Mario + Rab­bids King­dom Battle

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Should any­one have been that sur­prised Ubisoft would team up with Nin­tendo to make a Mario and Rab­bids game? Per­haps it's only in hind­sight that it makes a lot of sense. Ubisoft and Nin­tendo have had a good work­ing re­la­tion­ship for years, but Nin­tendo let­ting some­one else use Mario shows a lot of trust. Thank­fully, Ubisoft has done a bang up job with Mario + Rab­bids King­dom Battle.

The sim­ple story takes place in the Mush­room King­dom af­ter a mys­te­ri­ous por­tal opened up in the sky and flooded the land with Rab­bids. An­noy­ing, chaotic Rab­bids. And to set things right Mario teams up with four slightly less in­sane Rab­bids who have dressed up like Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, and even Mario him­self.

Lead­ing the charge is Beep-0, a Roomba-look­ing ro­bot who leads Mario and his team around the land, help­ing them col­lect coins while ex­plor­ing the world out­side of com­bat. It’s only when you walk into a des­ig­nated com­bat zon­esthat the game sud­denly shift to turn-based strat­egy mode.

RABBID SEA­SON

King­dom Battle plays like a cutesy ver­sion of XCOM in com­bat, with cover-based me­chan­ics, chained at­tacks, and an over­watch abil­ity to fire upon en­e­mies who cross your path. Some of these skills de­pend on your load­out, which can be cus­tomised be­tween bat­tles.

Dur­ing my play ses­sion I teamed up with Rabbid Luigi and Rabbid Peach, then set off to rid the land of… other Rab­bids. In the final battle of my ses­sion, my sole aim was to get at least one of my team­mates to the end zone. But to do it, we had to fight a cou­ple of ‘roided up Rab­bids, and avoid the Chain-Chomp hang­ing out in the mid­dle of the map.

One strat­egy I put into play was chain­ing move­ment, at­tack, and de­fence with my Rab­bids. In or­der to get to a dis­tant en­emy I moved Rabbid Luigi over to Rabbid Peach, who then launched Luigi into the air, and over to a warp pipe. Once on the other side of the pipe, I di­rected Luigi to run and at­tack his tar­get, then dash back into cover and hide. In one move I chained to­gether a huge combo, but I also had to be wary of the same trick be­ing used against me now.

I also re­alised that I’d messed up and left Mario ex­posed to ChainChomp af­ter plac­ing him in the wrong spot on the map. Thank­fully, Chain-Chomp is a third-party in the fight and doesn’t care who it at­tacks. It just bites who­ever is clos­est, and luck­ily it wasn’t any­one on my team. The battle raged on, Chain-Chomp in­ad­ver­tently helped out, and we com­pleted our ob­jec­tive.

CHAL­LENGE AC­CEPTED

What I played of Mario + Rab­bids King­dom Battle re­ally im­pressed me. It looks stun­ning in a way that’s usu­ally re­served for first-party Nin­tendo games, and de­spite the in­clu­sion of arm can­nons and deep com­bat me­chan­ics, it’s still got that nice ve­neer of car­toon­ish Nin­tendo fun.

My only hope is that Ubisoft are se­ri­ous about mak­ing the game chal­leng­ing. It a great look­ing and play­ing game, but I don't want it to be over all too soon. DE­VEL­OPER PUB­LISHER PLAT­FORM RE­LEASE DATE Ubisoft

Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Mi­lan Nin­tendo Switch Au­gust 29, 2017

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