Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle May Look REALLY Weird, But We Loved Playing It
I've familiar with the Rabbids franchise, but I've never played the games. The drooling bunny-like Rabbids never really appealed to me. But after playing a great demo of the game at E3, I think I may have been converted.
This is the first time the worlds of Mario and Rabbids have collided, which makes sense given that they don't really exist within the same universe. Everything comes together when an otherworldly vortex somehow teleports the Rabbids into the Mushroom Kingdom of Mario games. Most of these Rabbids are mischievous creatures seeking to wreak havoc, but Mario and his friends befriend a few heroic Rabbids (who for some reason dress like them) to return the kingdom to peace.
The gameplay is unlike anything I've seen in previous Mario titles, though I can't speak to how similar it is to past Rabbids games. Mario, Peach, Luigi and Yoshi, as well as their Rabbid doppelgängers, fight the bad Rabbids using a turn-based system on a battlefield laid out like a grid.
Gaining victory is all about positioning yourself strategically and utilizing the right moves to gain the upper hand. You'll always want to find a location that balances the chance to attack your opponent while also giving you good cover for when it's their turn to strike back. This also means you'll be destroying their hiding places to get at them in the next turn and making use of the environment to do your work for you. One favorite strategy of mine involved traveling through a pipe to melee attack an angry Rabbid before popping back into another pipe to return to my original location.
The Rabbids are also a lot smaller than Mario and his crew, so when it's time to move your Rabbid, you can send them to the non-Rabbid enjoys, who can propel them through the air to a more suitable location for them to plan their next move.
And while Mario isn't typically the type to utilize weapons, they're critical for the long-ranged attacks in this game. More than 250 unique weapons can be used in the game to defeat the feral Rabbids. With a combination of hits and weapon blasts, you can claw your way to victory with the help of a weird Rabbid dressed as Peach (who, for the record, is totally cool in my book.)
Despite—and maybe because of—the strangeness of Rabbids, I think this game really works. From my outsider perspective they seemed annoying, but the bold personalities of the character Rabbids really work to contrast those of the core Mario characters, and the troublesome behavior of the enemy Rabbids makes it even more satisfying to defeat them.
There's also a lot of depth to the gameplay I just didn't expect from a Rabbids title. I didn't expect it, but now I'm actually looking forward to its release on the Nintendo Switch on Aug. 29 of this year.
I'll have to admit that Mario + Rabbids wasn't my favorite Mario title of E3. Click HERE to find out all of my feelings playing the incredible Super Mario Odyssey at the show.