What is Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle?
Merging the Mushroom Kingdom with Ubisoft's lovable Rabbids, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle brings all your favourite characters together for a strategic showdown. When the Rabbids discover a cutting edge headset that can merge two items together, disaster isn't far behind, as the hapless Rabbids end up accidentally merging themselves with many of the biggest Mario baddies. Flung into the middle of the Mushroom Kingdom, it's up to Mario, Rabbid Peach, and Rabbid Luigi to deal with the Rabbid invasion, and separate the worlds once more.
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How do you play Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle?
A world away from any other Mario or Rabbids game, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is a turn based, grid based strategy game. Played from a top down perspective, you'll take it in turns to move your three characters around the grid, before choosing to fire, and/or use a special ability. With cover to hide behind, "dash attacks" that let you attack an enemy while on your way to somewhere else, and a damage system that even takes into account the height of the terrain (attacks from higher ground do more damage), there's a lot to keep in mind in the game's many battles.
With 36 stages to play through, each of which consists of two separate levels, there's a huge variety of challenges and levels to get stuck into in Kingdom Battle. While most levels simply ask you to defeat all the Rabbids, others offer more unusual objectives, like challenging you to race to a specific point in a certain number or turns, or escorting a Toad through the level. As you play, you'll earn a number of Power Orbs, which can be spent on various upgrades, from increasing the damage your melee attacks do, to adding all important healing abilities, both of which help make the game a lot easier.
How easy is Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle to pick up and play?
With so much to think about, and a pretty steep learning curve, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is aimed at an experienced audience. With cover, terrain height, and the range of your (and your enemy's) weapons to take into account, positioning is hugely important in Kingdom Battle - and much like a game of chess, you'll want to think through every eventuality before making a move with your character (especially as you won't be able to undo it if things go wrong). Unlike almost any other strategy game you'll have played, the battles in Mario + Rabbids also have a rather different flow, as not only can you attack enemies simply by moving, or jump off friendly characters to cover large distances, but you'll also often need to switch between characters mid-move, perhaps moving one, then switching to another to attack or team up, before changing back to perform a special move. With a lot to take in, and a team of three characters to control, it'll take some time before you figure out how best to use the abilities you have - especially as the enemies you'll be facing know exactly how to exploit every facet of the levels.
Most levels consist of at least two stages back to back, and as you aren't actually able to heal in between levels, you can sometimes end up going into the second stage with very little health remaining. Even failing a stage won't restore your health - you'll just start over again with the same, little HP remaining. Luckily, an optional easy mode can be triggered before each stage, which heals your characters, and gives them 50% more health - but even then, the game still packs a challenge. Some of the really important parts of the game are also left for you to mostly discover on your own - like the fact you can upgrade your weapon, and buy new abilities before each battle.
For the youngest of players, a solid reading ability is a requirement, as the game contains little in the way of voice overs.
Sample sentences include:
- "A shocking (though admittedly hilarious) example of the chaos wrought by the intrusion of our world into this one."
- "Those Rabbids, they seem driven to cause chaos and mayhem - more so than usual"
- "It may be asleep now, but as soon as it senses our presence it will wake up, eager to bite us!"
In terms of mature content, there's very little for parents to be concerned about in Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, with nothing in the way of bad language, no sexual content, and only very mild, slapstick violence. While enemies will sometimes splat you with giant blocks, and you'll shoot them with rockets or lasers, there's nothing in the way of blood or any realistic impacts, with enemies simply disappearing in a digital cloud when defeated.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo Switch