Thoughts on Mario + Rabbids Kingdom battle

I’m not that far in, I think I’m still in the 1-X stages (maybe 1-8?). So far I’m kinda meh about the whole thing, though it’s a decent way to spend my evenings.

This game started off totally bonkers. Mario + Rabbids is already a ludicrous proposal, but then Ubisoft went all-in with their weird meta storytelling. The opening cutscene is with a girl who invented goggles that can merge stuff together, which, already, what. She’s got a floating Roomba-looking computer (???) and when she steps out of the room, a washing machine (????) full of Rabbids (???????) crashes into the room, and the Rabbids use the goggles to merge reality with a Mushroom Kingdom poster (?????????????). Your enemies are not Bowser and Goombas and Koopas, your enemies are other Rabbids who have been corrupted by the goggles-wearing Rabbid who… has morphed into a somehow more cartoony caricature of these already very cartoonish caricatures?!

Yeah, it’s uh

It’s a plot, all right.

rabbid peach

Rabbid Peach is just the BEST

So whatever, who cares. You don’t play these kinds of games for the storytelling, you play them for the XCOM-style turn-based cover shooter tactical strategy battles. And so how are those?

They’re… just okay, honestly.

I haven’t had problems with the difficulty spikes so far, though they are definitely there and can feel like a total brick wall. The stuff that drives me up the wall is that, while the camera outside of battle lets you freely rotate it around your characters, when in battle you can only snap it to 90-degree angles. Also, your characters have a wider range than what the camera sometimes can display on your screen, and once you move your character you can’t undo or move them again, so shots can feel like a leap of faith at times.

While I do sense that there is more depth to battles than what I’ve played so far, I can’t help but feel the “XCOM, but for kids” approach has left it just a bit too simple. Or maybe this first world just takes way too long to clear, I dunno. I do like that hit percentage is greatly simplified from XCOMalikes and the UI is simple and easy to understand.

Let’s talk about the rest of the level, the non-battle parts: they suck.

Suck.

You have these fairly large, sprawling levels but they’re all laid out more or less the same way: follow the trail of coins, push a few buttons to connect the pipes or rotate the cannons so you can move on, and keep walking until you reach the next battle stage. I’m not saying I would have preferred just a boring level select, but… no, actually, yeah, I’d just prefer a level select, or a hub world, or just anything that’s better than this.

It’s not fun, the world doesn’t look that great, and worst of all your lead character is that Roomba thing. It’s small and low to the ground and is constantly being blocked from view by the rest of your party, i.e. the characters that should be leading. The puzzles are more about pushing buttons than they are genuine puzzles, the environment less Mario and more Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, the camera constantly getting stuck behind something and obscuring the Roomba. And these exploration stages just drag on forever, taking almost as much time walking to the next arena as it does to clear a battle.

It’s a pretty okay game so far, though if I had to be honest, if this weren’t a Nintendo title on the Switch, I’d probably have put it on the side by now. I’m hoping it picks up the pace soon (especially these exploration stages, argh) and becomes a little more engaging.

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