Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle review: A surprisingly fun but challenging crossover

Switch (reviewed) - £44.00 - Ubisoft 

Jack Shepherd
Tuesday 12 September 2017 14:37
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On the surface, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle seems like a pretty awful idea. Considering the first Rabbids games (ignoring Rayman) were purely simplistic mini-game compilations, you would think the strange cross-over would follow along those lines?

Wrong! Ubisoft have basically taken the turn based system seen in XCOM: Enemy Unknown and turned the aliens into Rabbids. Somehow, it works miraculously well, being a fun combination of challenging gameplay and light-hearted story.

The basic storyline sees the Mushroom Kingdom overtaken by evil Rabbids after the two worlds accidentally merge together following a freak science experiment. To save the day, Mario must collect resources and skills, all in an attempt to bring peace to the world once more.

Playing as Mario, along with two partners (who become interchangeable as you unlock more characters), you travel through different stages, taking part in turn based combat against enemies. These enemies range from simple gun-wielding Rabbids, to monstrous Rabbids who smash you over the head with huge concrete slabs.

While the concept of Rabbids may seem childish, don’t be fooled. Forming strategies on the battlefield becomes a must, particularly as each differing enemies play style requires different tactics. Switching characters to utilise skills, spending time planning each battle, and making sure each character works together becomes key.

Considering the Rabbids previous games, it’s surprising how much depth the game’s combat system has. Unfortunately, at times, things can become a little repetitive. Thanks to the turn based system, there’s not exactly huge amounts of adrenaline pumping each time. While the leisurely pace is mainly enjoyable, attention can be lost at times.

Making up for the sometimes slower pace is the humour. Just because the gameplay’s difficult (and you can easily switch to an easier mode before each battle) doesn’t mean Mario and the Minion-type animals have lost their sense of fun. Throughout the game, meta jokes are plenty, the dialogue very strong.

Kingdom Battle also looks great on the Switch, playing particularly well on the console’s screen. For a long train journey, I couldn’t imagine many games would be better.

Of course, the Switch itself having already had a stellar year. Sure, the launch line-up wasn’t great — something that I was initially very skeptical about — but with Zelda, Mario Kart, Splatoon, Arms, and now this, Nintendo’s exclusive line-up looks very impressive. For those with a Switch, Kingdom Battle’s a good investment, particularly if you need another Mario fix before Odyssey finally lands.

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