Mario has a gun? Yes and he likes to use it!
With the first announcement of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, many fans were both surprised and amazed that Nintend is actually giving their IP to Ubisoft for a new game title and especially one in which Mario is going to use a gun of all things for attacking. Yet here we are in 2017 with a new console in our hands and a new game featuring both the crazy overactive bunnies and our friends Mario, Luigi, Peach and Yoshi. What’s surprising is the fact that actually Ubisoft came forth with their idea to do a mash up of their Ubisoft owned Rabbid characters and the Mario figures. They even have built models based on public images in such a high quality that Nintendo directly asked where they did get those 3D models from. It clearly speaks very positively for this game, so let’s have a look how it plays.
Rabbids + Mario, it just fits
The story begins as a young female engineer, developer, inventor and highly praised wunderkind plays around with her latest invention, the SupaMerge! The SupaMerge allows for to things to be combined, such as a plant and a lamp, making a plamp. Once the inventor left the room, the rabbids make an appearance with their washing machine that’s able to traverse through dimensions. Chaos ensues and with that chaos one of the rabbids uses the SupaMerge to being combining Rabbids and fan articles of the Nintendo universe. It all peaks with the washing machine sucking in each of the rabbids including more Nintendo merchandise and the SupaMerge, which leads to the Rabbids landing in the Mushroom kingdom and causing even more chaos, that’s turning into a storm. The rabbid that was using the SupaMerge got merged himself with the SupaMerge and from then on causes even more problems. Of course Mario and his friends want to investigate where the trouble comes from. On his way, he’s traveling along two special rabbids which are clothed in the classic Peach and the classic Luigi costume while Peach and Luigi got lost in the storm, being somewhere in the kingdom left on their own. On our way, we have Beep-O by our side, which is the assistant of the young inventor. It helps us out and also delivers the narrative, as it is the only being that can actually properly talk from all of the group. With that setup, a journey through 4 worlds and many exciting encounters and challenges begins, delivering both a fun and interesting journey.
A massage for the brain
The gameplay of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is very similair from the system that Xcom has. No, this is not a clone, it’s just really reminding me of it. Enemies can be approached by a certain amount of steps each character can take per turn, including jumps on top of enemies heads, getting a lift from friendly characters or by pushing further, using pipes to traverse to different sections of a map. Every character has teh ability to dash against an enemy with a variety of effects and damage, again depending on the character you are playing. Rabbid Mario for example can give enemies an attribute that not only damages the enemy, but also gives a portion of that lost life back to the attacker. And that is only what movements can do. Abilities are another topic, as each character can additionally give damage by using tools, such as a grenade, turrets, rc drones and so on. With the abilities you can also plan ahead, as some characters for example like Mario, can attack with the next turn, should an enemy cross his line of sight, making him attack immediately. And yeah, of course there are a lot of weapons to deal damage, such as a shotgun, a standard rifle, a sniper rifle and even a LMG. Sadly only one type of weapon is given to each character. So Mario for example has a standard rifle, Luigi has a sniper rifle and Peach has a shotgun. Just like upgrading your skill tree for each character allows for different things like taking more steps, dealing more damage or strengthen abilities, also weapons can be upgraded by unlocking them through mission progress or finding them in hidden chests, although you always have to collect coins for those as each weapon additionally has to be unlocked with gold coins first, in order to be used.
This merely scratches the surface of how complex the gameplay of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle can get, as you have to pick Mario and two additional characters, to fight along him on the battleground, whilst taking care to manage your money to give each character the best possible weapons and while also keeping track what each character can bring into the battle in order to get an advantage in the fights. Luckily, the game stars very slow and easy, with simple first matches to get you going and get you to know all kinds of options you have in order to win the battle the quickest. Because of course you will not have endless time to finish each encounter. Each battle will have you achieve different goals, such as the survival of all party members and also winning the fight within a certain amount of rounds taken. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle indeed is a seemingly easy to learn, but also quite hard to master type of game. Luckily, for those who want to have an easier time, you can opt in to get your health 100% back and additionally twice as much health for an encounter, should you feel like the challenge ahead is unbeatable. I personally really like this addition, as it is without any consequences. The game doesn’t take away success from you or mocks you for choosing the easy option. It just has you pick whether you want to face the full challenge, or you want to massage your brain with a less high risk of failing the next battle.
Besides the already mentioned quite complex yet easy to learn game system, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle also has a lot of fun and relaxing moments taking away stress from you as the player. The Rabbids, especially Rabbid Peach, give a lot of lighthearted and quick comedy bits without saying a single word. On top of that, the game has the most surprising, most memorable and easily the also most entertaining boss fight that sings to you while you fight him! What more can I say, other than that I really enjoyed my time with Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and I am sure recommending the game to you all out there, especially if you like some nice strategy games that tease your brain.