Mario has for many been one of the most influential and iconic video game stars of all time. When it comes to the Rabbids, the same thing can’t immediately be said, but it’s undeniable that the infectious creatures have made their mark in the past decade or so, bringing addictive gameplay to gamers of all ages and working their way into the hearts of everybody who meets them.
What many didn’t expect to come as part of the latest Nintendo console, the Nintendo Switch however, was a collaboration between both of these franchises. The result of that collaboration is Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle; a turn-based, tactical roleplaying game that sees players control Mario and his friends, as well as a group of Rabbids, in a bid to save the Mushroom Kingdom from destruction.
Both single player and two player local co-operative play is available in Kingdom Battle, but the primary aim of the game is always the same; to move around the battlefield and take down a series of opponents before they get too powerful and wipe your team out. Think XCOM, but on a completely over-the-top kind of level.
Beginning as quite a simple game, with some options for exploration inside the world, Kingdom Battle does do well to challenge the player as the story progresses, even encouraging them to go backwards at times as they unlock new abilities, solve puzzles and gain access to areas of the Mushroom Kingdom that were previously unreachable.
After some progress, Princess Peach’s castle will act as a hub for the player to bring new characters into their team and put the heroes they don’t deem as useful on the bench. They’ll also be able to swap out weapons for fresher models, look back on the novelty collectibles they’ve garnered throughout the game and revisit worlds they’ve already visited.
If anybody expected major success from Kingdom Battle, they kept very quiet about it, but that’s exactly what you get here. The game is massively addicted, beautifully graphically enhanced and scored tremendously. Instantly brought into the world of Mario and his new fuzzy friends, there’s a sense of urgency as you play throughout the game, which has always been at the heart of every Mario platformer. Bringing the turn-based style to a Mario game was always going to be a risk, but it’s one that massively pays off here.
A fantastic game all round, we imagine that Kingdom Battle is just the start of a whole slew of games uniting the worlds of Mario and the Rabbids. Whilst we wouldn’t have been excited for that at one point, this game proves that brilliant things can be done when those two universes collide.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is available now, published by Ubisoft for Nintendo Switch.