The backbone of Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope’s combat are Sparks. These Luma hybrids allow you to buff your allies, deal damage, or pull off some wild crowd control maneuvers. They can be unlocked by completing missions, defeating enemies, and moving the story along. You start the game off with just one slot. But eventually, you’ll be able to bring two of these buddies into combat.
There are 30 unique Sparks in total that you can unlock, and figuring out which ones are the best isn’t easy. These are the ones you should prioritize getting and upgrading to get your squad in tip-top shape. But take this as a jumping-off point — Sparks of Hope has an incredibly versatile and customizable combat system that can fit any player. So choose whatever sails your spaceship!
This green slime ball is one of the earlier Sparks you unlock and can be earned by completing the “A Light in the Darkmess” battle in Beacon Beach. Toxic damage isn’t very common in most of the game and enemies are very rarely immune to it. Having the ability to deal three ticks of damage while poisoning enemies comes in handy during those early battles. You’ll be able to take out an entire field of Goombas or bait a Wildclaw to head in your direction. It does fall off quite a bit once you start to get other Sparks, but that shouldn’t stop you from leveling it up in the early game.
You unlock Exosphere on Beacon Beach, when you encounter Edge. Keeping your allies alive can be incredibly difficult, especially when some enemies can destroy most of a health bar in one turn. Being able to mitigate all of that damage is incredibly useful; it’s why Peach is one of the better characters in the game. Stacking her barrier on one turn and then using this black mirror star to beef up those defenses next makes fighting in close quarters less of a hassle.
As the great Clay Aiken once sang, “I would be the smartest man If I was invisible.” This goofy Spark can be found by completing the "Wolf at the Door" quest in Pristine Peaks and turns you invisible for a few turns.
When this Spark is placed on the melee bruiser Mario Rabbid, it’s pretty overpowered. Enemies won’t attack you. Better still, baddies who normally counterattack, like Wildclaw, just take the punches without any response. I found great success activating the Spark at the end of battles or when I needed that extra push to reach a checkpoint. The only issue is that Mario Rabbid’s counterattack ability becomes useless since nobody will attack him.
Splash attack damage is one of the better elemental types in the game. Enemies afflicted bounce all over the stage after they take damage, sometimes falling off and taking even more. Using Aquakquake in a big space where enemies are clumped together bounces them around like a bunch of balloons, potentially taking them out of cover or over a cliff.
Pairing Luigi with Aquanox allows you to target those long-range snipers and knock them off their stands. There’s no way I would have been able to beat the game without the help of these blue buddies.
My favorite Spark in the entire game is this shiny little goofball, and it can be earned by completing "A Bridge too Far” in Palette Prime. His gimmick is simple: when you activate him, all enemies that are in range come running as close as they can to your character. Any AoE abilities or Sparks get way better when the enemy comes in close to get in range.
Bowser, Peach, Edge, and Mario Rabbid all benefit greatly from this Spark. But make sure to keep your dashes because these enemies will block you in. Also, enemies without direct paths, like those secluded on floating platforms, will not be able to get to you.
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope is out now on the Nintendo Switch.