I had written Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle off when it was first announced. A Mario game with Rabbid companions didn’t seem like a game I’d want to sink my teeth into until I saw the battle system in action. Mario meets X-Com. SOLD. And now after putting in more than 20 hours into the game, I can safely say, this game is a must play. It denys all logic and works really well.
Our story begins with a beautifully animated cutscene which introduces the player to the origins of the SupaMerge Helmet. The magical helmet merges two different objects and is used as a basis to mash the Mario world with the Rabbids world. The Rabbids are able to use the SupaMerge Helmet alongside their Time Machine to create chaos and travel to the Mushroom Kingdom. The Rabbids rudely interrupt Mario and pals as they are gathered to celebrate Prince Peach at her castle. The Rabbid who started all this trouble and is wearing the SupaMerge Helmet is named Spawny and you must stop him and gain the helmet back. He holds the key to restoring the Mushroom Kingdom back to its former glory.
It’s weird and wonderful and a little shallow, but it’s what we’ve come to expect from a Mario game. It’s got some groan-worthy moments, but there are also some hilarious jokes thrown in. My man Luigi is at the butt of most jokes and I laughed every time. It’s got the same humour as the past Paper Mario games. It’s also surprisingly dark as Rabbids fall to their death while Rabbid Peach snaps photos on her phone and Mario turns a blind eye in disapproval.
While traveling the map players play as Beep-O, a robot that looks like a Roomba that was developed by the same inventor who created the SupaMerge Helmet. He’s in charge of finding Spawny and saving the day alongside Mario and the gang. Along your journey, Beep-O will learn new moves that will help progress the story as well as discover new secret areas in past levels. This game has a ton of replayability and each level can be played multiple times for new gear.
Even though you’re in control of a robot doesn’t mean this isn’t your traditional Mario game. Players will move through warp pipes, jump through cannons and pick up Mushrooms for health. After completing a world you can attempt to take on challenges that will unlock more gold coins and skill orbs you can then use to power up. There’s a huge number of collectibles in the game that will leave you hunting for hours.
You’ll be able to access these challenge modes from the central hub in the form of Prince Peach’s castle. It’s the gateway to all of the worlds, and lets you use extra features like Amiibo functionality, listen to soundtracks and view art you’ve collected and unlocking multiplayer. As you progress Rabbids will build new buildings that will give you more to do. You can also customize characters and purchases weapons here or anywhere along the way. It’s nice to be able to switch characters and try out different weapons on the go, especially if you find yourself losing in battle.
The main attraction here is the combat system. It’s turn based combat is similar to X-Com and it’s surprisingly deep. For players who don’t want as much of a challenge, they can hold “Y” before a match to access easy mode which will not only restore your health but also increase it for the match. I’m not afraid to admit some fights had me using easy mode as I was constantly getting my ass kicked. The combat system is simple at first and helps ease players into this style of gameplay. By chapter 3 you’ll have unlocked both a primary and secondary weapon as well as a variety of specials that will make the combat much more complex. Each player on your team of 3 gets three moves per turn. You can move locations, use a weapon and implement a special skill. Enemies can be hurt various ways and planning out combos is the key to victory. It’s a fantastic experience that’s a hell of a lot of fun.
I’m surprised there aren’t different difficulty options but perhaps we will see a hard mode added in future DLC. For those that want more of a challenge, you can always try multiplayer.
The progression system will have you buying new weapons, upgrading your skills, and boosting your health. The game is more than fair with giving out gold and orbs for upgrading your characters and you won’t find yourself grinding very often to level up. In order to buy more weapons, players must first find them in hidden chests spread throughout the map. It’s worth taking your time and seeking out these treasures. Most aren’t out of the way and will take a few extra minutes to unlock and will most certainly aid you in battle. There’s also a ton of easter eggs for eagle eyed fans.
The boss fights are for the most part incredibly fun and very well designed. Most bosses are a mix of classic characters combined with Rabbids. I don’t want to spoil any of the surprises but long time Mario fans will be more than pleased with who shows up along the way. Each world can take anywhere from 3-7 hours to complete depending on your ability to master the combat system as well as how long you want to explore for secrets. Each world also deserves a second playthrough if you want to collect all the goods. Each world is divided up into 8 chapters followed by a bonus chapter for beating the big bad.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle feels like it was developed and made by Nintendo. Ubisoft did an absolutely astounding job carrying over the Nintendo aesthetic and charm we’ve come to love. The game is bright and colorful and the soundtrack is top notch. It has some great classic songs that most people will be familiar with. This is a must have game for the Nintendo Switch that plays great both on the big screen or on the go.
This is a totally kick ass game that will please gamers both young and old and is not to be missed. This is a console seller. I hope Ubisoft and Nintendo continue to create new properties together, the possibilities are endless.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Switch)
Developer: Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Milan
Release Date: August 29, 2017
MSRP: $59.99 USD
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher on the Nintendo Switch.