Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is the video game crossover nobody asked for and one that many online commentators believed was doomed to fail, but against all odds this wonderfully zany turn-based role-playing game for the Nintendo Switch has proven to be one of 2017’s biggest surprises.
The premise is simple enough: Mario, of Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros fame, must take on a gang of Rabbids, of Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids franchise, who have invaded the Mushroom Kingdom and are running riot across the lands.
To do this, Mario teams up with some of his most famous friends (in addition to a group of cosplaying Rabbids) to travel through the Kingdom and rid his home of the Rabbid problem before things get too out of hand.
Gameplay takes the form of a turn-based strategy that has more in common with genre stalwarts like XCOM and the Final Fantasy series than it does with the platformers we usually associate with Nintendo’s plucky little plumber, but you can see elements of the Mario Party and Paper Mario weaved throughout the simply yet satisfying gameplay.
The setup is pretty straightforward: you lead a team of heroes and Rabbids through a series of worlds, using guns to blast enemies back through the portal they came from.
The combat is turn-based with both sides using their turns to either move around the battlefield or attack an opponent.
Once you’ve cleared all enemies from the battlefield you can progress to the next stage, and the multitude of features and gorgeous level design keeps the game feeling and looking fresh throughout the whole campaign.
There are plenty of neat moves to use in the game, such as a deadly dash attack and a pretty funny teammate throw, and the Rabbids presence in the game adds a more slapstick style of comedy not typically seen in Super Mario games.
The pairing of the more serious Mario and the literally raving mad Rabbids results in some truly hilarious moments, and the game is guaranteed to be a hit with children and adults alike.
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle may have caused some people to pull a complete 180 turn when it was first announced, but after spending lots of time with this delightful little game we’re happy to say that it is a worthwhile purchase for any Nintendo Switch owner, turn-based fan or not.