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Nintendo accidentally reveals Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope

mario + rabbids sparks of hope
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is likely the first big reveal from E3 2021’s Ubisoft Forward — even though the conference hasn’t taken place yet. This morning (June 12), eagle-eyed Nintendo fans saw the game briefly surface on, then disappear from, the Nintendo Switch eShop. Before Nintendo took the listing down, however, they were able to save screenshots and a basic description from the game.

Information comes from a variety of users on social media, but the Tom’s Guide staff first saw it listed through podcaster Laura Kate Dale. For fans who played Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, there’s nothing terribly surprising here. Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope will also be a turn-based strategy game where you gather a team of Mario characters and their Rabbid counterparts, explore a big, colorful world and improve your skills and weapons over time. According to the eShop listing:

“Team up with Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Rabbid Peach, Rabbid Luigi and their friends on a galactic journey to defeat a malevolent entity and save your Spark companions. Explore planets throughout the galaxy as you uncover mysterious secrets and compelling quests!”

In other words, if Kingdom Battle was based on a more traditional Mario game, Sparks of Hope sounds like it takes inspiration from Super Mario Galaxy. To reinforce the Super Mario Galaxy connection, one of the screenshots also showed off a Rabbid version of Rosalina, an important character from those two games.

Otherwise, the screenshots showed off Mario and two party members exploring a seaside outpost and the crumbling interior of a scary castle. We haven’t seen any of the game’s combat yet, but a promotional image shows off Mario dual-wielding pistols, and Luigi with a bow that fires energy arrows. (Princess Peach appears to have a cannon that fires from a Rabbid hat. We’re curious how that will work in-game.)

For the moment, expect to hear more details during the Ubisoft Forward presentation at 3 PM ET today, and possibly even more than that at the Nintendo Direct on Tuesday, June 15 at 12 PM ET. Either way, though, you’ll have to settle in for a long wait. Given the 2022 release date in the eShop, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is probably a long way off.

In the meantime, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is frequently on sale, and it’s one of the most inventive and surprising Switch games out there. Give it a try, if you haven’t already.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.