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Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Preview

Who would have thought that one of the biggest surprises from E3 2017 would have been a game we’ve known about for months? Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is what happens when Ubisoft’s Rabbids pop up in the Mushroom Kingdom we all know and love. This results in a tactical, strategy RPG along the lines of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, but with the color palette of a Mario game. To call it strange is quite an understatement, but it comes off as a charming and whimsical strategy game out of left field.

The narrative is taken as seriously as the concept, in that it doesn’t seem to make a lick of sense. Rabbids appear to be your main adversaries, but you’ll recruit Rabbids that are dressed up as our classic Mario heroes that will fight by your side. In this wacky Mario adventure, through tactics and precision, you’ll be…shooting Rabbids. While there’s no conventional weaponry to be found (please let Wario have, like, a revolver or something), it’s endearingly jarring to see Mario characters up and shoot a guy, even if they’re irritating proto-Minions.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is showing no signs of restraint in any department, and that rings true for the gameplay as much as everything else. Just like in XCOM, each character gets to move once per round, and in the right moments and settings, you’ll be able to interact with your other characters for bonus effects. The mobility aspect of these team-ups was shown very prominently at the Ubisoft press conference, and more interactions are sure to be unlocked as you progress through the game.

The gameplay doesn’t take a step back just because it’s taking the likenesses of Mario and the Rabbids, which was a big concern when we got our first look at the game. It’s got the visuals, it’s got the gameplay, it’s got our attention. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle releases exclusively on Nintendo Switch this August.

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