Mario + Rabbids: Part I: Kingdom Battle

Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope came out last week, and Ubisoft was nice enough to provide with a review code for the game. I was finally able to begin my journey this week, but I first wanted to revisit my long relationship with the previous title, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. So, before I share my thoughts on the new Sparks of Hope, let’s travel back in time to my Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle story.

First Sight + Play

I remember seeing that first reveal of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle and thinking, “That looks kind of interesting, but probably not for me.” I had never been into tactical turn-based RPGs before — although I have tried with many of them.

These games would always take me through the same three-step journey: (1) Wow, this is fun! I think I like this. (2) Uh oh, this is getting kind of hard. (3) I don’t know what I’m doing anymore, I quit.

My relationship with Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle all began with one trip. I was flying out to visit a friend for about a week, and borrowed the game from another friend as my “plane game.” On the plane and for that entire week I played through World 1, and I truly enjoyed it. However, once I returned home there were more games to play elsewhere, so I returned the cartridge to my friend, thinking my time with Mario + Rabbids was done — I was wrong!

The Deal

Cut to: Black Friday (2018 or 2019)

At this moment, I had forgotten all about Mario + Rabbids, until I came across it at a Best Buy during Black Friday weekend for only $15. My brain jumped back into memories of the game, and I decided it was time to go back. I bought my own physical copy.

I didn’t get back into it right away. The cartridge sat in my Switch case for a couple of months, waiting for the perfect moment. At some point, I began a brand new Kingdom Battle game and made it as far as World 3 this time, before deciding that the game was getting too hard and complicated for me.

I quit once again.

One More Chance

It wasn’t until June 2021, when Ubisoft revealed the upcoming sequel, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope that I decided it was time to give Kingdom Battle one more chance. I went back to my save file, but was completely lost. So, I once again started from the beginning (for the third time). This time was different though. Instead of trying to quickly make my way through each battle, I was playing smarter. I was being tactical and strategic.

This final restart, I made it all the way to World 4, the final world. Somewhere towards the beginning I fell off once again.


Last week, I realized that Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope was about to be released — I thought there was more time. That’s when I once again jumped into Kingdom Battle — this time with the help of a guide for the final few battles in World 4.

A full restart was not necessary this time. I jumped in right where I left off, since I only had a few battles left.

Also, receiving a review code from Ubisoft gave me that little push to make me want to finish Kingdom Battle. This way I would be sure to notice all of the gameplay changes when I finally got into Sparks of Hope.

Beating the Game

Back in the day, I would plan on beating an entire game over a week, weekend, or some short period of time. In recent years, I have enjoyed taking my time with games and really savoring the stories.

Once I received that Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope review code, I went back to this old mentality. It was a countdown to beat the first Mario + Rabbids game, so that I could begin to enjoy the sequel. With my girlfriend out of town for a work trip, I had two nights to get through the game — and I did it!

Sort of, my save file read “Cleared,” but I still haven’t finished that final battle against Bowser. My heroes weren’t powerful enough to beat that wicked hard Bowser battle just yet.

Instead, I went back to explore World 1 once again and noticed that the game now had new challenges instead of the previous battles. This is a very cool feature. To go back and explore old worlds, only to find new content. This was also my way to continue to level up my heroes.

Turn-Based Warrior

Before writing about Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, I wanted to revisit my time with the first game because it was a very important recent game to me. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is the main reason I started looking for more games in the turn-based strategy genre. On my quest I have found both, some games I enjoyed and others that I didn’t.

One game that I tried, but didn’t really stick with me was XCOM 2, since it was already in my PlayStation library of games. I thought it was a cool idea, but I didn’t really pay much attention to the story. However, the same studio (Firaxis) is currently finishing Marvel’s Midnight Suns, which is an XCOM-style Marvel game. I feel like I will be more inclined to becoming a fan of this game, because of the Marvel story. They are also exploring a comic series from Marvel (Midnight Suns) which I know nothing about.

If anything good has come from my on-and-off relationship with Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, I will say it’s the way it has opened my eyes to new genres of games.Earlier this week, I began Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope and I will say that I am happy with some of these gameplay changes. I plan to beat this game (in one attempt) before sharing my thoughts though.

So, stay tuned for our Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope post. Coming soon…

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