Sure Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle has been out for awhile, but we just got our review copy the other day. Our Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle review is going to take a slightly different approach than other, and our past gaming, reviews — I’ll be tag teaming this one with my son Jaden! Read on to find out our thoughts on this interesting mash-up on the Nintendo Switch.
Any gamer born in the last century has most likely played, or at least heard of, a Mario game. Whether it’s Super Mario Bros. or Mario Kart Racing, the franchise is easily one of the biggest in the industry. Not as many gamers may have heard of the Rabbids, first appearing in Rayman Raving Rabbids back in 2006. The Rabbids are rabbit-like creatures who find themselves in the center of mischief more often than not, and may remind you somewhat of the Minions from the Despicable Me movies. The Rabbids have popped up in various other video games and when we first heard that Mario and Rabbids was getting a mashup, we were definitely intrigued. Before we go too much further, check out the trailer for the game below:
In Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, the story starts off in the basement of the creator of the SupaMerge, an augmented reality helmet that can merge two things together. When the Rabbids find their way there in their Time Washing Machine (of all things), one of the Rabbids puts the SupaMerge on and starts merging everything together — including Rabbids with items that turn them into weird Mario characters — until he ends up merging himself with the SupaMerge. The Rabbids then end up back in the washing machine with a Super Mario poster which in turn takes them to the Mushroom Kingdom where the Rabbids start invading it and all of Mario’s friend get scattered around the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario is then forced to team up with Rabbid Peach and Rabbid Luigi, with the help of an AI assistant named Beep-O, to help find his friends and save the Mushroom Kingdom.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is split into four worlds, each with nine chapters. In each world, there is a mid-boss in chapter four and a final boss in chapter nine. When you first load up a world chapter you pick your team of three heroes and then run around collecting coins, opening treasure chests, and solving puzzles. Treasure chests can contain a number of items including weapons, power orbs to level up the skills of your characters, and even collectables.
Once you come across a Battle spot and enter it, you’ll find that they are turn based. In each Battle, each hero can move once, attack with either a primary or secondary weapon, or use a special power, if chosen, and then it is the enemies turn. If a player wishes or can’t attack because the enemies are out of sight or range you can pass the turn onto the enemies. Each Battle has a different goal, including defeating enemies, reaching a specific area, or escorting characters across the map.
Each weapon, except for the first one your character gets, has a chance of having a super effect on the targeted enemy. There are eight super effects. Some of the effects include vampire — which drains additional HP — burn — which lights the enemy on fire and forces them to move — and stone — which reduces enemy movement, attack, and techniques.
You also have to watch your health of your heroes as it doesn’t regenerate between battles in the same chapter. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a mushroom which can be used to restore health. If not, you can change up your team before the next battle. It’s important to upgrade your weapons and skill tree of each hero in case you need to swap them in for the next battle.
The controls are easy to use. The left joystick is used to move/decide where you want to move in a battle while the right joystick rotates the camera. The A button is used to confirm actions, X to change the camera view, and Y to skip your turn. The ZL and ZR shoulder buttons are used to select actions while L and R let you change between the heroes on your team.
If you have Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Yoshi amiibos, you can connect them to the game and unlock two exclusive weapons for each character and their Rabbid counterpart.
Peach’s Castle acts as a hub for the game and lets you replay existing worlds, visit Battle HQ, and more. There is also plenty of replayability to the game as each world offers new challenges after they have been completed, as well as unlocks a co-op campaign mode.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle features 3D-cartoonish graphics which work well for both the Mario and Rabbids worlds. The lighting and shading is well done, as are the animations for all the moves — both in and out of battle. The environments are colourful and bright, and definitely fitting for the game style and vary from grassy to snow-covered areas. The game looks fantastic when played on the smaller Switch screen or a 106-inch projector screen. The three-quarter top down view lets you see ahead to where your going easily, as well as seeing the layout of the battleground during the Battles. Especially fun is the design of the mashed-up Rabbids/Mario characters throughout the game.
As with other Mario games, the sound effects, and background music is pretty much bang on. Most of the dialogue is done through speech bubbles, but the Rabbids gibberish is front and center throughout the game. The score for the game enhances the gameplay in just the right amounts at the right times, making for a fully immersive and enjoyable gaming experience.
Once you’ve completed a world, you’ll then be able to play local multiplayer through a co-op campaign for that world. The co-op mode is accessed through a Buddy Dome near Peach’s Castle. Each campaign features different challenges than the single player campaign so you’ll be getting a fresh take on each world. In addition, instead of controlling a team of three heroes, each player controls teams of two heroes — and friendly fire counts during Battles. The co-op campaign starts with an Easy and Normal mode being available and a Hard mode is unlocked after completion.
While the co-op campaign can be played with two Joy-Cons, you’re better off playing with two sets of Joy-Cons or the Switch Pro Controller as I found controlling the gameplay, albeit turn based, was easier when being able to use both halves of the Joy-Cons together.
With a retail price of $59.99 USD, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is almost certainly a must buy for Nintendo Switch owners who are fans of the Mario franchise. Even better, the game is currently listed on Amazon for $53.99 as of the time of this review.
The familiar worlds of Mario combined with the quirky Rabbids makes for a fun and enjoyable turn-based strategy game with hours of fun to be had. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is most definitely a strange mashup that actually works and can be enjoyed in bite-sized chunks or longer gaming sessions.
*We were sent a review copy of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle on the Nintendo Switch for the purposes of this review.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle$59.99 USD
- Fun story/mashup with Mario and Rabids
- Colourful graphics and worlds
- Enjoyable gameplay
- Local co-op mode
- amiibo support
- Some of the moves can get repetitive
- Can't play co-op mode without unlocking it