A surprise announcement during yesterday’s Nintendo Direct Mini revealed that Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope will be blasting its way onto Nintendo Switch on October 20. The second entry in Nintendo and Ubisoft’s most unusual crossover series got a brand-new trailer as well, showing off the game’s new environments and expanded combat system.
Sparks of Hope appears to be a massive overhaul of the foundations set by its predecessor Kingdom Battle, both in terms of story and gameplay. The game’s story takes place across an entire galaxy of planets inhabited by Rabbids, and Mario and his companions must travel to each one and rescue Sparks (powerful Rabbid-Luma hybrids) from the clutches of Cursa (a mysterious galaxy-consuming entity). Along the way, the recurring cast of playable characters from Kingdom Battle will be joined by a selection of newcomers, such as the apathetic Rabbid Rosalina, the sword-wielding Edge, and the terrifying King of Koopas himself: Bowser.
Mario and Co. will be free to explore complex levels to go on quests, solve puzzles and battle Cursa-controlled enemies, which now roam freely for players to encounter. The battles will be handled in the game’s completely revamped combat system, which was explained in greater detail during a showcase today hosted by Davide Soliani, the game’s creative director.
According to Soliani, the game has abandoned grid-based movement (common in the turn-based action-strategy genre) in favor of a system that allows players to run freely around the battlefield during their turn. Playstyle customization has been greatly expanded as well; each character will have their own unique ability and arsenal of weapons, and can equip a variety of rescued Sparks to use their different elemental powers in battle.
Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is set to release on Nintendo Switch on October 20, 2022, and is currently available to pre-order on Ubisoft’s website.