Alongside Mario Odyssey, Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is proving to be one of the most popular games at E3 this year. And with good reason, it would seem!
For those who have played these, let me just say that the new Mario+Rabbids game reminds me of a cross between XCOM and Worms: Armageddon. Like XCOM, Mario+Rabbids exhibits a similar playstyle and usage of strategy. Character movements are plotted out beforehand on a grid of sorts, multiple kinds of actions are allowed each turn, and cover figures highly into succeeding and performing well. And like Worms, Mario+Rabbids portrays its violence as largely comedic and harmless, and there’s a certain zaniness that pervades every aspect of the game. Walking through the environments between encounters, I found rabbids doing everything from taking turns hitting each other to bathing in swimming pools with giant rubberduckies. It’s an interesting combination and I think it works so far.
The Mario+Rabbids demo was a glorious twenty minutes of gameplay; well worth the two hours I waited to play it. It’s proven to be one of the longest demos at E3, giving players the chance to play through up to three levels. We’re even able to buy and try new weapons for our characters, though things like skills and upgrades were saved for the launch version.
What I like best about Mario+Rabbids is probably those weapons. The weapons are such that even their aesthetic design displays a high level of creativity; from the few weapons I’ve seen, it would seem that there is a wide variety of effects and it would seem that these effects contribute to creating the identity of each character. Rabbid Luigi, for example, was able to buy a laser gun that gave him a vampirism ability, whereas Mario had an extremely powerful bullet bill gun that could knock enemies up into the air (and potentially off the stage). And alongside the capabilities and design of these weapons, I enjoy their ease of use. Mario+Rabbids encourages the combo-ing of actions and abilities; having Rabbid Luigi slide-kick the baddie, vault off Mario to a safe location and then shoot him, for example.
In addition, shooting is fairly streamlined; characters will lock on to any enemy within range and will directly target them. This means leaning around a corner to shoot the enemy on the other side (a direct hit) and shooting straight for the wall or piece of cover between that character and the enemy. This allows for some very interesting situations and it really gets you thinking about the strategy of your character placement and order of movement.
If I had one concern to note about Mario+Rabbids thus far, it would be the difficulty. Mario+Rabbids is a little too easy right now, as I breezed through all of the given levels. I almost died in the last demo level, but only because the level contained an infinite number of big rabbids and I was looking to push the envelope on what I could do. That being said, nothing was much of a challenge in the demo.
Tomorrow’s the last day of E3, unfortunately, and I’m still looking to get to play Mario Odyssey. I came extra-early today, was one of the first 200 people in line maybe, but the line to play Odyssey capped long before I had a chance. So I’ll be showing up extra-extra-early tomorrow morning and bolting straight for that line come doors’ opening. I guess the chance to play the new Mario is enough of a reason to make a fool of myself.