• Gamer's Gazette Review - Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

    Gamer's Gazette Issue XXXI

    Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

    Here, have some lovely music composed by Grant Kirkhope.

    Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a turn based strategy game, in which the Rabbids - sociopathic French Minion-esque characters - team up with classic Mario characters to save the Mushroom Kingdom from different, more sociopathical Rabbids. It released on Nintendo Switch in August 2017.

    The first thing that Mario + Rabbids hits you over the head with is its fantastic music and animation. The entire game looks like a Pixar movie, and the soundtrack draws a lot of inspiration from old school 3d platformers. Then again, in a Mario game that might be a given.

    "Hostile pacified."

    The main meat of the game is the turn-based battles, where Mario and two other characters of your choice fight the corrupted Rabbids. A battle starts with the movement phase, where Mario and his comrades can dash their enemies and take cover. Unlike many more realistic tactics games, however, Mario + Rabbids lets you get quite creative with your movement. For example, Mario can dash an opponent, run to an ally to get a Team Jump, allowing him to move even further, and then jump on top of another opponent, then springboard to cover.

    "Eyes peeled Commander!"

    The Team Jumps often can have special effects as well. Yoshi will cause an explosion wherever he lands, whereas Peach heals anyone within a radius of her landing position. The Rabbid characters have their own specialities as well of course. I always found the most useful to be Rabbid Luigiís Vampire Dash, which applies to all opponents RL dashes. Anyone who hits someone cursed with Vampire will get a slice of their health back if the attack was successful.

    "Double time."

    Every character has their own arsenal of guns and upgradables, as well as a skill tree (because of course Yoshi has a skill tree). If you are not interested in making Luigi as efficient a killer as possible, however, it is possible to let the game automatically upgrade your characters. This is completely fine, as firstly it is a kid friendly game, and secondly most of the upgrades unfortunately are quite boring (with a few exceptions like, Rabbid Luigiís VAMPIRISM).

    "Going hot."

    Mario + Rabbids is at its best when you get to play with abilities and systems to make cool combos. Certain enemies always move towards their aggressor when getting shot, so you need to be careful not to get stomped by taking potshots. Thatís where abilities like Marioís Hero Sight come in handy, as he will shoot anyone that moves. Of course, now Mario is the target, but if Mario used a gun with the status effect Bounce, the enemy might get flung in a random direction, thus triggering Yoshiís or Luigiís similar overwatch abilities. If Rabbid Luigi had started the turn by dashing the enemy, everyone has gained some lost health and the enemy is almost certainly dead by this point (well, not actually dead, just cleansed of the tech-magic that corrupted them in the first place).

    Each of the four worlds is structured into 9 chapters, with a midboss halfway through the world, and an end boss, well, at the end. There are some excellent Rabbifications of classic Mario villains here, like Rabbid Kong and a few later ones I wonít spoil. Unfortunately not every villain is as interesting, with the second world boss being a big iceman with, as far as I know, no connection to Mario or anything else for that matter. That is all made up for by the third boss, which I wonít spoil, but is well worth a Youtubing if you donít intend to play the game.

    "Cleared to engage!"

    The story of Mario + Rabbids is simple, but competent. A strange VR headset brings the Rabbids to the Mushroom Kingdom, Bowser Junior kidnaps the Rabbid wearing the headset and chaos reigns for a little while until Mario and friends can set things right again. Itís nothing we havenít heard of before, but itís well told, and the real joy is in the characters and how they interact with each other during cutscenes even though itís all done without words. This is where the aforementioned Pixar-esque animation quality really comes into its own, giving character and life to all the lovely Rabbids.

    "I don't think we're alone out here."

    In the end Mario + Rabbids is just a joy to play. Exploration and puzzle solving is a big part of what you do outside of battles, and though the puzzles are pretty easy, they are never boring to solve because of the pure joy it is to just watch the world go by. The combat scenarios can be difficult and feel somewhat unfair at times, but the battles are usually short enough, that losing doesnít really matter as you will be right where you left off in a matter of minutes No permadeath for Mario. My only real gripes with the game is that there is no New Game + (you can only really use Yoshi for half a world before the game is over unless you go back and play the earlier levels again, by which point youíre really overleveled) and that Mario has to be the leader of your party in every battle. I mean, heís nice, but with only 2 characters to choose from itís quite difficult to experiment with new characters. I only used Luigi once or twice, and Rabbid Yoshi was put in a box the moment I got him, and I never opened that box again.

    Until a few months ago few people even thought this game could even exist, even less be good, but as it turns out Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is actually some of the most fun Iíve had in any game this year, and itís a close contender to the best game of the year so far. If you own a Switch Mario + Rabbids is a must have, and if you are looking for a reason to get one, the game is as good a reason as any.

    "9/10 Rabbids Killed. Excellent result commander"
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Alwyn's Avatar
      Alwyn -
      Great review! This game does look very enjoyable, I like the Pixar-style visuals and the idea of experimenting with combinations of abilities and systems in battles.
    1. TheDarkKnight's Avatar
      TheDarkKnight -
      I personally think that it is wonderful that Maisie has finally embraced the ways of the console. It's about time
    1. Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar
      Caillagh de Bodemloze -
      You know, there's only one problem with your reviews, Mhaedros. They make me want to play everything!

      This one's beautifully written, as always, and the pictures and captions are wonderful.