I originally played Mario + Rabbids at launch, and went into it expecting "Mario XCOM," and sort of lost interest in it quickly because it's not QUITE Mario XCOM. My initial feeling was that it was a fun game, but it was kind of light compared to the depth of XCOM. It felt like it wasn't as meticulous or something. I don't know.
But this past weekend I found the game on sale for $20 and decided to give it a go after recently re-reading through an older issue of Nintendo Force where the game was mentioned in their year end awards section.
This time I was approaching the game with a completely different set of expectations. And y'know what? I'm kind of loving Mario + Rabbids right now. The battles are way faster and rely a lot more on movement around the map than in your typical XCOM or Fire Emblem or what have you. This gives the game a way different flow than most strategy games I'm used to playing. And in turn, this makes it a really fun and unique experience for me. It's a genre I love, but now it's candy-coasted and fast and fun. It's good stuff.
I'm really glad that I came back to it, because I'm spending so much more time experimenting with different team layouts, weapons, skills, and so on. I'm now playing the game how it was meant to be played. And though it's definitely meant to be more inviting than the usual tactics game, it's also a lot deeper than I had originally seen.
This game is great.
I've been thinking about this, and the partnership between Ubisoft and Nintendo is fascinating during this generation. It reminds me a bit of the wild west days of the 80's and 90's when Nintendo was letting various companies try their hand at making games with big-name Nintendo franchises.
What's cool about this is that Ubisoft is making INTERESTING games. I mean "good" or "bad" is obviously subjective. And I can't really say how successful I'd call Starlink. But for all intents and purposes, that was an open world Star Fox game. It's just that the version that appeared on Xbox and PlayStation was missing, y'know, Star Fox. But it's bonkers to think about that game even existing. An open world Star Fox, that's KIND OF like No Man's Sky or something - oh, and it has toys-to-life elements. It's just nuts. And though I lost interest over time, I'm glad it exists. And I'm glad that the starter set came with an Arwing to display, haha.
Likewise, it's amazing to me that Mario + Rabbids is even a thing. And that it has gotten post-launch DLC expansions. It's a truly great time to be a Nintendo fan, because they are doing some super interesting things - sometimes with outside developers.
I'm pretty far into World 2 right now, and things are starting to get pretty tricky. There's definitely some serious strategy to put into this game, which I certainly appreciate as a big fan of the genre.
I'm so glad I gave this game another chance, because it is soooooo good. Like, legitimately this is one of the best Switch exclusives I can think of. Although, that might be over-praise, because there are a lot of Switch exclusives. But still. I love this game right now.
One frustrating limitation I came across is that you have to apparently always have a mix of "Mario" and "Rabbids" characters on your three person team. I didn't realize that. I just unlocked Peach, and I wanted a team of Mario, Luigi, and Peach. Can't do it. Which sucks. That would have been a dream team. Peach is awesome, as she plays like a mix of offense and defense. But I'd have to swap out Luigi to use her, and he's a killer sniper. So I can't do it. So I'm still using the same Mario/Luigi/Rabbid-Peach combo instead, because I need Rabbid-Peach as a healer. Oh well.
But the game itself continues to be awesome. I'm now in the middle of World 3, which is like the "ghosthouse" world. My kind of stuff.
Okay, the only thing I find at all off-putting about this game is that between some of the actual battles there's little puzzles you need to solve to open up the next one. Most of the time these are fairly easy block-pushing things. Nothing difficult if you've played your Kwirk as a kid. (Remember Kwirk? He was even in that show Video Power). Anyway, SOME of the puzzles just feel time consuming. I left off at one where you need to keep climbing up platforms but then going back down to adjust the height of bridges, and it's just annoying to me because it feels like it's just here to kill some time. I'd honestly have just preferred none of this. Just give me battle after battle, and I'm happy.
Anyway, I might take a break for now and play something completely different. I'm thinking I'm in the mood for just a really simple old school platformer or something to break things up variety wise. Hmm.