Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle review – This unlikely team conjures up some real magic

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a strange and compelling beast for a number of reasons.

Mario doesn’t tend to crossover with other popular video game series, mainly staying close to his friends from the Mushroom Kingdom in spin-off games.

So it was a huge surprise to everyone when Nintendo and Ubisoft announced at E3 they were teaming up for a Mario and Rabbids crossover.

Not only were these platforming titans joining forces, but they were venturing into unknown territories together – team-based strategy games.

It’s a combination, on paper, that really shouldn’t work. 

Mario’s clean-cut image melded with the cooky humour of the Rabbids game and the iconic, friendly plumber now wielding a sci-fi like blaster gun.

But somehow, all these pieces fit to make a compelling, entertaining and ridiculously fun game.

The set-up for the game is the Rabbids have invaded the Mushroom Kingdom after a science test went wrong – merging the two worlds.

Mischievous Rabbids are now tearing it up in Mario’s homeland and it’s up to him to save the day, as per usual.

He’s joined by Rabbids who, as this experiment went wrong, melded with Mario’s world to somehow look like Luigi and Peach.

While most of the Rabbids in the Mushroom Kingdom are up to no good, these cosplay Rabbids will try to help Mario return his world to normality.

And the way they do that, is by a series of turn-based strategy battles against the marauding Rabbids.

Battles take place in terrains that have obstacles you, and the enemy, can hide behind and multiple levels.

The game rewards team-work, with any gung-ho strategies almost destined to fail.

One such stylish way the game rewards working as a team is the buffers you can use to help you cover more ground.

Movement is carried out on a grid-based system, with each character in a three-person team only able to move a certain amount of squares per turn.

To help you cover more terrain, you can move one character to where another one is – and then they will give you a boost and launch you into the air.

The boost increases the amount of squares you can move, and also looks extremely cool to boot.

Another cool feature is being able to do a sliding tackle into an enemy as you move, which sets you up to then shoot them while peering round a corner.

All characters also have special moves, with Mario able to peer from cover and shoot an enemy if they move within his vicinity. 

It’s a very easy to pick-up-and-play combat system, which players even of a young age will feel comfortable getting to grips with.

And – most importantly – it’s above all a lot of fun.

The slick link-up play you can have between team members never fails to be dazzling, and the fast-paced combat is a blast to play.

The game looks gorgeous as well, with Mario and the Mushroom Kingdom looking vivid and bright on the Nintendo Switch.

Dialogue too is full of character, with lots of hilarious moments that will have you rolling around in your seat with laughter.

The only down side is combat can, despite the huge variation, at times feel a little bit repetitive. 

But when a game is this much fun that won’t be a huge stumbling block.

Against all odds, the unlikely mash-up of Mario and the Rabbids is a rousing success.

It’s a hugely entertaining, charming title that is one of the many highlights the Nintendo Switch already boasts in it’s short life-time.

In many respects, it’s a wonder this game got made – but we’re all very lucky that it did.