When Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle was formally announced by Ubisoft at E3 earlier this year, the natural first reaction for many – including us – was: what are Rabbids? While most people on this planet have heard of Nintendo’s red-and-blue jumper-wearing mascot, Ubisoft’s two-legged rabbits – a spin-off from the Rayman franchise, and who will remind you a bit of the Minions in their mannerisms and antics – are much less known.
And if that wasn’t strange enough, the game would have Rabbids in the likeness of Mario and his friends, including a Princess Peach that is always taking selfies with a smirk on her face, and clapping like an excited toddler at every tiny win. On top of that, it was going to be a turn-based strategy game, replete with the family-friendly characters wielding laser guns. It’s crazy to think Nintendo greenlit this project, and it’s as surprising to find out that it’s a runaway success.
The setup for Mario + Rabbids begins with a short Pixar-like video that shows how the Rabbids accidentally invade the Mushroom Kingdom and wreak havoc with an invention they stole, which can combine any two objects into a weird new creation. They end up combining themselves with everyday objects and Nintendo items, creating some helpful copies of Mario and his friends, alongside an assortment of bad guys.
When the dust settles, most of Mario’s friends have disappeared, leaving him with Rabbid copies of Peach and Luigi, with whom he arrives at Princess Peach’s castle. After they figure out what’s gone wrong thanks to an AI assistant called Beep-O – who serves as the exposition vehicle for the game, and travels with the group – they set out to restore order to the Mushroom Kingdom. Your band is always a trio, and as you complete new levels, you will unlock a total of eight characters to choose from.