Sequels can often find themselves in invidious positions; to follow on from what was already successful, while making enough changes to justify its existence, is a tricky balancing act in any form of media. If the necessary criteria are to be bigger, better, and more ambitious, while retaining the original's heart and soul, Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope accomplishes that with flying colours.
It’s more fun, more refined, and more accessible in every way, while somehow managing to surpass the previous games in style and presentation. Evolution, not revolution, is the catch of the day, and that’s fine by me if it’s served up as exquisitely as Splatoon 3.
There's lots to love: the characters are great, especially Mizuki, and exist just that right side of quirkiness; the side narratives are impressive; the Somnia are great fun; and the gradual dripping of reveals and revelations has you deducting and reasoning where AI is heading, like a budding Sherlock, all the way through. Heartily recommended.