I’m going to be completely honest with you right now: I hate Rabbids. Their screaming, their childishness…I always thought they were so annoying and they irritated me to no end. Until now. Though I likely feel this way for this Rabbid game only, the charm of Mario and co has spread to these irksome critters and it actually makes them likeable. I even found myself laughing at their shenanigans during my time preparing my Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Review.
This strategy game is developed by Ubisoft with the blessings of Nintendo, exclusively on the Switch. It uses Turn-Based Strategy gameplay seen in other games such as X-Com and The Banner Saga. The is plenty of Nintendo charm but also some solid gameplay.
Check out my thoughts below to see if this one is for you and your Nintendo Switch.
Review Side Quest
What do you guys think of Rabbids? Irredeemably annoying, or incredibly cute? Love ’em or hate ’em?
Leave your answer in a comment on Disqus or Facebook after reading, and share with your friends so you can be at odds over whether you like rabbids or not! Fun times!
How does it play?
Mario + Rabbids doesn’t actually have you controlling any Rabbids, OR Mario for that matter. You’re actually controlling a cute little robot – with a bit of an anger management problem – named BEEP-0, who turns into your cursor when you’re in battle.
In battle, you use BEEP-0 to choose where you want your characters to move. You can’t move wherever you want however, you can only move within a limited space, which can be increased by upgrading your characters with power orbs as you progress in the game. If you click on an enemy before you select a place to move, you can do a Dash Attack, which can come in really handy when you want to do as much damage as you can. It’s basically an extra attack that you can do, albeit not as powerful as properly attacking.
Clicking on an ally allows you to jump off them, extending your area of movement. Mario can also use this to jump on enemy heads as one of his abilities. Each character has their own abilities and playstyles which you can mix together to create a strong party ready for any plan of attack. For example, Rabbid Peach can heal team members, Luigi is an excellent sniper, and Rabbid Yoshi is the cutest thing I have ever seen. Oh, and he has a sweet Gatling gun, that’s cool too.
It’s not unforgiving like X-Com, there’s no permadeath to worry about and its way less stressful. The strategy system isn’t complicated and serious, Ubisoft have done a great job at making it not too punishing and still fun to play.
When you’re not fighting for your life against corrupted Rabbids, there are little sections of the world between fights. These sections can have puzzles, secrets and viewing spots, where you can watch Rabbids you come across being rabbids, with some (unpunny) commentary from BEEP-0.
I found myself really enjoying the puzzle sections, they made a nice change of pace from fighting and provided a refreshing break. As you complete worlds, BEEP-0 will acquire new skills like being able to move or smash rocks. These make revisiting old worlds interesting, as some optional puzzles require certain skills to complete.
There are also a TON of collectables to find, like soundtrack records, 3D models, concept art and tarot cards. All of which you can view in the museum in the Hub world of Peach’s Castle. You’ll also come across blue Rabbid cannons, which will take you to hidden areas that will reward you if you complete them in time.
Coins are an important factor in Mario games, and they can be found aplenty in the worlds you visit. They can be spent on new weapons for your characters, which are wonderfully and colourfully designed. Some even have pun names referencing other games/movies. For example, a gun that ‘derezzes’ enemies (hmm, wonder what THAT’S from), and a grenade (which are squeaky ducks in this game) wearing night vision goggles called ‘Sam Kingfisher’.
I see what you did there, Ubisoft. Each character has a primary weapon and a sub weapon. Don’t ignore the sub weapons! They’re handier than you think.
Presentation and Graphics
Seeing as the game takes place in the Mushroom Kingdom, you can expect everything to look happy and colourful, which it most definitely does. The colours are bright and cutsey, even in the gloomier worlds. The worlds are all distinctive from each other, and all feel different. Everything is pleasing to look at, and the Rabbids actually fit in perfectly. They look like they have always been in Mario games.
When you don’t have the Rabbids BWAAH-ing in your ears, the sounds and music are crystal clear and superb to listen to. From the Peach’s Castle theme in the hub world to the little victory theme after clearing a bunch of battles, it’s all familiar and nostalgic. The game runs perfectly fine, the controls are perfectly responsive, and it never feels clunky or heavy to control.
The story of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, is that the Rabbids screwed up some poor girl’s science project in the real world, a project that combines objects to make something new and more efficient (like a flower that’s also a lamp).
The mayhem they cause teleports them to the Mushroom Kingdom where, of course, they screw it up even more. The project (which resembles a VR headset) fuses itself to one of the rabbids, and he’s uncontrollably (and accidently) combing things and making a mess of the Marios world. The game revolves around you trying to catch up to him to stop him from making even more of a mess.
As mentioned earlier, this is not a typical Mario game. The battle system is a Turn-Based Strategy, so instead of jumping on all your enemies’ heads, you actually have to think and tactically plan your way through battles.
This works so well within the world of Mario, however. You can have your characters take cover behind the well-known brick blocks so that you don’t get hit, and there will be warp pipes around the battlefield (that have been given the Rabbids flair) that you can use to get around and flank your targets.
Nothing feels forced from either Mario’s or the Rabbids side, both franchises seem to fit perfectly with each other and it just works.
Should I play this?
I really recommend this to those who have a Switch. It’s a fantastic experience and has humour that will appeal to all ages. The characters are all so loveable (‘specially Rabbid Yoshi, I’m smitten with how adorable he is!) and even the new addition, BEEP-0 is a well written little character who’s snarkiness and sarcasm is amusing to witness.
There’s only two minor problems I have. Firstly, that you couldn’t have a full team of members from the Mario games. At one point, I felt my best members were from Team Mario, but I couldn’t use them all because you have to have at least one Rabbid. It wasn’t bad enough for me to think less of it or for it to ruin my experience.
It’s understandable though, it IS called Mario + Rabbids after all. Secondly, sometimes going straight from battle to battle is tiring and can get a teensy bit boring. Having a little break rectified this though and I was ready to go again.
Gamers who should…
Any strategy fans. If you enjoyed games like Fire Emblem: Awakening, Valkyria Chronicles, Final Fantasy Tactics and the obvious X-COM, then you’ll probably enjoy this. Liking Mario games also helps.
Gamers who probably shouldn’t…
Anyone who doesn’t like to think their way through battles. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Sometimes we just want brainless action, and if that’s what you want from this, it’s not what you’ll get.
|The Good||The Bad||The Bugs|
|Story||Battles can become overly repetitive||Nothing during review|
|Gameplay||There are no Rabbid Plushies (yet)!|
About This Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Review
Game Reviewed: This Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, digital edition provided by publisher
Review Format: Nintendo Switch
PEGI Rating: 7