Greetings, adventurers, and welcome to your initiation into the Adventure Rules Academy of Tactical Combat! I’ve been playing a lot of Mario + Rabbids and have made quite a bit of progress into the game, so today I thought I would share some tips and tricks for those may be jumping into the game for the first time. So strap on your Mario memorabilia and put on your Rabbid ears, because we’re gonna dive right in!
The bare basics of battle in Mario + Rabbids is built into proper use of your three main actions: movement, weapons, and character abilities. These phases can be done in any order, which is really valuable because it gives you a lot of tactical options. Your “typical” turn would probably go movement-weapon-character ability, but there are a lot of other patterns you can utilize to make the most of your turn. If a character has taken a lot of damage, for example, it can be helpful to have them fire their weapon first and then spend their movement getting as far from combat as possible. You might use your character ability right at the beginning of the turn to give a beneficial stat boost to all your nearby allies, then have them run their separate ways to mess with the enemy. Take a minute to plan your turn ahead of time – there are few things more frustrating than planning a specific course of action, only for the whole turn to fall apart because you can’t reach the ally you need to in order to set up your team jump.
Don’t sleep on the Tacticam – this is a seriously useful function that doesn’t get the attention it deserves in a tutorial. The tacticam allows you to look freely around the whole battlefield by pressing the X button. Hovering over a specific enemy allows you to see that enemy’s health, weapons, potential damage output, and character abilities. It also shows all the squares they’ll be able to move through on their turn, and you can lock this movement range in place with the Y button so that it will still be visible when you hover over someone else. This is great for seeing if your character is within an enemy’s reach, or if you can get to an ally in order to team jump with them.
Tacticam shows more than movement, though. It also shows the range of the opponent’s weapon or their character abilities. That last part is particularly useful when dealing with enemies that can deal reactionary damage, allowing you to see their range of sight so you can try to stay away from them. By utilizing tacticam to see where your opponents are, how far they can reach, and what their stats look like, it helps you to plan your turn so that you can deal the most damage while also staying safe.
THE RIGHT STUFF FOR THE RIGHT SITUATION
While the most common battle goal in this game is to defeat every enemy, you’ll still regularly find yourself facing other objectives. Common objectives are things like reaching a specific area, escorting Toad or Toadette across the battlefield, or defeating a specific enemy or specific number of enemies. If you approach all these different battle types in the same way, you’ll almost certainly find yourself struggling to succeed at them. That’s why proper management of your characters, skills, and weapons is so important.
I personally probably swap weapons the least often, simply because I tend not to own more than one weapon in a damage category. However, there is an advantage to swapping weapons because many weapons have a bonus against a specific enemy type. Facing down an army of Hoppers? Have your character equip weapons that deal special damage to Hoppers. About to take on a midboss? Whip out your golden weapon that has an increased chance to inflict its special effect. While it is rarely valuable to downgrade to a weapon with lower overall attack power, it can be helpful to switch between two weapons with identical damage but different special effects or enemy advantages.
Different characters are also better suited to particular objectives. Luigi, for example, has an incredible range of movement that enables him to cover a lot more ground than other characters. This makes him great for accomplishing “reach area” missions in a small number of turns. Then there’s Peach, whose protection ability is perfect for preventing damage against Toad, and her healing jump can take care of any damage that does manage to get through. Rabbid Mario is great for dealing damage to a grouping of enemies in tight quarters, while Rabbid Peach is ideal for drawing enemy fire away from more vulnerable characters. You can change during the preparation stage of every match except for boss battles, so choose the characters who are right for your particular situation.
Skills work the same way. Unlike other games which may cost you skill points or money in order to re-spec your character, you can reallocate your power orbs as often as you want at no cost. This is great because it allows you to invest in the skills you need the most for each specific situation, allowing you to run different “builds” of each character depending on the circumstances. For example, in reach area missions I’ll pour all of my points into maxing Luigi’s movement range, pipe exit range, and team jump range. In missions where I’m focused more on combat, I’ll instead put Luigi’s points into his height advantage damage and Steely Stare ability. In the early parts of the game where you don’t have as many power orbs to spread around, it’s helpful to reset them often in order to build your skills to suit the situation.
This even has applications outside of battle thanks to this nifty little skill that increases the amount of HP Mario heals when picking up a mushroom in the overworld. Between battles in the same chapter, your health doesn’t regenerate, so the healing touch of a mushroom can give you a huge advantage in the next chapter. But as your characters get better, +70 HP isn’t really enough to get the job done. Luckily you can reallocate your skills with no penalties, so you can very quickly hit reset, invest everything in the Mushroom Mend ability, and suddenly Mario is healing up to 280 HP with one mushroom! Now this only works for Mario, but as he is the one character you are always forced to use, you can’t just switch him with somebody who is at full health like you can your other party members. So take advantage of this nifty little hack whenever you can.
RETURNING TO FINISHED WORLDS
After you beat your first world in Mario + Rabbids, you’ll learn about some interesting new features that open up. You unlock a contextual action for Beep-O, a field ability you can use to solve puzzles and reach areas that were previously cut off. You also unlock 10 challenge matches as well as a secret chapter. Now returning to a world you just completed may not seem that compelling at first, but in Mario + Rabbids it’s a trip I highly recommend you make. Here’s why.
First of all, Mario + Rabbids doesn’t run on a random encounter system, and enemies don’t repopulate an area after you leave. What that means for you is that when you re-explore a completed world, you’re not actually repeating the battles there. You are free to explore openly without having to worry about the interruption of battle. This lets you focus on puzzles, particularly the new ones you have unlocked thanks to Beep-O’s new contextual actions.
Second of all, those contextual actions enable you to access areas that you couldn’t reach before. This gives you access to treasure chests you couldn’t open before. Now most of those chests just have collectible figurines or songs, stuff that’s cool to find but that I personally don’t care much about. However, a decent number of those chests will have power orbs inside. This means that all you have to do in order to get more skill points for your character to invest is go backwards through an empty, battle-less space and open some new chests that you can reach. That’s a pretty sweet deal!
Finally, the challenges. This is where Mario + Rabbids really excels in that the game resolves grinding in a very engaging way. Each world has 10 challenges ranging from Very Easy to (as far as I know) “Supa Hard.” Completing each challenge gives you a number of coins as well as some power orbs. Alone, the amounts of orbs are pretty small, but complete all 10 challenges and you have a pretty significant number of new orbs to invest. Perhaps more valuable are the coins, which you can invest in the new weapons that you earned when you completed the world or in the special weapons you earn by beating the world’s secret chapter, which you can only find with the help of the new contextual ability.
Between the challenges, the secret chapter, and the extra treasure chests, going through a world a second time leaves you better equipped and with more orbs to invest in skills. And while the challenges happen on the same maps as the original battles in that world, the enemies you face during the challenges are a lot different (and generally much harder), which keeps things interesting and stops the whole process from feeling monotonous. To keep up with the game’s difficulty curve, I highly recommend you return to each world after you complete it.
While it’s great to know generally how to effectively utilize the abilities available to you, it’s also good to know some specific plans of action. Here are some common tactics that I have found to be pretty helpful, complete with ridiculous names!
The Rabbid Shield Danger Run Advance – Once you’ve beaten the first world you’ll find yourself facing enemies that have character abilities of their own. Ziggies, in particular, are capable of setting up a reactionary shot, firing their weapon at you when you move into their range of vision. This can make it pretty dangerous to advance through enemy territory; that’s where this tactic comes in handy. By having one of your trusty Rabbid characters (Rabbid Peach is particularly good for this) use their character ability at the beginning of their turn to put up their shield, you can then run through the line of Ziggies while taking minimal damage from their reactionary shots.
The Heroic Sight Smasher Bait Bash – If you haven’t met a Smasher yet, be prepared to hate these guys. They’re big, they do a ton of damage, and they run towards you every time you shoot them. This makes them seriously dangerous because they can approach and attack you during your turn, and then again on their turn. The good thing is, Smashers are very easy to bait into a particularly deadly trap. First, have characters like Mario, Luigi, or Peach set up their reactionary shooting ability. Then, shoot the Smasher to get it to run towards you. When it starts to move, your character will interrupt the Smasher’s movement and fire into it, dealing damage. If you’ve upgraded your ability to feature multiple shots, it will do this over and over again until you’ve shot it to death (or cleansed it of the Megabug, whatever).
The Heroic Sight Bait Bash Redux – The combo above works only with smashers specifically, but there are other ways to force the enemy to move on your turn so that you can set a trap with Heroic Sight. Rabbid Mario and Rabbid Yoshi both have abilities that can cause enemies to move (either towards the party or away from them). Activating one of their abilities when the enemy is in range of Heroic Sight or Steely Stare gives the shooter the perfect helpless target to open fire on.
The Sadistic Sentry Sacrifice Play – Luigi and Rabbid Peach each have little sentries that they can send towards enemies. These robot helpers explode to deal damage, and unlike other weapons, they have their own movement range and HP stat. Sentries can draw fire from your enemies, which is a really useful way to absorb attacks from enemies with a reactionary shot. If a Ziggie or a midboss gets prepped to shoot a moving target, give them one in the form of your sentry – it’ll keep your heroes from taking damage when they advance, and if the sentry survives the hits it will be able to do some pretty great damage to the enemy, too!
The Pesky Buckler Shield Cover Workaround – Bucklers are the worst, right? These jerks carry heavy weapons that deal spread damage AND have portable cover that prevents you from shooting them from the front. The best strategy with these guys is to hit them fast and hard with dash attacks and then get positioned behind them. But what if the guy with the killshot just can’t get around that cover? This is when secondary weapons become really useful. Rocket launchers, grenaducks, and sentries all deal explosive area damage that goes behind normal cover, and this applies to the shields too. Sentries are particularly great for this as they deal a hefty amount of damage, usually being stronger than the character’s primary weapon. If you need to finish off a buckler but just can’t get around them, this is an excellent way to circumvent their cover.
These are some techniques I see myself repeating again and again as I work to win levels as quickly as possible. I hope that you also find them useful in your battle against the Rabbid hordes! That’s gonna be it for today’s guide; if you found it helpful and want to see if I have similar guides for another game you’re playing, click on “A Casual Stroll” on the sidebar to your right. If you’re into tactical games, you might find The Fire Emblem Echoes guide helpful, or if you’re all about the Nintendo Switch, you can check out the Breath of the Wild survival guide. Feel free to leave any tips or tricks that you have for the game in the comments so that you, too, may provide some guidance for adventurers delving into this game for the first time!