Ubisoft and Nintendo had long been rumored to be working together on a Switch exclusive. The pairing was alleged to be Mario and Ubisoft’s goofy bunch, the Rabbids. Nothing official had been discussed until E3 2017 during Ubisoft’s press conference. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot and Nintendo’s Mr. Miyamoto both confirmed the existence of Switch’s newest exclusive, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.

This new game will combine the wondrous world of Mario with the quirky, funny actions of Rabbids. This feels like a very good, albeit unusual, match for both brands. The first look we got during Ubisoft’s press briefing was a very exciting one. While it is one small step and a single game, it is an example of the type of third party support Nintendo Switch needs.

The game brings Rabbids and Mario together as they work to save the Mushroom Kingdom. The world looks and feels like other Mario games we have seen before. Gameplay has a wonderful color palate and locations seem to be quite diverse. Its world possesses plenty of secrets, and its combat adds interesting innovation.

Ubisoft and Nintendo collaborating on this new project might seem odd to some, but it works perfectly. The hilarious and cute nature of the Rabbids pairs nicely with classic Mario. With your Rabbids taking on the form of classic Mario characters, this creates some awfully funny moments.

Your cast of lovable goofballs in Mario + Rabbids (Courtesy of Ubisoft).

Examples of this would be Rabbid Luigi, Rabbid Peach or even Rabbid in a Piranha plant costume. It seems like actual Nintendo characters like Bowser and Luigi will be in the game too. The demo I had the chance to play at E3 2017 saw me journey through the Mushroom Kingdom.

Here, I was able check out the world and how it works. From the brief time I had with the game, it’s clear exploration is a part of the game. In order to find the secrets and side areas of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, you’ll have to keep a careful eye out. Coins are littered throughout the world, and currency is essential for upgrading weapons.

Exploring is important because it’ll allow you to find benefits like bonus coin challenges. One I encountered was a simple puzzle in which I had to collect all of the blue coins within a maze before time expired. I failed the first time before succeeding the second time, and gaining my reward.

The real depth of what I saw was in the combat of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Those who have played the XCOM series will easily be able to relate to this style. The gist is Mario and the Rabbids work together to take out their enemies. I was able to experience two different battles, but before I did, I upgraded and bought several new weapons.

A glimpse at the movement fields each character has in battle (Courtesy of Ubisoft).

Prior to each battle, gamers will be able to head into their battle store to purchase or upgrade weapons. Weapons can be found throughout the world for those who explore and discover them. It is important to equip your new arsenal before heading into battle. You cannot equip them after a fight has started.

Once inside battle, it is a turn-based fight to the death, or something like that. Gamers will be able to see how much damage their Rabbids as well as Mario can inflict. Deciding when and where to position each character is essential to victory. While it might not be as important in a battle against low-level enemies, enemy bosses will make you pay for when you don’t think carefully.

There is a field of movement gamers will see for each characters. Certain perks might extend movement, but the other way I was shown how to extend movement was by the assist of an teammate. Using one of your own characters can slingshot them a greater distance. This can allow you to get into better position to attack or allow you to defend.

Being aware of your surroundings and anticipating where enemies will move is crucial. During the battle against low-level enemies, I could be a bit more careless with where I moved certain characters. The enemy Rabbids didn’t stand a chance against my crew of Mario, Rabbid Luigi and Rabbid Peach.

Mario performing a sweep attack before getting behind cover again (Courtesy of Ubisoft).

I did encounter a second battle though, and this instance was far more challenging. I fought a slew of enemy Rabbids as well as a Rabbid in a Piranha, who acted as a boss. In this fight, not only was the battlefield more intricate, but pipes were introduced as a form of alternative traversal.

Surrounding the battlefield were a handful of classic Mario pipes. Entering these will send you to a separate side of map. Provided you’re standing next to a pipe, moving between them will not cost you any movement. This seems to add a new level of strategy to how you surround enemies.

For me, I flanked the enemy Rabbids and our Rabbid Piranha. This allowed me to take out some of the smaller enemy units, while keeping my distance from the boss. Combat felt methodical and every move carried great consequence. I love how combat works in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, simply for the fact that there are plenty of opportunities to attack.

In order to attack your enemy, you’ll need to have a clear path of attack. You can destroy cover they are hiding behind, but that costs you a turn. If you have a character that is around the corner from an enemy, they can run by, performing a sweep attack and then get back behind cover. Afterward, a range attack can be carried out.

Executing a range attack in an early battle (Courtesy of Ubisoft).

Combat feels fun and rewarding, plus the outfits involved are absolutely perfect. Winning battles nets you experience points for upgrading your Rabbids and Mario. Taking the victory in a flawless manner will mean a higher grade, and I believe, more experience points too.

I couldn’t be more excited for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, as this game really strikes a wonderful balance for Ubisoft and Nintendo. Of all the collaborations we could have thought of in gaming, this is the most unlikely, perfect one. And you know the best part? Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle will launch this coming Aug. 29 exclusively for Nintendo Switch.

We’ll have much more regarding Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle in the days ahead. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.

The beautiful world I demoed in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle (Courtesy of Ubisoft).

About Steve Ruygrok

Gaming, Spirits, and Craft Beer enthusiast. If you say you don't like beer, then you just haven't had the right type yet. Great spirits keep away the bad ones. Video games are kind of amazing, just do it...or something like that. Contact me at [email protected]
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