Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
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.
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.
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