Don’t let the ridiculously silly Rabbids fool you. Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is a formidable tactics game that can and will kick your butt if you’re not careful. Fortunately, the game also gives you a wide variety of mechanics and tools that come together in complex and satisfying ways. Here’s what you need to know.
Sparks of Hope lets you choose your team, and technically, you can roll around with only members of the original Mario cast if you’d like. But if you’re not giving in to the absurdity of the Rabbids, what are you even doing here? The best team is the one that does what it says on the tin.
It’s easy to stick to what you know, especially if it works. But each new character that you gain has different abilities that may be useful in the specific battle that you’re in. Maybe you’re having a hard time staying alive, in which case a healer might be the way to go. Maybe this battle requires you to get to the end of the map as fast as possible, so your mobile characters are now important. Don’t keep using a character just because; the game levels everyone up as you go. Plus, you may discover a new favorite. Not liking the way someone plays isn’t really an excuse, either, because the game lets you undo any skill points you spend!
Rabbids features an open world where you can traverse a map full of characters, points of interests, and secrets. It’s possible to walk into a level before you’re ready for it. And frankly, some levels are just tough! When you start a battle, the game asks if you want to adjust the difficulty. If you find that you have trouble, there’s no shame in adjusting the experience so you’re having fun rather than banging your head against the wall repeatedly.
When you open your map, you can see where characters are, along with levels and other handy landmarks. You can highlight each one and press on it so that your radar will tell you where to go to start the quest. Some places will also allow you to fast travel after you select them as well.
You can beeline to the next mission, but that would be a waste. One of the most charming things about Sparks is that Ubisoft has filled the game to the brim with small details and secrets, whether that’s silly dialogue, red coin challenges, or blue coin levels. Some of this the game will mark on your map when you pass by it, even if you weren’t aware that it was there. Other stuff, you’ll want to remember because you won’t be able to interact with it the first time you see it. But you won’t see it at all if you don’t take a stroll.
Later on in the game, you unlock the ability to scan things. You’ll want to scan swirls on the ground, footprints, shimmers, invisible objects, and cracked walls with your trusty robot buddy Beep-o if you want to have a thorough go at it.
First off, you should always stop by a shop before you head into battle so you go in with enough mushrooms and the like. Once you’re in the pre-battle screen, you can look at your enemies and their weaknesses, and change your loadout to suit. Just like you experiment with different characters, you should feel comfortable changing Sparks as needed.
It may also be tempting to tell the game to heal your characters for that small fee, but I encourage you to gamble a bit. Can you get in a heal early? Do you think you can beat the level without taking much damage and simply enjoy the post-match rejuvenation? Eventually you’ll unlock the revive ability. Don’t waste the money just because you have it.
lol okay but HEAR ME OUT, you’re saving the cash for other stuff! Rather than cashing out on healing, you could instead stock up on things like POW blocks and reset timers that regenerate your abilities instantly. Healing is a built-in mechanic, but not everything is. Save your cash for the things you couldn’t otherwise do. By the same token, you should use your items rather than hoarding them until they’re no longer useful.
Press Y during the enemy turn. That’s it, that’s the tip.
You’ll want to move your characters as far as possible while still being within range of one another, so they can jump and glide to new areas (or heights). Beware fall damage—if you go into a pit, it’s going to hurt! But you can also dash into things like Bob-ombs, activate them, and then throw them into the other baddies to blow everything up. You should always dash on every turn, and keep a look out for pipes and other transportation shortcuts, but if you can dash, glide, teleport, and throw, that’s even better.
Characters like Mario, for example, will shoot twice. Killing an enemy sometimes requires you to redirect your shot back to the first guy, because it automatically finds another target for the second bullet. Unless, of course, you’re sure that you have a clean shot and want to get two targets. Don’t assume you’re going to hit just because you pull the trigger, though. Sometimes it’s best to do a double tap to kill something rather than only kinda hurting two enemies and killing neither.
For shooting, the way this works may be obvious. If you can’t see it, you can’t hit it. But it matters for things like dashes and abilities, too. If you don’t stand in the right place, it’s possible for your dash to miss the full Goomba line, so make sure the game says that your enemies will actually take damage, not just that they’re currently targeted. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have access to an enemy, though. Destroy the barriers and leave ‘em open!
If you do your main attack, that’s it. You can’t do anything else. Your secondary ability can also sometimes grey out other choices, so pay attention to what does what.
At the start of a bout, Sparks of Hope will tell you that you need to reach a certain part of the map, or that you need to defeat a specific enemy. Don’t ignore the directive. The map will likely start swarming with enemies that weren’t there before, which can be scary, and you’ll likely want to take care of that. But the level ends as soon as you meet the conditions, so it doesn’t matter how outnumbered you are by that point. Everything else is a distraction that may doom you into fighting an impossible fight, and restarting a match can be huge bummer.
Good luck out there!