Reviews: Mario Plus Rabbids Kingdom Battle

A worthwhile game from any angle

Mario + Rabbids is one of those crossovers you'd never expect to work, but much like Hyrule Warriors, enough care was put into it to make a gem out of the premise. Whether you want a good Nintendo Switch game, a good turn-based tactics game, a Mario-themed game or a Rabbids-themed game, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle delivers on all fronts.

Gameplay comparisons to the XCOM series are inevitable, but really do the game no justice. A compasion like that would make me say M+R is a "simplified" XCOM, which has negative connotations - which are completely undeserved. Yes, the mechanics are much more straightforward than XCOM: accuracy is a flat 100%, 50%, or 0% depending on cover, for instance. But this is entirely to the games benefit, as it's extremely approachable. But at the same time, it never demeans to audience or underestimates their intelligence. The very clever level design makes moving just as important as shooting, and the tutorial only spoon-feeds you the very basics - once you have the building blocks of its many movement options, you're presented with obstacles that encourage you to test them in new ways. While the game starts easy enough, later worlds ramp up the difficulty and optional challenge can require enough outside-the-box thinking to get under an XCOM veteran's skin.

The presentation was everything one would hope for. The bright, colorful world of Mario, tempered by the unhinged antics and humor of the Rabbids, leads to a memorable atmosphere. The colors are bight and the terrain distinctive, changing constantly to keep you enagaged - the first world alone contains not only Mario's classic starting hills, but the tropics, a jungle, and a giant tower of building blocks. The characters look great and are well-animated. While the game does struggled a little with shadows and wide shots while in big-screen mode, it's never enough to spoil one's enjoyment of the proceedings.

Overall, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is easy to recommend. If you're interested in it for any reason, you'll get what you want and more, possibly even a gateway game for a new genre that has another title ready to hop to if you can't get enough. The game is absolutely worth your time and money.
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