E3 2017 – Hands on with Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle
Perhaps Ubisoft need to adjust their name to Ubileaks, with the number of leaks that this game had, and let’s face it, no one believed it to be true, it was just too crazy to believe. Not only is the game real, it’s actually fun to play.
There was no story discussed directly in the build that I played, though you will discover some titbits, all we know is that something has happened which has drawn the rabbids into the Mario world and it’s caused everything to go crazy. Mario has reluctantly teamed up with the some of the rabbids who have taken up the personas of Peach and Luigi and along with Beep-o a Roomba looking machine that you control outside of battle. Beep-o leads the members of your party, of which there can only be three at a time and as he leads, you can steer him to collect coins, what they do, I did not discover, but I would hazard a guess at buying more weapons.
Once you enter the battle zones though, the game really becomes interesting, while it can be played as a standard tactical game, there is a little bit more to discover. The biggest addition to the game here is the movement of the characters, not only can they move around the world nice and fast, but in battle, you can chain movement together in order to deal some great damage out. When it comes time to move your team around the battlefield, you cycle through the character you want to move, then move Beep-o towards the square you want them to move to and press the button and hey, they move. While there is a grid based system, it is actually hidden from the players eyesight, so you only have to worry about where you want them to move and the game takes care of the grid based stuff. If you select your team member to move to where another member already is you can launch a jump move, which can send you even further forward, or to the side or wherever really.
As you can also slide kick enemies as you move, you can chain together some truly inspiring moves, move to a pipe, slide kick an enemy, bounce off an ally and then land in cover, before taking aim at the previous enemy and blasting them away. While that might sound like a lot, it was just so easy to do, that by the end of my time with the game, I wanted more time to explore other way of moving around and getting things done. The game thankfully is not all about battles, one zone that I entered gave me the entire task of getting to the end zone, of course there were enemies in the way, but after thinking about it, I ignored the enemies and just pushed forward, this did result in my taking some licks, but the moment I had a single member of my team in that zone, I won.
In the sections where I needed to fight, each character does have a special skill, which can be used once, before it needs to recharge, usually 3 or so turns, for Mario it allows him to attack an enemy, the moment that they move. Rabbid Peach however has the ability to heal herself and other members of the party, if they are in close enough proximity, so while you might like the look of Rabbid Yoshi, but if his special power is not working for you, then you might need to swap him out for someone else.
There is a lot of humour to the game, something which does come across in the trailers released, but I do wonder how it will go in the long run, with the Rabbids only being used in short term experiences until now, this could be a situation where too much is not a good thing. With less than 2 months to go, until the full game is released, I am excited to see how it all pans out and perhaps the best bit, if this does well, we might even see Mario make the jump (pun intended) into other new genres.