Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Game review on
Clinton Raethel / Wed 6th Sep 2017
83 views / 5 bites
OVERVIEW Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is an excellent turn-based strategy game that is much deeper than you'd expect. Balancing chaos with charm, the creative gameplay and detailed world combine for an experience like no other.
STORYLINE Thanks to the mischievous Rabbids, the Mushroom Kingdom is in complete disarray. After stealing a prototype 'SupaMerge' helmet, they inadvertently open an interdimensional vortex between the real world and the Kingdom, merging with a bunch of Mario paraphernalia and real world objects along the way. Your job is to defeat the manic Rabbids and their absurd creations, bringing peace back to the Mushroom Kingdom.
In spite of its image, Kingdom Battle is a damn solid isometric turn-based game. Controlling a team of three characters against an AI opponent, you have the flexibility to move, attack and utilise aura abilities in any order you see fit. You're able to jump off allies to extend your movement range and 'dash' through enemies for extra damage. There's destroyable cover, AOE effect crates, and pipes that teleport you around the battlefield. All of these can be chained together for a turn phase that makes you feel like an absolute genius, whilst retaining that Mario vibe we're so familiar with.
Sounds easy? Think again. There are eight characters to choose from, each with their own weapons, abilities and tech-trees. Each stage plays differently to the last in terms of layout and objective. The variety of enemies will constantly keep you on your toes, and they will overwhelm you if you don't prioritise threats correctly. Throw in some environmental factors and hit percentages to play with, and you've got a game that will punish your mistakes.
Thankfully, it never feels unfair. The small amount of luck involved with a successful phase cuts both ways, and while you may be cursing one round, you'll be smirking the next. To top it all off, there's a beautifully charming world to explore between stages, full of points of interest and puzzles to complete. While some are necessary to progress, others exist for the completionists who simply must have everything. Either way, I found myself having just as much fun out of battles as I did in them.
Combining the graphical strengths of the Mario and Rayman/Rabbids universes works just as well as you would expect. The world is full of character and charm; colours are vibrant and animations are slicker than a banana on a race track.
The interface also does a fantastic job of conveying what's going on and what your options are. Everything is clearly set out and well defined, meaning you are never short of the information you need.
The soundtrack is a clever mix of new and familiar - catchy music with punchy sound effects, and you'll quite often hear something that will take you back down memory lane. We are in the Mushroom Kingdom after all!
I did have one small issue with the dialogue or lack thereof. Grunts, whoops, beeps and BWAAAHs are the staples here, and I found myself craving spoken words to break things up.
VERDICT I didn't expect to like Kingdom Battle. I expected it to be a shameless amalgamation of universes to get some much-needed games onto the Switch - however, it's that amalgamation of universes that make Kingdom Battle so brilliant. Providing a unique take on the turn-based genre, it introduces new concepts and gameplay elements that challenge you to make the most of them. Place this in a beautiful world full of charm and character, and you've got a game that not only screams for your attention, it deserves it.