Add this to the list of “games I never expected to play,” right up there along with Splatoon. I’ll start by saying I’ve never played a Rabbids game. I’ve heard of them, but mostly because things like this limit break reference:
Anyhow, when I first heard about Mario + Rabbids, my reaction was pretty similar to the rest of the Internet.
But then, miraculously, as game play details emerged, the Net changed its mind. I guess that can happen sometimes! The word was that this mis-mash of IPs was actually charming, fun and made for a good game!
Back in my younger days (get off my lawn!), I was a huge fan of Super Mario Bros. However, over time, JRPGs like Final Fantasy carried me away from the Mario fandom. Super Mario 64 was really the last Mario game I played with any sort of gusto. But the fact that Mario + Rabbids was made by a team who obviously loved the world of Mario and were given the blessings to make a game from that dedication… well, that won me over.
Now, since Amazon has changed how Prime members get discounts for new games (only on pre-orders, and not two weeks after release — booooo!), I was sitting there undecided the day before release. I do rely on reviews to give me the low-down on games before I buy — especially expensive games like those on the Switch.
But with the Prime discount on top of some Trade-In credit I had sitting on my account, the game would cost me about $28. I was hearing a lot of good things, even before release, so I pulled the trigger and pre-ordered the last day.
I got the game last night. I’ve only had about an hour or so of time with it, but I’m not regretting the purchase.
It’s Like Playing a Cartoon
While I’m no graphics snob, I have to say the whole look and feel of Mario + Rabbids makes me feel like I’m playing a cartoon. It’s whimsical. It’s zany. It’s fun!
The animations and graphics are so smooth, both inside and outside of cutscenes. Somehow, the world of Mario meshes well with the world of Rabbids. And my concern that the Rabbids would be too over the top was unfounded. I actually find myself liking the Rabbid versions of the Mario characters.
It’s nice to have a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. But at the same time, it’s full of details and references that long-time Mario fans will enjoy. For example, check out this overworld theme, which is a pleasant remix of an iconic Mario song.
So, this is a tactics game, though a bit different from other tactics games I’ve played in the past. I’ve never played XCOM, which a lot of folks seem to reference when discussing the battle style. Yeah, seeing Mario characters using blasters and guns is a little odd, but I can deal with it.
I do enjoy tactics games, though I’m not always the best at them. I’ve heard that Mario + Rabbids can get challenging later on. But for teaching the ropes and getting through the beginning areas, it’s not been too bad. I like that the stages give you an option to use an Easy Mode if you need it (though I haven’t yet).
Each character has their own types of weapons and special skills. I know that you unlock more characters as you go along, but that Mario must always be in your party.
I got free DLC bonus with my game (I guess as part of a pre-order reward) that gave me some special pixel-style weapons. These seemed far above better than the weapons I unlocked early on, and they were free, so I equipped them as soon as I saw them.
I like how battles are meshed seamlessly with the rest of the world you’re exploring. You have bits where you walk around the overworld, solving puzzles and gathering coins. Then you come across a battlefield (indicated by Rabbid flags), and must complete the objective in order to continue exploring.
While the story isn’t anything astounding, it’s what you’d expect from a Mario-type game. This is good. In fact, based on the reviews I’ve read, just about everything about Mario + Rabbids met my expectations (in a good way).
I can certainly say that Mario + Rabbids will hold me over until Super Mario Odyssey comes out later this year (got that on pre-order). In fact, I’m more excited than ever for Mario, Nintendo and the Switch in particular. I still love the console, am impressed by the releases, and feel a bit of that Nintendo fan-girlism that I had as a kid returning.
It’s a nice feeling. Let me hang on to it. :p