario characters in extremely on-point ways. Luigi, for example, can defeat his enemies via the infamous Mario Kart death stare.
But Rabbids wasn’t just an XCOM clone with a different skin. Instead, Kingdom Battle introduces original movement mechanics that allow characters to extend their turns in elaborate ways by dashing, jumping on enemies, and traveling through pipes. The overworld, meanwhile, was full of smaller puzzles that made walking through stages a real joy. Coupled with an extensive challenge mode and many a secret hiding about, Rabbids was a surprisingly meaty game. And then, of course, Ubisoft expanded on it even more via DLC that introduced new characters, like Donkey Kong. The game was challenging, too—not that this stopped it from cracking poop jokes.
By the time I finished Kingdom Battle, I ended up liking Ubisoft’s Rabbid parody of major Mario characters more than the originals themselves. Maybe the follow-up will let you kick boring old Mario out of the party?
Based on the Nintendo website, the follow-up should work much like the first game, but this time, it teases a roster of nine characters. Hopefully we get to see a Rabbid version of Waluigi or something.
For now, I am thrilled that we get a sequel to what is high key one of the best games on the Switch to date.