Updated: Sep 1, 2019
I would like to just start with saying I have loved this game since it came out, but I have not seen a lot of people talking about it. This game, at the beginning, was something I thought was going to be a flop; but to my surprise, it is not. I found this to be a combination of the great aspects of Mario mixed with the humor of the Rabbids (which can honestly be a little weird for my taste). I will also say that while I have not been a huge fan of turn-based games in the past, this was amazing and engaging to me.
This game lands you in the Mushroom Kingdom where the Rabbids have collided with the Mario universe. You and Mario team up with the Rabbids (who are dressed as Mario characters) along with the standard Mario characters to defeat evil Rabbids and Bowser's minions.
In the Mushroom Kingdom certain areas have cannons that will blast you to different areas to explore and do battle. When in a battle each character has two parts to each turn - during the first part of your turn, you are able to move your characters to a certain distance. During the second half of your turn you can either shoot, or activate your characters' special. You can see an example of this in the screenshot below:
Your opponent will do the same on their turn until either you or them has no life points left. Later in the game when you have more abilities and characters the strategy can get very complex, which is something I welcome late in games. You also face mini bosses and bosses in each world, which forces you to come up with new strategies and new ways to play to defeat them.
After any battle is over, you get rated on how well you did during that battle; this rating is mainly based on whether or not any of your characters died and how many turns it took you to defeat your enemy (each level has a goal for turns). The better you do the more gold and experience orbs you earn - we will explain later what these do.
In between each battle you are presented with trails that lead to the next battle field. These trails have a mixture of gold coins, collectibles and sometimes hidden areas. They also present some puzzles/obstacles to solve and pass on the way (seen on the left).
In this game Rabbids can be seen doing weird things and interacting with the world in unusual ways. These are usually meant to be humorous, and while they are sometimes funny, other times they can seem a little cheesy for my taste.
Now let's take a minute to talk about the gold coins and experience orbs you collect from either finishing battles or walking around. These items are used to upgrade weapons or your move sets (skills). As you can see below, the coins are used to upgrade weapons. Each weapon lists the damage it can do, range, specials and how well it attacks an enemy in cover. A weapons' special can be anything from bouncing an enemy across the map, or producing honey that makes it so a player sticks to the board and can't move the next turn.
The experience orbs are used for your characters move sets, or skill tree. Each characters skill tree is a little different in what you can choose from - the tree can also be reset, which allows you to re-choose. An example of a skill is "dash" which allows a character to inflict damage by sliding into an enemy; you can upgrade this ability with some characters to do a lot of damage. Another skill (one which is special to Mario) gives him the ability to use a hammer when the enemy is close to inflict damage.
The DLC for this game came out and was somewhat of a surprise to me since it went in a direction I never thought the game would go. One of the first things you might notice is the awesome Donkey Kong inspired music in this DLC! The game play they introduced with DK and Rabbid Cranky (seen below) is refreshing and welcome. The story, however, is somewhat lacking and feels rushed at times, but the main point of this DLC is to allow for a different experience and more gameplay - based off of that, this DLC doesn't disappoint. It also brings in some new mechanics with these additional characters and new ways to play, such as new weapons and skills.
Even though I have never been a fan of turn-based play, I have really enjoyed this game and what it has to offer. I like the battle system and how difficult the battles can be at times. Leveling up for the characters is done well, so that it doesn't feel like you have to battle a ton to get some sweet upgrades. The travelling and puzzles in between stages can be a little boring, but really doesn't take away from the game too much. I love this game and I love what Ubisoft is doing with these Nintendo IPs and hope to see more from both studios. I do recommend this game to anyone who wants a very engaging gameplay with some difficult strategy. This game is also great for the casual gamer who wants to do battle and then walk away for a bit.
Can be found at GameStop here
*Prices may vary
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
+ Difficulty in late game
+ Leveling up system
+ Battle variety
- Puzzles are boring
+ Age 7 and up