Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a game that makes about as much sense as its name.
Now we’re going to assume you know who Mario is but if you’re completely none the wiser as to what a Rabbid is that’s ok. They’re a race of catastrophically silly rabbits who featured in the Rayman series of videogames.
Much like Despicable Me’s Minions, these nonsensical creatures found fame on their own and have become something of a mascot for video game publisher Ubisoft in much the same way that Yoshi, Mario and Princess Peach have for Nintendo.
It’s not what you would describe as a natural pairing and believe us when we say things don’t get any less odd.
This isn’t a platformer, nor is it a third-person action game, nor is it first-person shooter. No you see this is a turn-based strategy game. It’s also the single most fun we’ve had on the Nintendo Switch since it came out.
The game’s premise is absurd: The Rabbids have accidentally found their way into Nintendo’s Mushroom Kingdom after messing with a piece of experimental equipment that merges the Rabbids with anything around them.
One becomes joined to this piece of equipment and starts merging the Rabbids with just about anything it can find including some of Mario’s most iconic villains.
To try and stop it from wreaking complete havoc Mario teams up with a small robot and two friendly Rabbids who have been accidentally been merged with toy versions of Luigi and Princess Peach.
With this small nonsensical team you will then fight your way through the Mushroom Kingdom gaining even more nonsensical allies to join your team, earning new weapons, special moves and abilities.
Honestly, this game shouldn’t work. It just shouldn’t. It should be boring, or too silly, or just unfunny,
Yet it’s none of these things.
The gameplay is wonderfully balanced, starting off easy and then gently easing you into the enormous depth that’s on offer here. Each character can be fine-tuned to how you want them to play and a dizzying array of weapons and abilities only reinforce this.
The turn-based nature of the game never feels repetitive, instead it becomes addictive, demanding that you play just a few more rounds before putting it down.
What elevates Kingdom Battle into being a truly magnificent game however is the devotion of the team who built it.
Every Nintendo element has been painstakingly and lovingly created. From the fully orchestral soundtrack, to the characters to every minute geographical detail. This game feels like it was made by people who cared, who grew up with Nintendo and wanted to pay their respects in the only way they knew how.
The fact that they managed to convince Mario’s creator to let them even create this game is a testament to that.
It’s a beautiful game as well, appearing both cartoonish and yet graphically impressive considering the fact it’s running on the Switch.
Finally, and probably most importantly, Kingdom Battle is really funny. With a blend of childish slapstick and surprisingly adult one-liners this reminds us a lot of the original Worms games.
Kingdom Battle then is an excellent videogame. It’s weird, silly and nowhere near the mainstream, yet despite all the odds it’s a universally joyful piece of entertainment.
Who should play Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle?
Everyone. No seriously, everyone should. Considering the uncertain times we currently live in, it’s good to forget about everything that’s going on, switch off and just be a child again. That’s the joy of videogames, and it’s something that Kingdom Battle has in spades.
Who shouldn’t play Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle?
If you really, really, really don’t like Mario then we suppose you probably shouldn’t play this game. That’s it.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is out now for Nintendo Switch.