Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope: Release date, gameplay, trailers and more

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is the upcoming sequel to the most bizarre collaboration in gaming since Kingdom Hearts meshed Disney and Final Fantasy. Ubisoft’s purposefully annoying Rabbids franchise and Nintendo’s iconic Super Mario series clashed in 2017’s Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, and it was met with open arms and considerable acclaim.

It successfully combined strategic combat, crass humor and Mario’s charming visual style. Now, its sequel will be taking players to space and have them face off against a new foe across diverse worlds. Here’s everything we know about Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, including information on its release date, gameplay, story, setting and more.

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope release date

It's not long until we can finally play Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, as it's set to launch on October 20th. That's less than two weeks away, as revealed during a Nintendo Switch Direct Mini that went live in June. Pre-orders are now live (opens in new tab).

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

A tweet from Geoff Keighley confirms that Ubisoft will be launching Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and Skull & Bones between April 2022 and April 2023. And now that we're in April, we can probably expect to see some updates on these games. Just last month, a huge leak of Ubisoft's future line-up revealed details on an Immortals Fenyx Rising sequel and new Prince of Persia. Sparks of Hope is also featured on this month's Edge Magazine cover, which further instills confidence in the game's release date.

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope gameplay 

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope will have players control a party of three characters, traversing vibrant worlds with turn-based combat scenarios plotted throughout the journey. To emerge victorious, players will have to utilize their ability to dash attack, team jump and activate special moves. With the dash attack, characters can use their limited movement to run through enemies and deal a set amount of damage. And with team jump, characters can use each other as trampolines to reach higher ground or cross gaps.  

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Characters like Mario can even deal damage with a team jump by landing on an enemy’s head. Each character gets special moves, with Luigi able to autoshoot an enemy that takes a move action in his line of sight. Mario can also provide a buff to his party members that boosts their damage, assuming they’re close enough to him.

Each character can be customized with their own primary and secondary weapons. For example, Mario used both a blaster and a hammer to whack enemies, whereas Luigi boasts a long-range sniper and an explosive robot that follows enemies to their doom. Players purchase new versions of these weapons with gold coins, and each comes with modifiers that can glue enemies down with honey or make them bounce away from you.

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

In Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope, combat movement is changing drastically. Players will no longer select where they move with a cursor, instead having the ability to freely move them on the battlefield. Kingdom Battle had the players moving through linear paths with forced encounters plotted along them. Sparks of Hope seems to feature open areas with enemies placed around the world that will throw you into an instanced fight if they come into contact with you. This is rather exciting, as it will encourage exploration and allow the player to avoid fights if they want to. 

September's Ubisoft Forward opened with a new look at Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Home. It starts with a cinematic trailer of a series of Rabbids dancing on a beach with Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach.

Afterwards, we received a first look at one of the quests from the game and got to see a big battle play out. The video covers the area Terra Flora, a series of floating islands featuring gigantic pink clouds and tons of greenery. 

Secrets, collectibles to gather, and many NPC interactions. We can reveal hidden paths and interact with the environments in other ways to unlock secrets. We see Mario, Luigi and Rabbid Rosalina board a train to the top of the volcano in the region. However, the train is chased by One Angry Wiggler, which begins the big fight against him.

We're given a brief rundown of how players can prepare for battle beforehand, equipping sparks, preparing weaponry, and deciding abilities. We see Bowser use a Bowzooka, and the other teammates work together, utilizing their Sparks to gain the upper hand. Mario uses a Spark that lures enemies in before he uses one of his special abilities. We see Bowser get completely knocked out, forcing Mario to use his stomp attack to keep jumping on enemies before destroying the One Angry Wiggler once and for all, protecting the train from destruction.

It's clear that Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Home requires plenty of teamwork between all of the party members to survive these battles. If you've played the previous game, you know pretty well how difficult it can get later on. With all of the strategies available here, especially thanks to the unique Sparks, it seems like there'll be tons of ways to play.

Most importantly, Rayman is confirmed to be coming to Mario + Rabbids as an inclusion in the game's third DLC. We probably won't see it for a while, but at the very least, knowing that it exists is exciting.

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope story 

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle begins with a genius inventor having a powerful technology she created inadvertently stolen by Rabbids. Her loyal robot companion, Beep-0, is sucked into a wormhole that launches him into an alternate dimension where Mario and his friends reside. With this technology, a confused Rabbid accidentally meshes a number of different characters from the Mario universe with his own kind, which is what causes the Mario + Rabbid hybrid monstrosity to run rampant. 

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

In Sparks of Hope, players soar into space when the Luma from Super Mario Galaxy and Rabbids begin to mesh together to create Sparks. Now, a dangerous villain by the name of Cursa is on a mission to consume as many Sparks as they can with the hope of taking over the universe. 

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope trailer 

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope has received two trailers. The first is a pre-rendered cinematic showing how the DNA between Luma and Rabbids has somehow crossed, creating the titular Sparks. Suddenly, the boney hands of a mysterious figure crushes some Sparks in a projection. Our heroes then head to the armory, pick up their weapons, and get ready to save the universe.  

Rabbid Rosalina is revealed shortly afterward, and as our heroes step out of their ship onto a mysterious planet, we see each has an elemental Spark floating above them. Rabbid Rosalina’s Spark is icy blue, Rabbid Peach’s Spark is fiery red, and Mario’s Spark is glittering with yellow dust. A slew of baddies surround our heroes, which is when they all gather together for a big fight, and the title screen is shown. 

Sparks of Hope’s second trailer gives fans a taste of what they can expect from the game. Unlike its predecessor, it will feature open areas that let players explore it non-linearly. Instead of battles happening at key moments on a forced path, it seems getting too close to a roaming enemy will cause it to follow you. If that enemy makes contact with your party, it’ll throw you into an instance and force you to battle them. Another key difference is that you will no longer select where you want to move on the battlefield. Instead, you’ll use the joystick to freely move your character across the arena. 

A new trailer was shown off during Nintendo's June Direct Mini, which provided us with a release date, some new footage gameplay footage and cutscenes to mull over. Sparks of Hope is set to launch on October 20.

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope also received a narrate gameplay demo, where Ubisoft goes in-depth on exploration, combat abilities, new allies, and saving the adorable little sparks.

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope characters 

Mario + Rabbids puts the player in control of characters from the Super Mario series, including Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Yoshi as playable characters. There are also an equal number of Rabbids, each dressed up as the iconic characters but with “Rabbid” in front of their name. Players could have a team of up to three of these characters, and the game starts with Mario, Rabbid Luigi, and Rabbid Peach in the party.  

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

Sparks of Hope will feature new playable characters, with Rabbid Rosalina appearing in the game’s reveal trailer, likely implying that Rosalina will also be playable. There’s also the titular Sparks, which are the result of Luma and Rabbids merging together; these are used to assist players in battle.

According to the Sparks of Hope website (opens in new tab), there will be “9 heroes to build your dream team.” This number is strange considering each Mario character usually has a playable Rabbid counterpart. It’s possible that the mysterious Rabbid standing alongside our heroes in promotional material will be the ninth character that breaks this trend. 

Momo Tabari
Contributing Writer

Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Momo finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Momo is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn't writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.