Playing with Mario & Rabbids

A giant manta ray flies over the realms and covers everything in a ‘Darkmess’.
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope
Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope

BENGALURU: The unlikeliest tryst in video games is Ubisoft with Nintendo to create a turn-based strategy game. ‘Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope’ was released last week, five years after the release of the first game in the series. The game starts, as all do, with a catastrophic event.

A giant manta ray flies over the realms and covers everything in a ‘Darkmess’. The adventure of curing the lands of the Darkmess sends us on a cross-country exploratory adventure with our team of Mario characters and their rabbid hybrids.

I need to explain ‘Rabbids’ to those unfamiliar with the concept. Rabbids were apparently a character first featured in Ubisoft’s Rayman games. It’s simple to explain it with a picture. It’s simpler if I say this: imagine a version of the infamous minions from Despicable Me. Now imagine them if they don’t like bananas, but enjoy a good fight, can talk, and are also rabbits.

All the usual Nintendo characters have a Rabbid counterpart. Princess Peach has a Rabbid Peach, Mario is good friends with Rabbid Mario, you get the gist.

The game is a real delight to play. The turn-based strategy aspect of it is easy to learn, even for a novice. It eventually builds up to longer and more complex sequences, and enemies with fresher powers — but it is never a steep climb. I did end up playing one of the fights at least eight times till I got it right. It is remarkable how Mario + Rabbids successfully gaslighted me into appreciating the opportunity to replay a very silly level.

I realised that even though the enemies’ turns never change (in the easier modes, at least), I had control over making the battle different every time. It varied based on both my initial moves, and the allies I chose for the round: and I could watch it all play out, almost on autopilot, on a gigantic interactive chessboard. I started out preferring Princess Peach’s very powerful starter power, but a few islands later Mario shooting his multiple projectiles felt the most efficient.

It keeps it fresh and exciting because you’d always have the what-if of playing with another character or modifying your strategy using skill trees. What’s more? The story is engaging, and the conversations with the NPCs are adorbs. This is unsurprising, a console exclusive, available only with the Nintendo Switch, but is worth it if you’re looking for a new Mario title to play!

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The New Indian Express