Mario + Rabbids creative director Davide Soliani says that the best compliment he ever received for Kingdom Battle is that it helped someone fall in love with even more tactical games.
“We tried to make people enjoy tactical games, even if they were initially scared of [trying them.] We made it more colorful, almost chroma-therapeutic, more inviting.”
So now, with Sparks of Hope on the horizon, he wants to throw the doors open even wider. Soliani wants Sparks of Hope to still be a gateway to the genre for new players, but also to properly challenge those who have grown into tactics experts.
The most obvious way that the Sparks of Hope team is accomplishing that is with difficulty levels. Following the tutorial, Beep-0 asks the player roughly how hard they think their mission is going to be, inviting them to select an easy, normal, or expert difficulty that can be adjusted again in the menu at any time.
But there are other, smaller ways in which Sparks of Hope invites a somewhat more customizable difficulty. As we point out in our preview, it’s easier to grind levels with all the roaming enemies around the map, sidequests, and secrets, so if you’re struggling with a story fight there are ways to push through. But you’re also more than free to charge through the story for a more challenging experience, and circle back to whatever extra missions you’re interested in later on.
Soliani says that the difficulty systems were at least in part inspired by his love of indie platformer darling Celeste, which is notoriously difficult but also includes a number of options to turn on and off specific challenging elements, including the ability to just make the protagonist, Madeline, invincible.