Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, which was an unexpected crossover that leaked in May, is now out on the Nintendo Switch to a surprisingly welcoming reception after an initial social media backlash. The Ubisoft-developed turn-based strategy game borrows characters from the Super Mario and Raving Rabbids series for a unique story in the Mushroom Kingdom.
Despite the title’s rough start with gamers, the game has been well received from critics and the public. Outlets such as Polygon, Kotaku and GameSpot praise Kingdom Battle for its approach to the genre and overall tone. Review aggregating site, Metacritic, lists the game at a Metascore of 85, drawing from 65 critics’ reviews.
A keyword search on Twitter pulls up a variety of content mostly in favor of the title. Fan art, links to gameplay streams, first impressions and even reactions to Luigi’s in-game dabbing are readily found on the quick-paced social platform. Social media also birthed a meme involving Kingdom Battle‘s director, Davide Soliani.
During this year’s E3 event, Soliani was seen crying after Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the Mario franchise, approved of the Mario–Rabbids hybrid. Within days, Soliani tweeted a photo of himself wearing a shirt of his now iconic moment, which was a gift from his development team.
In the mashup, Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi and their Rabbid counterparts join forces to defeat the game’s main villain, Bowser Jr., and restore the Mushroom Kingdom to its previous state. The group journeys through this remixed kingdom with a special set of laser-powered guns, such as rifles and shotguns, only heavily cartoonish to fit a Super Mario atmosphere.
Each of the game’s eight characters specialize in a weapon class, Mario and Rabbid Peach using Blasters, Rabbid Mario and Peach preferring Boomshots, Yoshi and Rabbid Yoshi drawing Rumblebangs, and Luigi and Rabbid Luigi wielding Precision and Bworb weapons respectively. Besides weapons, special abilities and techniques further mix up players’ attack choices.
Kingdom Battle also features local co-op play, which Ubisoft showcased through a LetsPlay video with gaming group Achievement Hunter earlier this month. The game’s multiplayer mode can be accessed after clearing the first world, with each additional team-based campaign unlocking when specific areas are cleared. There are five multiplayer journeys to explore.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is available through Nintendo’s eShop, Nintendo’s website and retailers for $59.99.