Hands On Preview – Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (Switch)

Earlier this week, Nintendo Scene were invited to attend a press event at Nintendo UK HQ to play the games from Nintendo’s stellar showing at E3 2017. So over the next few days, we will be posting hands on previews of the various games that we got to play at the event. To kick things off, the spotlight-stealing Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle!


Right from the outset, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle FEELS like a proper Mario game. From the coin collecting, the sound effects, the lush character models, environments and warp pipes, you can tell right away that polish and effort that the franchise deserves has been put into this game. But, unlike, say, a 3D platform adventure from the Mushroom Kingdom, this Ubisoft Rabbids crossover hides multiple layers of hidden depth beneath its brightly coloured, glossy facade. This is the Mushroom Kingdom, but not as we know it. You can’t even jump. But, even in this short demo we’re looking at tactics, weapons and strategy that’s just dying to be explored further. Along with some interesting guests.

Turn based battles play out in a classic RPG manor and, much like Fire Emblem, you have the option to move your character to a space within a specified area. Of course, you also have the option to attack the enemy, be it with a sliding tackle, weapon shot or simple run and hide behind a small wall. But with these walls shattering under the force of the enemies attacks, they won’t be there for long before you need to move into the next space. You can even bounce off team mates to get even further across the play area. Groups of coins are scattered along the paths between battle areas, and after collecting only a few I was able to purchase a new weapon for Mario to use. This added some variety to gameplay after only a short amount of play time and with the promise of over 250 weapons I can’t begin to imagine what other options there’ll be.

I’m dying to explore this game further and find out just what else there is to see and do. The small section I got to play was just a tease; a range of single joy-con multi-player options, the choice of Luigi, Peach, and Yoshi to play as, as well as the wide range of Rabbids, four worlds to explore and amiibo unlockables promise a deep, fun filled fresh new Switch title.


I will happily admit that when I saw the image related to this game, I was appalled at the very concept of this cross-over, especially the return of the Rabbids (a set of characters that long outstayed their welcome). Then I saw the gameplay at E3 and was instantly impressed by the choice of genre, simply because strategy games are most definitely one of my favourite genres. However, I was nothing more than intrigued at that point.

Seeing is believing, but playing is definitely understanding with this game. The game itself is a combination of simple isometric exploration sections (complete with hidden areas), and turn-based battle sections. With the battles, mechanically, no matter how things are explained to you, it’s far better to experiment and come up with your own style of progressing. The battle scenarios laid out in Mario + Rabbids are open to a considerable amount of experimentation owing to the sheer depth of the mechanics allowed to the player. In a single turn, the player can enter a pipe on the battlefield, emerge, hit an enemy, enter another pipe, bounce off another unit to safety and fire a shot at the same enemy. Seriously, the sheer amount that can be done by combining the various movement types is astounding. This isn’t even taking into account stage hazards and other things the player has to think their way around either.

Visually as well, Mario + Rabbids impressed me more than I thought it would do. The whole aesthetic of the game is so bright and colourful and the characters are so expressive and fun. The environments, despite all playing out in an isometric view so having restricted views, are visually arresting. Also, although having all the trimmings of a typical Mario title, the whole visual style felt very unique to this game, giving further depth to both the game and its characters.

This game, after what I saw at E3 and then what I played of it this week, has gone very quickly from an “intrigue” to a “must play. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is a game that arguably shouldn’t exist, but I’m already ecstatic that it does. Bring on August, I can’t wait to get my hands on this game properly and really have a look at the detail Nintendo has put in.

Are you looking forward to Mario + Rabbids? What did you think of the game’s showing at E3? Drop us a comment on this article or on Twitter (@wesearp and @reuthegamer) and let us know!

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