The magic of fire is cooking all the poisons out of your food. When the internet is faced with the most infamous, annoying, franchise collaborating with Super Mario? The internet freaks out. Fortunately, we’ve had four years, and a sequel’s announcement, to cool off. Does Ubisoft have any hope left to spark? Was Mario ruined by these raving beasts? Can you take Yoshi with a gun seriously? I must admit, I was quite afraid to dive into this one for the first time.

A Mario fanatic has created the SupaMerge headset and its companion A.I. Beep-0. Unfortunately, the raving Rabbids make a stop in her basement. Using the SupaMerge, the Rabbids manage to send themselves into the Mushroom Kingdom and end up merging all sorts of elements of it and the human world. It’s up to Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, and rabbid versions of themselves, to find the SupaMerge and stop these corruptions at the source.

Mario + Rabbids took the turn into strategy. Every turn each party member gets to move, use an ability, and attack with either their main or secondary weapons. Each character fits a basic archetype, but many can play multiple roles depending on the situation. With new enemies being constantly introduced, it never felt repetitive. Unfortunately, the game forces you to constantly keep Mario in your party, and Rabbid Peach, as the game’s tank and healer, is almost necessary to succeed in the end game. For my entire playthrough, I only swapped the third slot out for Rabbid Luigi, Peach, and Luigi depending on the level.

The game features a fully fleshed-out skill tree for every character. You can use it to unlock and upgrade their secondary weapons and abilities or spend all your skill orbs buffing your health and attack! Characters commonly share abilities so it makes some party formations obsolete after you’ve maxed Mario and Rabbid Peach out halfway through.

Everything falls apart when the game tries to spice things up. The main mission type is simply taking out every enemy. There are several “reach x spot on the map” missions too. They’re both extremely fun and always a blast to try out different strategies. Boss-fights and Toad escort missions are the bane of this game. Mid-bosses exist in the form of supped-up enemies, but the main bosses force you to keep repeating the same two-to-five turn pattern three times. It just got boring.

Kingdom Battle may not be as pretty as Mario Odyssey, but Grant Kirkhope’s distinct sound and the patented Luigi’s Mansion humor punch above their weight and elevate Mario + Rabbids to my favorite of the Switch’s launch window titles. The game is expertly written and designed, and short of a few boring missions, I couldn’t love this game anymore. I cannot wait for Sparks of Hope. If you haven’t already, you should pick up Kingdom Battle ASAP! It’s constantly on sale.

Get it here!