A Mario and Rabbids crossover game on the Switch has been rumored since the system was announced, but the overall impression of the possibility was laughable at best. What’s even funnier is the fact that this was actually one of the more enjoyable experiences to be had on the E3 show floor.
The idea of pretty much anything you can mention in a Mario and Rabbids crossover is beyond stupid, and to go along with that theme, the game is looking to have a pretty dumb story. The game follows Mario making his way to the castle when he sees a strange vortex with Rabbids flying out of it. Before we know it, the Mushroom Kingdom is in complete disarray as the Rabbids wreak havoc on the colorful kingdom, and it’s up to Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Yoshi to save the world with the help of a bunch of rabbids dressed up as Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Yoshi.
As far as the actual gameplay goes, don’t expect the usual platforming exploration you usually expect from a Mario game. Mario and company travel around the Mushroom Kingdom following what looks like a remote controlled vacuum cleaner, and it has the ability to analyze the field of battle when it’s time to fight, which you’ll be doing a lot of.
The game features a pretty involved turn-based battle system in which you have to strategically place your characters at various points of the map to give yourself the best advantage. Whether it’s placing someone behind a block for cover, avoiding enemies entirely, or flatout waiting in an open space to bait the enemy, the battle system is actually pretty deep.
The demo we played did a good job of explaining some of the ins and outs of succeeding in the game’s battles, and each of the game’s battles were pretty enjoyable. Three of the four battles in the demo were all about clearing the map of the rabbid enemies, while the last one had to make us think a bit. The requirement of the battle was to get one character to a specific point at the other side of the map, and the dangers along the way included basic rabbids, as well as a chain chomp that would chomp anything it sees. As we made progress, huge weird-looking rabbids started being a nuisance, but we were able to take advantage of dumb AI to have the chain chomp take them down.
Once we were able to get the Rabbid Luigi behind the chain chomp, we got him to enter a warp pipe to get to the other side before taking the next turn to get Luigi where he needed to be to win the match. After some story stuff, a giant Donkey Kong-looking rabbid came out of nowhere before the demo ended.
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is scheduled for a worldwide release on August 29.