Ubisoft has finally confirmed that Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle does indeed exist and is coming to the Nintendo Switch on August 29th. They revealed it during their E3 conference when they brought Shigeru Miyamoto onto the stage as a surprise guest. It seems that all the rumors and leaks were true: Mario and the Rabbids will be crossing over.
A Mario + Rabbids game has been rumored to exist since before the initial Nintendo Switch announcement (back when it was called the NX). Several websites listed the game as being part of the initial Nintendo Switch presentation. This never happened, which raised doubts about the game's existence. Things changed towards the end of May when screenshots and promotional material for the game leaked online. Today's announcement was just the final confirmation of a game that everyone knew existed.
Ubisoft showed a trailer for the game during their E3 conference. The game seems like a bizarre mixture between Super Mario 3D World and the XCOM series. Mario and his friends have teamed up with a group of Rabbids in Nintendo costumes, in order to defeat other Rabbids that are dressed like the villains from the Super Mario games. Ubisoft also released a behind the scenes video, which offers a deeper look at the game and talks about how they originally pitched the game to Shigeru Miyamoto at last year's E3 event.
In terms of gameplay: the game is split into exploration and battle sections. The exploration segments are similar to a 3D Mario game, where you lead your party of chosen Mario/Rabbid characters around with a robot. These sections will include things like coin collecting, uncovering hidden secrets, and solving puzzles. As you explore the game's various levels, you will be accosted by enemy Rabbids, which will force you into the battle sections.
The turn-based combat segments of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle appear to be a more cartoony version of XCOM. There are blocks on the course that you can hide behind for cover and each character has a specific amount of actions per turn. In order to fight their enemies, Mario and his friends now possess a range of guns. The most interesting of these is Mario's arm cannon, which is reminiscent of the one used by Samus Aran in the Metroid games, and Luigi's hoover rifle, which is an obvious shout out to the Luigi's Mansion series. Each of the characters possesses their own weapons and unique abilities. The behind the scenes video also shows a brief snippet of a character menu, which has an icon labeled "Skill Tree". This suggests that the game will have an experience point system with unlockable abilities.
The existence of this game is likely to annoy a lot of long-time Nintendo fans. This is partly due to the presence of the Rabbids, which are considered by many to be a less famous and more irritating version of Minions. There is also the fact that Mario and his friends are running around with guns and shooting enemies in the face (even though it is in a cartoon manner). If you can look past those admittedly distracting facts, then there seems to be an interesting game here. A lot of care has gone into the graphics and aesthetics of the game, which so far looks to be one of the most visually impressive titles on the Nintendo Switch. The XCOM gameplay also promises to be a lot of fun, as those were some of the best games of the best decade. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle also fills a hole in the Switch's schedule that exists between Splatoon 2 and Pokkén Tournament DX. Nintendo fans may be lured into giving this game a chance during the end of the dry summer season.
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle will be released for the Nintendo Switch on August 29th.