Everything that we have come to expect is gone, all of the comforts that we are used to have been stripped away, and the world as we know it may never be the same. Mario is now in a turned-based tactical strategy game.
Guided by Beep-O, a creature that resembles a Roomba with googly eyes, my team of Rabbid Peach, Rabbid Luigi, and Mario are whisked around the colorful and beautiful world of the Mushroom Kingdom. I am used to this, controlling Mario as he goes on an adventure with some new friends, as I have been doing this since I was a little kid. But, wait, what is this, why does my screen suddenly say Battle?
Quickly the world that I know and love has changed into something else as I am thrust into a fight against some exceptionally rabid Rabbids. Usually when playing Mario my next move is easy, I would run over and jump on the enemies head, but I can’t do that here. I can only move a certain number of spaces in any direction, so I quickly move behind a stone wall in order to hide from the enemy. Upon reaching the wall I am given a prompt to use a weapon, that is when it hits me: I can no longer rely on my past experiences with Mario to guide me in this game. This is something new, something special.
I quickly click the A button, selecting the weapon. Mario suddenly pulls a large cannon-like weapon out and fires at the enemy. After pulling off a successful attack with Mario, I am switched over to Rabbid Peach and Rabbid Mario, who I move into similar positions as Mario, until none of my team can make any more moves. The enemy Rabbids move into position and try to rain down on us with weapons of their own, but their attempts are futile. Once I regain control of my team, I quickly take advantage of what I had learned on the previous turn and eliminate each enemy one by one until I reach victory.
Now that the fighting is over we are back on the move. I run around collecting coins and exploring, until I come across a group of bridges that are curiously painted different colors. I quickly notice that in addition to the bridges there are differently colored buttons by each bridge. “This is a puzzle,” I shout in my head. I run across the first bridge and click a green button, this turns the bridges that are colored green in a different direction. While this excites me at first, the thrill quickly passes as I realize that I have trapped myself on the platform. After returning the bridges to their original spots, I run around frantically trying different combinations of buttons, until it happens. I manage to position the bridges in a way that gives me access to a higher platform.
On the platform I see a purple cannon, so I instantly run over and interact with it. The cannon launches me into a mini game where I can complete a timed puzzle in order to earn some more coins, which can be used to purchases weapon upgrades for each team member. I am terrible at this and get nowhere close to finishing the puzzle in time.
Sent back to the main game, I continue across the bridges until I reach a clearing. As soon as I take a step into the clearing I am hit with a cutscene of a Rabbid sleeping on top of a Piranha Plant. This decision doesn’t turn out well for the Rabbid, as it is fused with the Piranha Plant creating a much more powerful enemy.
As soon as the cutscene ends a new battle begins. I must now take down this Rabbid abomination and his allies. To defeat this new enemy I need to use some more advanced abilities. I start out by moving Mario into cover near by. Next I send Rabbid Peach over to Mario, which gives me the ability to jump off of Mario, virtually doubling the distance that Rabbid Peach can travel. After that, I send Rabbid Luigi over to Mario to once again use the jump ability, but this time I launch them onto a higher platform, gaining a much better vantage point. With my turn finished the enemy team makes their first move, showing me that I am easily outnumbered. Luckily, my placement of my team keeps them safe until the enemy’s turn ends.
I move Mario closer to the enemy and take my first shot at an enemy in cover. This is where things get really interesting. The enemy is taking cover behind a box with a flame on it, which I inadvertently hit when shooting at the target. The box explodes instantly lighting the enemy on fire and sending them running to a random point on the field, leaving them wide open for another attack.
After a few turns of dealing damage back and forth, I finally whittle their team down to just the Rabbid Piranha Plant. Proving to be a much more challenging foe, its every attack burns my characters. My team’s numbers turned out to be to much for it however, as I am still at full strength. Throwing caution to the wind, I run all three team members over to the enemy and attack from every angle, leaving it nowhere to run, and gaining me sweat victory.
The Rabbids have arrived in Mushroom Kingdom, bringing with them an exciting new way to play a Mario game that might permanently change how people think of this beloved series. While this might not be what fans expect from a Mario game, it definitely feels like something that they will enjoy.