Ubisoft have struck gold with Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. What was once something I would have laughed off a year ago has, without a doubt, become one of my favourite games of 2017. Kingdom Battle is special in so many ways, and continues to drive home the Switch’s main selling point of versatility and working with your needs. It’s smart, funny, and charming, and is wrapped up in a package that’s uniquely Nintendo, minus the welcoming difficulty we’ve become so accustomed to seeing over the years.
Let me get this out of the way from the beginning: Kingdom Battle is challenging. It’s a game of tactical awareness, strategic planning, and quite a bit of luck. It won’t hold your hand in its latter stages, and it’s going to make you frustrated. But with perseverance comes reward, and getting through the harder stages left me with feelings of both reward and excitement to finally continue on. That said, there is an easy mode option that you can make use of prior to every battle in the game which ups your health by 50% and heals all of your characters, which should help those that are truly struggling. In my experience, though, I’d suggest sticking with it and getting through with gritted teeth — the reward is all the more worth it.
The premise of Kingdom Battle is a fascinating one, with the SupaMerge, an augmented reality headset, pulling Ubisoft’s Rabbids into Nintendo’s Mushroom Kingdom, in turn breaking the Kingdom itself apart, separating Mario and co. from one another, and causing chaos across the land. Some Rabbids are merged into quirky Nintendo counterparts, like Rabbid Mario and Rabbid Peach for example, and join Mario on his quest to find the Rabbid with the SupaMerge and fix the Kingdom before it gets too crazy. It’s a whacky, zany premise of course, but for an IP of this nature it absolutely works from beginning to end — Kingdom Battle is confident in its delivery of story, and it’s a joy to play throughout.