Saturday, December 23, 2017
Paris + Milan: Mario Strategy
One of the less stellar aspects of MARIO+RabbiDs (it's not a typo!) is the difficulty curve. Of the four worlds found in the game, the first and second are extremely easy. Meanwhile, the fourth and final world gets brutally hard toward the end. I'm not even talking about the last boss so much as the four back-to-back battles featuring cameos by RabbiD Wario and RabbiD Waluigi. The healing abilities of Princess Peach (or her RabbiD counterpart) are pretty much required to endure the waves of enemy units. It's not a dealbreaker, but the viable team selection does feel awfully limited in the late game areas. Outside of combat there's a decided lack of compelling things to do. Exploration is fun, but requires a lot of backtracking and the rewards for solving puzzles and claiming a prizes are more often than not lackluster collectables like concept art.
So, there you have it, Mario+RabbiDs has a strong core gameplay element surrounded by some weak peripheral components. That said, getting to battle a ghost/rabbit/gramophone hybrid world boss, who delivers operatically sung hints as to how he can be defeated, is one for the books. I also think the anti-discriminatory rule built into the team selection system is amusing. Requiring players to choose at least one RabbiD team member might piss some Nintendo purists off, but for me it's schadenfreude. As far as third-party treatment of iconic Nintendo characters go, it could have been better...but then again, it could have been a lot worse.