Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle proves that some games take you a little by surprise, and this is definitely one of those.
Firstly, how did the annoying rabbids find their way into a well-thought-of franchise like Mario? Also, who decided that they were going to make a turn-based strategy game involving said characters? Anyhow, this person obviously understood that it would actually work, so well done young sir! (or lady!)
The game follows a typical Mario style story with a little bit of randomness. A rabbid seems to have gained control of some magical glasses which transform objects, merging them in a variety of random ways. Through accidentally obtaining said glasses, the rabbids have caused havoc across all of the four different kingdoms. Your job, along with your cronies, is to save the kingdom, which of course, isn’t as straight forward as you would have liked.
The sound was that of a Mario game – childish, but enjoyable. Nothing too complex, but consistent enough to keep the fun light-hearted. It must be said that the noises coming out of the rabbid’s mouths were quite annoying but surely they are meant to be.
Visually, this game is exactly what you would expect from a game carrying the Mario logo; blooming beautiful. I found myself often setting up an imaginary camp so I could explore the scenario. The colours are vibrant and the difference between how the rabbid version of the character looks, compared to normal characters is so subtle but also distinctive. You always know with a Mario game that you are going to spot little extra touches and these are evident throughout the game, be it the transformation of a fire flower and a rabbid into some kind of evil thing is hilarious and well-drawn.
The four different worlds all have their own distinct feel, but a feel that you would only link to previous Mario games. Nintendo rarely release a game that looks poor, and even though there will be those who say the graphics haven’t progressed since previous Marios, then they are missing the point. Why change something if it isn’t broken or more importantly, if something already carries beauty it need not change? I also often hear ‘childish’ brandished about by many a Nintendo hater.. Well I completely agree, the graphics are quite childish (cartoonish), and that is partly what draws me in so much!
The gameplay took me by surprise in a few different ways. Personally, I wasn’t expecting to see, nor enjoy a tactical strategy title. I received this review at the same time as buying Super Mario Odyssey and, believe it or not, I have definitely played a lot more of this game than the latter. You take control of four characters (about 9 to unlock altogether) and are running to reach the goal. Annoyingly, whilst running, you take control of Beep-o who leads the way. This was quite off putting because right behind him is normally Mario, and you get a bit put off as your eyes will be drawn to the plumber. This wasn’t a big problem, but was a little problematic.
Throughout your journey, you’ll reach different preset areas where enemies appear. Next, you’ll take control of three of the characters and defeat the enemies. MARKB uses a turn-based system, so you get time to plan the actions you’re going to take.
Often, I found myself getting so involved in deciding what to do, that when I actually came to do it, I had completely forgotten my inspired plan. Plus, just like chess, you rarely can predict the move the enemy rabbids are going to make. This is due to the extensive range of moves you can perform. Firstly, there’s your standard shot. Next, you can move from around the area, jump on enemies heads, jump on your friend’s heads and bounce off in and around the area. There are also special attacks and upgrades, which you unlock the longer you play. All this will vary how you play the game and approach each challenge. In addition, I loved how you can change your characters before each battle.
Overall, Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle will provide you with a healthy amount of fun and even keep your wife entertained when you play the selection of levels for which you can use multiplayer, although it was a bit of a shame that you couldn’t finish the *whole* game in multiplayer and I feel they’ve missed a trick there. The range of moves and combinations will keep you on your heels, and struggling to work out how you can finish off the enemies in as few turns as possible. Upgrading your moves are fun, but slightly simple, and don’t massively effect the game. It will take you much longer than you would expect to complete this game (around 26 hours) and that went down well with me. Mario has once again provided us with a very good game.
Mario and Rabbids Kingdom Battle is out now on Nintendo Switch, and click on the packshot for the full-size version.
- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Players: single player, multiplayer
I have been a video game player since 1993 and a music fan since I can remember. I studied Film and Journalism at university and ended up becoming a Primary School teacher. Video games changed my life and sent me on the right track and have stayed with me ever since.