Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle Review: A wacky (yet shallow) tactical masterpiece

Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle Review: A wacky (yet shallow) tactical masterpiece

Enter the whimsical world where Mario and Rabbids collide in an unexpected yet delightful crossover. "Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle" marks Mario's foray into the tactical RPG genre, delivering a unique blend of strategy and chaos. At its core, the game boasts a compelling battle system that requires thoughtful movement and clever use of cover, offering a refreshing challenge within the Mario universe. With an array of quirky weapons and status effects to master, each battle becomes a puzzle to solve, urging players to strive for perfection and strategic mastery. Beyond battles, the game offers robust customization options with diverse character roles and skill trees, allowing players to tailor their team compositions to suit their playstyle. Whether you're a fan of tactical depth or simply curious about this unusual crossover, "Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle" promises a charming adventure filled with surprises at every turn. Now, without further ado, I, Brighton Nelson of RPG Ranked present to you: a Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle Review: A wacky (yet shallow) tactical masterpiece.

Battle System - 10

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Review – Wizard Dojo

This game is the first entry of Mario's newest RPG series, and it instantly became something spectacularly special. This battle system may not have as much skill and depth as many tactical RPGs in terms of smart ability utilization and obscene tactics that break the game, hallmarks of, say, Final Fantasy Tactics. Still, it has one thing many games struggle to do well: adding tons of strategy to movement and cover. Making sure you tactically approach every single battle is paramount if you avoid Easy Mode and plan to get Perfect scores in every battle to get more coins. This makes for a wonderfully chaotic battle system that actually has quite the difficulty for a Mario RPG and requires planning turns ahead and retrying battles to perfect your strategy and get those Perfect scores that allow you to purchase more unique weapons. Speaking of, the majority of weapons have status ailments and, unlike most games, understanding and always utilizing status effects as much as possible is mandatory to succeed in some battles. Ultimately, this is the last crossover I would've expected to have deep, 4D-chess-like combat with monumental stakes, but here we are with one of my favorite tactical combat systems of all time.

Customization System - 7.5

Skill Tree - Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Walkthrough - Neoseeker

With eight playable characters, hundreds of equipable weapons, and character skill trees, this game has a solid RPG customization system. While it offers a lot less than it seems at first glance, the progression here is not bad! The skill trees allow you to focus on what you would like, from upgrading movement to character health; to jump distance and ability/weapon upgrades; to even increasing coin drops and out-of-battle healing numbers, the skill trees in this game aren't too shabby. Each weapon also has its own attributes, and choosing your loadouts is crucial for success, as having well-rounded status effect utilization is crucial. A quick tip: always use the Vampire, Bounce, and Stone status ailments when possible... you'll thank me later. Each character only gets anywhere from 2-4 of the game's available status effects and each of their primary and secondary weapons are different, making it crucial to make a team ready to inflict as many harmful ailments as humanly possible.

On top of unique weapons, each of the eight characters plays an entirely different role. Mario is a frontline, mid-range fighter with incredible DPS and jumping abilities; Luigi is a glass cannon, a low-health sniper with long-range damage that makes for the strongest and swiftest character but also the most fragile; Peach is a defensive fighter with healing and damage-absorbing abilities and decent, short-range damage; and Yoshi is a mid-range fighter that focuses on AoE damage and crippling enemies with status ailments.

Rabbid Peach is a dedicated healer (unlike Peach's Paladin-esque role) who fights at mid-range and has incredible survivability with her shield, making for a much safer yet less off-tank-like than her human counterpart; Rabbid Luigi is a master of survivability and status ailments that makes him the most versatile and tanky character in the game; Rabbid Mario, who does unmatchable short-range, AoE damage and diseasing tens of enemies in one swoop; and Rabbid Yoshi, a character meant to scatter enemies and avoid heaps of damage while slowly but surely picking off enemies.

And, with the DLC come Donkey Kong and Rabbid Cranky, which have completely unique playstyles as well!

Ultimately, while the skill trees and weapons become entirely predictable by the endgame, this game still has plenty of fun customization that allows you to build your favorite team compositions the way you want them!

Characters - 3

Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is doing away with the grid and opening up  the Galaxy | GamesRadar+

While the characters here are iconic, and Beep-0 is ultimately one of the better Mario RPG companions (and arguably the main character of this game), the whole cast here practically has no meaningful interactions with one another. However, one character bolsters this score up from a measly 1 or 2: Phantom, the chunky Rabbid ghost chapter boss of World 3. I won't spoil it, but I will say his boss fight and character moments are far better than anything in most Mario RPGs and perhaps the game's best moment. If you know, you know. Thank you, Phantom, for gracing us with your wonderous existence, you stinkin' national treasure.

Locations - 7

World 4-8 - Castle Guards - Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Guide - IGN

While the locations in this game are pretty much the definition of Ubisoft's unmemorability and pale in comparison to the levels of superior Mario RPGs, there's one thing this game absolutely knocks out of the park like no other Mario RPG: block puzzles. I'm the lady person who would've expected block-based puzzles to be so fun and difficult yet somehow intuitive. Outside of battles, menu customization and block puzzles make up the meat of the game, but frankly, I'm not complaining. This game mastered strategy gameplay even outside of battle, and that's impressive. It's just too bad the worlds are absolutely boring and generic. Otherwise, the block puzzles wouldn't be the only glowing praise I have for this game's locations...

Story - 2.5

Mario + Rabbids Is The Best XCOM Game And It's Time You Admitted It

Even for a Mario RPG standard goofy, silly, lighthearted, and nonsensical story, this game still struggles to be captivating in any fiber of its narrative. However, yet again, Phantom comes in absolute clutch to make for some of the best story moments in any Mario RPG. Regardless, outside of Phantom's contributions, this story was simply a vehicle to justify the gameplay and wacky crossover, making in undeniably unimpressive in practically every way.

Music - 7

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - Phantom Sings / Phantom Opera Scene

Outside of all the music related to the Phantom, this soundtrack didn't stand out to me too much. It perfectly conveyed what I'd expect from a more difficult Mario strategy RPG, but none of the melodies were like the earworms of previous Mario RPGs. Like I always say about Final Fantasy XII, this game focuses more on atmosphere than melodic motifs, making for more of a movie soundtrack vibe than a memorable Mario soundtrack. I'm certainly fine with this soundtrack, but it could've been much more.

Art & Graphics - 7.5

Mario Rabbids Kingdom Battle review: A surprising crossover | Real Game  Media

The artistic style here cleanly meshes Mario and the Rabbids together into a perfectly stylish amalgamation, but, unfortunately, the style here is just pretty generic. It isn't bad, but it isn't quite memorable. Like the 3DS Mario & Luigi titles and the Mario RPG remake, nothing looks bad, but I'm not quite impressed by any of it, either. Simply put, it looks like a simple Mario look, which isn't bad but pales in comparison to the style of the Paper Mario series or the upcoming Mario & Luigi: Brothership. And, for that? The art is this game is nothing too special.

Quality of Life - 5.5

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle Character Guide – Mario – Adventure Rules

With many backtracking moments for side content, resolving puzzles for collectibles, limits on party compositions, lack of manual saving, and not being able to quickly navigate everything from a single menu like most RPGs , this game is simply lacking in many ways, making the game feel odd in today's gaming scheme. While nothing truly ruins the game for me, this game could've used some major quality-of-life improvements to make the experience more accessible and easy to navigate. However, in the end, this game doesn't have anything truly game-breaking or anything!

Sidequests - 10

Mario + Rabbids® Kingdom Battle Donkey Kong Adventure

This game is filled to the brim with absolutely brilliant sidequests. While it is annoying to backtrack through levels to access the challenges, the challenges in this game practically double the number of tactical battles you can play in this game, with the four Ultimate Challenges being particular highlights, as they make you truly master the game before you challenge them. On top of that, this game also has tons of fantastic Co-Op and Versus missions that you can play with friends, with the Versus missions allowing you to customize your characters even more with loadouts! It's brilliant game design! On top of all that, this game has a full-fledged side story in the form of the Donkey Kong DLC, allowing for more fantastic tactical gameplay with new characters! Ultimately, the sidequests in this game are a cut above most Mario RPGs in terms of side content, making this game easily score a perfect score.

The Verdict

Mario + Rabbids® Kingdom Battle Donkey Kong Adventure

Fun Factor: 10
Overall Score: 69%
Letter Rating: B

While this game is severely lacking in story, characterization, and worldbuilding, it's just straight up a super fun game. In terms of great tactical gameplay, this is simply a masterpiece. If you are okay with a lack of a good story in your tactical RPGs, I would absolutely recommend this game to anybody wanting to get into the genre or anybody who already loves the genre. While this isn't going to win any story or character awards like Final Fantasy Tactics or Fire Emblem: Three Houses, this is simply a game full of pure, unadulterated bliss. Please play this game if you want a fun, chill experience with in-depth, banger gameplay.

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Primary Version: Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (Nintendo Switch)