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Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Switch) Review

September 7, 2017 | Posted by Adam Larck
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom
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Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Switch) Review  

On paper, Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle shouldn’t work.

It’s a weirder combination than what Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games is. Instead of sports minigames, you have Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and Peach, the main starts of the Mushroom Kingdom, teaming up with Ubisoft’s Rabbid versions of themselves to try and fix the mashup of the two universes through turn-based, XCOM style combat. For Mario fans, there’s a lot to digest here.

The biggest shock for those fans is that Mario doesn’t seem to be the main role here. Sure, he’s featured on the cover and one of the main characters, but the Rabbids that have fused and taken over the world definitely seem like the main role here.

Kingdom Battle focuses on the six heroes having their worlds merged after a “SupaMerge” device blends them together. They then follow Beep-o around (only in the world to give easier directions to during combat from what I can figure out) to try and set things right.

To set things right, Mario doesn’t platform to take enemies out. Instead, prepare for turn-based strategy combat, like XCOM or Fire Emblem. However, there are a few twists that try to make the game unique and easier to pick up.

Each character has two phases during their turns: a move phase and action phase. During the move phase, you can position characters behind cover for better defense. However, you can also run into an enemy (or two later on) to cause damage, and use a teammate to let you jump further distances for better position. Mario can even get the ability to use that jump to damage an enemy when he lands on their head.

Then, you get to the action phase. During these phase you can use abilities, such as a shield, as well as your main ranged gun attack. That’s right, Mario is packing heat. Plus, some guns you get later on can add effects, such as slow or burn damage.

While most battles just tasks you with eliminating all enemies, others want you to escort a unit to the end or just try to rush a goal area with constantly spawning enemies. There are also plenty of enemies as well, from the generic peons to those that bounce, teleport, charge toward you when hit and more. They’re mixed up often enough that you never really get tired of everything going on around you.

In addition, there’s also the standard tech tree to invest points in as you level up. By the end, you can have characters like Mario and Luigi almost constantly doing damage to enemies that walk nearby, while Peach Rabbid becomes your main healer and defensive specialist.

However, not everything is great in the combat. Attacks are percentage based on the amount of cover an enemy is behind. No cover? You’ll always hit. Tall cover? You’ll never hit. Short cover? 50/50 shot. And that’s the breakdown. Considering most enemies are always behind the smaller cover, a lot of times you’ll be cursing your luck when you’re faced with miss after miss.

The good news is that, unlike XCOM or Fire Emblem, death isn’t permanent. Teams are healed after a full level is complete, and new members can be shuffled in with full health between battles. Still, when the difficulty sometimes spikes, having a random critical ruin a half-hour fight and forcing you start again can be frustrating.

Now, that’s not to say some Mushroom Kingdom staples aren’t in the game. You still collect coins (used to buy new weapons) and move some blocks around as puzzles to progress to more fights. However, there’s no jumping outside of combat, just mainly running from one battleground to the next with some light exploration thrown in.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Overall, Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle is not as in depth as other tactical RPGs, but offers a good challenge with a lighthearted atmosphere. While it may be an odd Mario entry, it’s definitely one that shouldn’t be overlooked.