6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Playing Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
We’re calling it now: Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, the new game in Ubisoft and Nintendo’s bizarrely wonderful crossover series, is this year’s best Switch game. If you don’t already have it, you can find the cheapest copies here.
With a mix of open world exploration, turn-based tactics and real-time action, Sparks of Hope catapults you into a cosmic adventure to save the galaxy from the villainous Cursa, who’s spreading Darkmess across the stars to corrupt entire worlds.
You play as a party of up to four, pulled from a roster that includes Mario, Luigi, Rabbid Peach, Rabbid Rosalina and Bowser, visiting afflicted planets to retrieve magical beings called Sparks. Sparks hold the key to defeating Cursa, and they also give your party powerful upgrades in combat.
If you played the previous game, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, then a lot of this will feel familiar to you. But it’s also a great jumping in point for newcomers. I’ve played, conservatively, five hours of any Nintendo game in my life so I don’t have a single shred of nostalgia for Mario, but Sparks of Hope immediately won me over with a bright art style, laugh out loud cutscenes and genuinely challenging combat. As I played my first ever Mario game, these are the things I wish I’d known beforehand, so now I’m sharing them with you to make your first hours with Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope easier and, hopefully, even more enjoyable.
Experiment With Team Composition
You’ll be limited to Mario and Rabbid Peach for the first few fights, but soon you’ll get a third party member and then a fourth. Every hero has their own strengths, weaknesses and abilities, and your team composition will have a big impact on how you play.
Mario, for instance, is a good all-rounder who specialises in mid-range combat and punishing enemies who get too close, while Rabbid Mario is a short-range brawler who can run into the thick of battle and pummel enemies in a large cone, but that leaves him open to counter attacks. Pair him with a support hero like Rabbid Peach to keep his health topped up after the enemy’s turn.
And Try Different Sparks
Each Spark grants unique abilities and passive buffs to the hero it’s assigned to, and certain combinations work better than others. Pyrostar’s special ability deals fire damage and damage over time, and reduces some of the damage that heroes take, while Reflector’s ability reflects a portion of the damage dealt to a hero onto the attacking enemy, making them both good options for Rabbid Mario.
Characters can eventually equip two Sparks at once, further expanding their abilities and buffs.
Try to use the Sparks when their abilities will do the most good, but don’t hold onto them for entire fights waiting for the perfect moment. They recharge after a few turns so you can use them multiple times per encounter. The Cooldown Clock item, which you can buy from Salesbot 9.99+TX, instantly refreshes all your Sparks and special abilities during combat.
Level Up Your Sparks
In addition to levelling up your characters, you can level up the Sparks to improve their stats. Feeding them Star Bits, which you collect in bulk as you play, gives them small amounts of XP incrementally, while Star Potions are harder to come by but instantly boost them an entire level. Get more Star Potions by completing quests or purchasing them from Salesbot 9.99+TX.
Scan With Beep-O
You can use the Beep-O Tacticam at the start of each battle to explore the map and reveal enemies’ strengths and weaknesses. Press the left thumbstick to begin, then press A to scan an enemy. This lets you scout the far side of the map for snipers, count how many enemies are about to descend on you, see the attack and movement range of enemies and more.
Pay attention to any elements that enemies are weak or resistant to. After you recall Beep-O, you’ll have the chance to swap out your hero’s Sparks to better suit the fight. An enemy who’s weak to shock will take more damage from Electoid’s Shock Attack, for instance, but attacking enemies with elements they’re resistant to is a sure way to slow your progress in an encounter.
Interact With Everything In the Environment
As you explore, you’ll come across things like bushes, trees and buttons you can interact with. Make sure to press A whenever you’re prompted, because you might be rewarded with coins or other useful items.
This is also the best way to start side quests, which are scattered around each planet and can earn you valuable rewards. They’re also lots of fun to complete FWIW.
Most Boss Fights Have Multiple Stages
In a big Elden Ring move, most of the main story boss battles have 2-3 stages. Keep that in mind if you use your items and abilities early in an encounter — you don’t want to be caught out without any healing Super Mushrooms when the boss is throwing everything they have at you. If you do have to restart, you can choose to start over from the beginning of the encounter or the start of the current stage.
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