It has been nearly 3 months since the Mario + Rabbids release for the Nintendo Switch, and about 6 weeks since I completed the game with a 100% After a few weeks of taking that all in, I am finally sitting down to review this game unfiltered.
I have broken down this review down into 5 categories. Though we won’t always use a rating method to review games, etc., I will be using this system for larger than life entertainment.
When images of Mario + Rabbids were leaked prior to Ubisoft’s E3 2017 reveal, they weren’t exactly received well by the gaming community. Longtime fans of Nintendo and Mario were scratching their heads as to the direction Nintendo was taking with this new IP.
Creative director Davide Soliani (Ubisoft) shared that these leaks were not good for morale among the development team. In an interview with Eurogamer, Soliani said that public response to the images disheartened the team members.
With the backlashed that came with those leaks, Ubisoft continued with their E3 presentation, and boy, it was surprisingly refreshing and a pleasant. Ubisoft unveiled the first Trailer for Mario + Rabbids, and the most of the fanbase who were concerned had retracted their objections. Nintendo’s very own Shigeru Miyamoto dropped in unexpectedly, yielding a replica of one of the game’s weapons.
After the E3 presentation, Ubisoft drove full speed on advertising as the release date was just around the corner on August 29, 2017. It was such an oddity to see a Mario game release so quickly after its reveal. However, Nintendo has made a significant stride to remediate all the sour tastes left in the consumer’s mouths with their history of game delays by working closely with 3rd party developers and creating an easier development structure for the Nintendo Switch, based on the more familiar Tegra (X1) processor.
Ubisoft and Nintendo did a magnificent job in the presentation of the game over, trailers, gameplay and more. Some people were still weary regarding Mario going the turn-based RPG route, but the mechanics they presented looked well thought-out paired with kooky looking characters, wacky weapons, and colorful stages. The trailers narrative still held back on revealing too much but offered enough to gives an idea of where the game’s plot was heading.
The biggest issue people had with the game was that this was going to take Mario into the turn-based realm of gaming. People were afraid that this was just going to be a turn-based Rabbids game with Mario layers slapped over it. I tell you, it is not just a standard turn-based RPG. There are some very interesting mechanics, that kept the game fresh. Power-ups from increasing the distance to how far you can travel to equipping weapons that gave you special abilities kept the game fun an forever changing throughout.
Another frustration with games that have a power-up system is that you can’t retract your abilities once chosen. That is no the case here. Ubisoft made a conscious, but brilliant decision to allow you to reset your power-up options, and swap or rearrange them in a whole new way. In fact, there might even be times where you might want to do this when fighting a boss with specific abilities/weaknesses. Ubisoft made some really wise choices during the design elements, however, one problem I have to pick at was the camera angle limitations and glitches. For one, you have to deal with fixed angles, which is tolerable, but at times the camera would angle on odd ways where you’d lose site, or get stuck looking to a zoomed in part of a wall. These issues were minimal, however, they became a bit annoying during some critical battle scenarios.
The graphics really shine. The stages are beautiful, the effects colorful and vibrant, and the character actions are smooth and pleasant to look at. I don’t think I ran into any graphical issues other than a few slow down due to the Switch’s graphical limitations. I only really witnessed some of the lag issues during handheld mode. However, this didn’t take from how stunning the game looked. The colorful effects never got old even after repeatedly using the same move/shot over and over. I can honestly say this is one of the best-looking games on the Switch so far.
The story was a part I felt I wasn’t going to really enjoy, because to be honest, how many of us are big Rabbids fans? To my dismay, I was surprisingly charmed by the crazy Rabbids and the goofy, yet smart, story plot. Without spoiling much, the time traveling gimmick is pretty brilliant, as it plays into the structure of the game. The plot, though predictable at some points, was solid and well thought out. Mario stories don’t ever go into deep to keep the focus on the gameplay, however, I think Ubisoft made a significant effort to keep this game very much its own thing.
Every time I purchase a game I always wonder if it will be worth the $60 tag. I usually wait on Lego and Fighting games as they usually get significantly cheaper quickly or get a ton of DLC content later on at a cheaper price. However, that never really crosses my mind with most Nintendo’s platforming games, especially any Mario game. Though published by Ubisoft, this game has plenty of items and missions to complete. Like most Mario games, there is always something else to complete after finishing the games main campaign. However, I completed this game with 100% fairly quickly, and though I think it’s worth it, I was not enticed by the current DLC, as it offers just more of the same (hard trial levels) like those left to complete after getting passed the main game. Currently, I have stopped playing the game, and if they don’t release anything else, like more weapon power-ups, a side campaign, or more characters, I won’t likely ever play this again.
I did have some issues with this game, and I can even say more than most of the other Nintendo published Mario games, but when it comes down to it, this was a very solid game. I laughed, I cried (in frustration), I cheered. I gained a whole new respect for turned-based RPGs, and I think that was Ubisoft’s intention. They should be proud to be one of the first solid games to come out for the Nintendo Switch, without having to port anything previously released (Wii U). With all the beautiful details and strong mechanics, you can tell that this game was a labor of love. I highly recommend this game if your looking for a challenge but also enjoys a solid, thought-out campaign with vibrant colorful characters and smooth mechanics.