When the internet was swarming with the rumors of the now announced Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle I was hoping it wasn’t real. I thought about how great of a position Nintendo was in– and still is– with the Switch succeeding, Zelda doing it’s thing, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe shattering sales records for the series, and great games like ARMS and Splatoon 2 dropping this summer, that I didn’t want the Switch’s third party support to start being noticeably different than what the other two are getting. While Microsoft and Sony are getting games such as Assassin’s Creed Origins, Star Wars Battlefront II, and Destiny 2 this fall, I didn’t want Nintendo’s support from a major third party to be a Mario and Rabbids crossover.
After the news settled in more and the rumors started pointing towards this game actually existing, I came to terms. I understood that not every game that a developer makes is meant for me, and decided that this was probably one of those cases and was genuinely okay with the fact that there would be a game tailored for a younger audience. Though, in lieu of this I was still nervous to see what other third party games would be shown at E3 for the Switch.
Turns out I was wrong about this game. What might end up being the biggest surprise of E3 2017 for me personally, was how a game I never wanted, a game I thought wasn’t being built for me, might actually be for me. Granted, I still don’t really care too much about the Rabbids, this game is bursting with charm and the gameplay mechanics look like they are being constructed with strategy RPG fans in mind and not children. Well, they at least showcased them in a way that makes it seem like there may be more depth to the gameplay mechanics than the setting and subject matter lead on.
There’s a cover-based system that allows you to control the spacing of your team of heroes while allowing you to plot out your attacks against your enemies. The objects used for cover are destructible which helps drive the strategy because you can’t just choose to stay behind one area of cover and attack from afar. There’s also a team jump mechanic that opens up the area a certain character can move during your attack phase. If you’re familiar with tactical RPGs where each character has a defined number of spaces they can travel per turn, this adds another level of strategy and depth to controlling the battleground during a fight.
After watching the game being presented at the Ubisoft conference and seeing some of the developers going over gameplay live on the Nintendo Treehouse stream, it’s clear to me that these developers aren’t just banking on the Mario name. Their passion seems to be present in their willingness to want to create a memorable experience with the Mario franchise at their disposal. Seeing what appears to be an enjoyable, light-hearted adventure set in the Mushroom Kingdom, meshed with a certain amount of depth and detail in the tactical gameplay, I am excited to give this game a chance.
I can’t believe I am saying it, but I am looking forward to seeing more of this game when it releases exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on August 29, 2017.