Take this hand, Ubisoft Milano: Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope second review is all about the DLC, The Tower of Doooom
We couldn’t be happier to dedicate one review at the operation of Ubisoft Milanogiven the availability with which the development team has provided us with both Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope back in the day be all the DLC annexes, and now that The Tower of Doooom has come out we are at the point of being able to subject it to due scrutiny. Of course, we remind all owners of the base game that this downloadable content is exclusive to the Season Pass: if you don’t plan to support the game until the end of the year, the rant you are about to read is not for you. Forgive us for the brutal honesty.
Not that your eventual investment is a waste in any way, quite the contrary. If you remember correctly, our vote for the base game was a nice 9, for many reasons. Leaving aside the Italian pride in seeing one of the most improbable mustache crossovers collect global success, the development team includes former editors of the trade press who in the past have dedicated to the world of Nintendo nothing but pages upon pages of pure love. Of course, love can either be an expert guide or an incompetent escort. Don’t worry: you are in more than good hands.
“You are all condemned to the A-pillory” – Review Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope: The Tower of Doooom
We say goodbye to the two or three readers who will have understood the quote and let’s go into the merits of the first point of the review of the Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope DLC, or the plot by The Tower of Doooom. The most attentive among you will remember one of the characters who makes her return from Kingdom Battle, namely the animatronic clairvoyant Madame Bwahstrella. To reappear only in this mode, however, is Spawny: the fearsome hybrid between Rabbid and MatchAll is the central focus of the first DLC, although its narrative role is more that of a mere pretext than much else.
At an unspecified point in the main story, the whimsical fortune teller invites us to the eponymous Cooondanna Tower in hopes of saving Spawny. The shy Rabbid is being held captive on the top floor of the building, and it’s up to part of the team to go rescue him. The reason why we say “part of the team” we will dissect it properly in a few lines, but what you can already see is that the narrative aspect (despite a constant quality in the presentation) is not the flagship of the expansion. The gameplay is the real protagonist, in what will be discovered to be a distillation of the base game.
Strategia in pillole – Review Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope: The Tower of Doooom
Il gameplay basic (emphasis on “basic”) remained unchanged. We will try to summarize the combat phases of the game in a couple of paragraphs. In practice, a team of three characters will have to face the various enemies, ranging from the “hybrid” Rabbid of Kingdom Battle to opponents a lot more original in their design, passing through the army of (and stolen from) Bowser. As in the predecessor, also in this sequel the possibility of spending turns hidden behind a wall plays an essential role, to minimize the damage during the enemy’s attacks in the hope that the latter will not be able to adopt the same tactic as us.
The grill of Kingdom Battle, although technically still minimally present, in the sequel it was masquerade with such an ingenuity as to seem completely removed. Many other corners have also been rounded properly, such as weapons with secondary effects: instead of hoping for RNG and a percentage that the endgame brings to 100%, now the statuses all depend on the Spark. Similarly, weapon variants are now reduced to simple skins, while stat work is handled by a more conventional structure of skill trees and leveling up. Leaving the limits of the grid brings bonuses (the team jump is now a glide) and malus (you can’t move after opening fire).
Disposable Progress – Review Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope: The Tower of Doooom
The fight, therefore, is “always him”. The question now is, what about what happens between battles? If you believe that the Cooondanna Tower is a place to explore, you’re half right. True, the three starting heroes will have to make their way through ten floors, but the choice at each crossroads will be between two or three rooms (one, at the top) characterized by different rewards. If we haven’t mentioned names, it’s because of the “part of the team” a few lines ago: the initial trio, plus a reserve in case the variety does not go well, is chosen randomly. We started with Peach, Edge and Bowser in the review phase, but it probably won’t be like this for you.
Well yes: we are faced with an interpretation of the basic game in chiave roguelike. Among the various rewards that each floor has to offer, sometimes characters to join the team also appear, also randomly chosen. The level increase, to make up for the openly arcade soul of this “adventure”, is magnanimously shared among all heroes, including those who have not taken part in previous battles (as in the base game). It will be up to you decide which challenge to faceand whether to prioritize rewards like Rabbid Rosalina or a 75% heal for your champions.
Who Wants To Be Extraordinary – Review Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope: The Tower of Doooom
You were right to widen your eyes when we talked about treatment as a prize. Still in the review phase, we had the great fortune to run into Rabbid Peach as a reward for one of the battles, but it doesn’t even mean that in your case he isn’t one of the characters completely absent in your climb (we didn’t find Mario, for example). Indeed the robotic shopkeeper Bot 9.99+IVA makes its return between the various floors by selling, in addition to the tools, also cures to be used only in combat (with the risk of wasting half the turn!) and no longer dispensing paid team care.
It will then be up to you to understand how to juggle your health points, precisely because each “run” is different from the previous one. If there’s no exploration though, how do you get the coins? Once a battlefield has been cleared of enemies, if you have become sufficiently familiar with the layout of the arena, you will have just under a minute to move around the playing field without limits and collect as many coins possible (with a re-theme of the Kingdom Battle bonus rooms to keep you company). Overall, as the disclaimer before starting the mode (with separate save slots attached) reminds us, this challenge rewards players who know combat inside out.
The tower is a bit difficult – Review Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope: The Tower of Doooom
However, the higher challenge rate does not prevent the DLC from offering the player the same triptych of difficulties that distinguishes the main adventure. The reins on how challenging the climb can be only last in its version”Classical”, which is what we have found to be a glorified tutorial for the authentic experience. Once Spawny is saved (whose narrative irrelevance is almost mercilessly pilloried at the end of the first climb) the so-called variant “Premium” of the adventure, which decides to get its claws out already since it denies the player control over the difficulty.
In general, despite the presence of RPG elements such as the aforementioned levels and skill tree, this remains a real concentrate in arcade sauce of the base game. Chance determines the tools available to the player from the start. While it’s possible to enjoy even Sparks capable of summoning benevolent versions of strong enemies, it’s good not to get too attached to a given build. You are not here to make friends; there are some up for grabs weapon skins for use in the base adventure as well, provided (again) you know what you’re doing.
The intolerable moral dilemma of the seasonal issue – Review Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope: The Tower of Doooom
As in the “Ubisoft Forward” section of our review dedicated to the base game, here too we have to touch a somewhat sore point. The trailers for this first DLC, which cannot be sold separately, also remind us of this: the downloadable content in question is exclusive to the Season Pass. For those less accustomed to the concept of additional payment, we speak of a “season pass” when the extra content is sold en bloc. It’s one thing when it comes to two costumes for the Mii Swordsmen in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It’s another, though, to see an entire mode tied in tightly with support for the entire post-launch period of the game.
The reasons can be many. Unfortunately, Ubisoft’s nerve center described the sales of the phenomenal base game as “below expectations”. Regardless of how astronomical they might be considering that it is a niche genre (albeit sweetened) packaged for a single platform, the dilemma for the consumer remains. It’s up to you to decide whether to say “fortunately” or not about the fact that all DLCs, to the detriment of the sibylline definition of “Season Pass exclusive” applied only to the first of them, are only sold as a block. As a first taste this challenge does its jobbut we know that much more ambitious things await us.
Judgment – Review Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope: The Tower of Doooom
We will not visually reproduce the red and white NRU “report card” that you saw as a gem in the review of the base game, but nothing prevents us from fragmenting it during our technical (and otherwise) evaluation. Nintendo factor: the game continues to entertain here too, sacrificing a pinch of charm by virtue of the hard and pure gameplay. Eight. Effetto Switch: as always, the only console feature to be exploited is portability, for single player only. Seven. Graphics: the abstract minimalism of the interiors for the new location fails to scratch a style already lovingly crafted by the Milanese team. Eight.
Sound: a retro composition by Grant Kirkhope is back, but despite the lack of novelty we are still talking about a collaboration with Gareth Coker and Yoko Shimomura. Ten. Tempo: it’s not the longest running experience designed for the game, but if you’re on the hunt for skins or just want to challenge yourself there’s plenty to match your teeth. Eight. And at this point the last item should take over, to which however we will dedicate the right amount of time with the due final two paragraphs. We know that you are tempted to belittle everything with a “good but not very good”, but you would be wrong.
You have two ways to make this experience your own. If you have never played the basic adventure, you can shell out the required sixty and gain experience before paying the thirty euros del Season Pass. In…