the most outstanding video game of an overexploited genre

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Nintendo is a very hermetic company with its characters and licenses, which means that ‘Mario + Rabbids’ is one of the collaborations craziest and most interesting to study its beginning, present and future. Let’s be clear, it is strange to see the Japanese company give up its own mascot, although it is clear that this evolution in the character and being able to take it to a totally different genre fits like a glove.

Quite a few years have passed, and perhaps many of you do not remember it, but after three deliveries sharing the scene and protagonism with Rayman (and many more alone) the Rabbids began to exhaust the formula that gave them great popularity in ‘Rayman Raving Rabbids‘: the minigames. The fact that the latest installment of Ubisoft’s main character culminated in ‘Rayman Legends’ did not sit well with his followers either, although the company wanted to focus on the resurgence of the Rabbids with a new project that offered a certain freshness and moved away from the classic minigames.

Now, how did this collaboration between Mario and the Rabbids come about? There are few barriers that Nintendo has when it comes to collaborating with other companies, and even more so if this means giving up its most important characters.

Nintendo Pictures is now official: the Japanese video game giant is clear that it must diversify its production

David Soliani, creative director of Ubisoft Milan and in charge of bringing out a new installment of the Rabbids, had the brilliant idea of ​​developing on paper what could become a joint video game between Mario and Rabbids. Later, that minigame would be turned into a playable demo that would be presented to Miyamoto himself; Such was the quality of the project that the Japanese creative took Soliani to the Tokyo offices. There, in Japan, after a series of tests, meetings and leading a small development studio, he managed to ‘Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle’ it was a reality.

Considering all this, what has managed to captivate us?

Mario in a strategy game

The biggest news, and what’s most interesting, is that we’ve never been able to see Mario in the strategy genre before, vastly departing from the platforms he’s continued with since his inception.

Pistols? For Nintendo it was unthinkable; although the truth is that the video game asks for it, and it does so in a casual way that allows us not to pay too much attention to this novelty. In addition, one of the most interesting points and that usually goes unnoticed, is that here Mario is not the main character who must save the princess, but is accompanied by a good team of companions with whom he shares victories and defeats.

The combats are similar to its first installment, but with great changes in each scenario.

That is why, although Nintendo, Ubisoft and the video game itself want to focus on Mario as the protagonist, on many occasions it is the opposite. This is due to Rabbids get attention for their humorous tone with which they have characterized each of the scenes where they make an appearance. In ‘Sparks of Hope‘ we see them more active than ever, but during our exploration we will meet some Rabbids who seem to have become more aware: they are no longer as crazy as in their first installment; At least not at all.

For their part, the villains, and especially the bosses, are also very well designed in both installments. The stellar appearances of each of them and the challenge of facing them are very varied, surprising and rewarding; although ‘Sparks of Hope’ suffers from offering very challenging combat in its main story and others that are too simple in the exploration areas. It is not something that should be given too much importance, because the game, in its way, is demanding for us to have our strategy in mind, but that radical change between each confrontation is noticeable.

The new members of the team of companions offer greater versatility in combat.

Without paying too much attention to this aspect, the truth is that each combat is a new way of facing each enemy. The scenarios are more varied that in its first installment, like the characteristic movement of the characters (which was compared in its day to XCOM: ‘Enemy Unknown’) offers greater freedom and versatility; this is something that has been achieved thanks to the design of the mapping and the verticality of the platforms. In terms of exploration, it has far exceeded the linearity of ‘Kingdom Battle,’ betting on larger scenarios and with a greater number of elements with which to interact: from the classic mini-games to being able to access certain facilities and buildings.

With a second part already released, it is logical that the story is continuous. While in the first installment we had to face Bowser Jr., now Cursa enters the scene: an evil entity that is not going to make things easy for us. Everything that was done well in the first installment we can see how he has evolved for the better in the second; quite a success, since it offers everything necessary to make us feel that we are facing a different video game.

Nintendo has understood that its future also goes through the cinema: the Mario movie is only the first step

Taking into account the success of Kingdom Battle and the great evolution of Sparks of Hope, this gives us some clues about the path that Nintendo could take in the future. This is undoubtedly a great bet that can see the return of Mario and company to other licenses; and the question we could ask ourselves is what video games would it adapt to with the same ease that it has done with the Rabbids.

A few years ago Nintendo made it clear: it is not looking to collaborate with other companies, although managers are open to receiving proposals if this means improve quality of their licenses. Without being able to predict the future, we will have to wait a while to find out if Nintendo finally makes this important leap with its most emblematic character or with others of the company.

Although all eyes are on Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, Nintendo’s plumber is more alive than ever. We must not forget that this is a great time for the company and its mascot, since the creation of Nintendo Pictures has been confirmed and recently we were able to see the first trailer for the animated Super Mario movie, where well-known actors such as Chris Pratt o Anya Taylor-Joy will provide the voices of the respective characters of Mario and Princess Peach.

Nintendo is a very hermetic company with its characters and licenses, which means that ‘Mario + Rabbids’ is one of…

Nintendo is a very hermetic company with its characters and licenses, which means that ‘Mario + Rabbids’ is one of…

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