Mario and Rabbids are on the loose!
This E3, Ubisoft unveiled Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. Not only did they get their hands on the franchise, they actually got Nintendo’s own Shigeru Miyamoto (the creator of the Super Mario franchise) to give them his blessing. It was reported that Mr. Miyamoto gave Ubisoft a guideline to live by before they began the endeavor, and that was basically to bring something new to the table, and not make another platformer. Interestingly enough, they ended up with a crossover of two franchises: Mario and Ubisoft’s own Rabbids to create Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. And for everything its worth, the game so far plays really well.
What short bits we got to see at the E3 2017’s Ubisoft conference were tons of humor and a short bit of gameplay. Let me tell you the preview version was complete filled with humor. The infamous Rabbids franchise is already well known for its insane, sometimes mildly weird humor; and in Kingdom Battle they haven’t lost their touch. Whereas in the well known Mario franchise, we get some family friendly humor that never crosses the line. At first it’s odd to see these lovable characters of Mario combine with the Rabbids, but it translates so well.
The quick witted, mostly (speechless) humor is just lovely. You get these hilarious, sometimes grubby little deformed rabbits, with their mildly weird attitudes; showing up in the Mushroom Kingdom and quickly walking around like they own the place. Whereas with Mario and his clean-cut crew of mushroom dwellers, there’s this certain charm and class that goes along with their style of lighthearted humor. Each of the main Mario characters get a rabbid doppelganger; a character that looks just like them but in a more immature way. The humor ensues on just how wacky these little guys can get, and the way they mimic the counterparts is just amazingly hilarious. I never would have imagined this ever working out, but it practically writes itself.
So not being an platformer, Ubisoft decided to go the route of making Kingdom Battle a dynamic turn-based strategy game with RPG elements. The kingdom has come under attack and it’s up to Mario and his pals to rescue the kingdom and its dwellings from evil rabbids, some of which are massive in size and scale. The game revolves around moving from square to square, and you’re given a few squares to move around to at a time. With brick walls and other things covering squares for cover-base strategizing, you work your way around a little map taking out the evil rabbids with a set of attacks.
Mario can throw rabbids around to allow them to stretch longer distances than moving on its own for more advanced strategizing. The game plays similar to Fire Emblem, but in a more kid-friendly tone and difficulty — at least that’s how the preview version was. I found the strategy to be very welcoming to anyone who isn’t a strategy RPG expert. The intuitive controls didn’t take more than a short time to learn, and the game is always prepared to teach you something new.
Mario is equipped with the usual stomps that we’re so used to seeing in any regular Mario game; but he also has a long ranged attack now: a big arm cannon. This cannon helps to eliminate enemies from across the map. The map itself has ways to get free attacks as well, with things like exploding blocks that can explode whoever is standing next to it. And rabbids on your team can help protect you with shields and group heal.
Kingdom Battle is a gorgeous game, and it’s something you’ll likely only see on a Nintendo console. It’s that flair of ingenuity and brilliance it seems only Nintendo (and now Ubisoft) can bring to the table. Kingdom Battle is flushed with bright vivid colors, and graphics that just pop out at you. From the bright lively primary colors of the Mario gang, followed by their rabbid clones; all the way to the Mushroom Kingdom itself, there’s a breathtaking scene in every frame.
This game was previewed on the Nintendo Switch.