Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is a unique and fun tactical RPG for a lot of reasons – it has surprisingly deep mechanics despite the simplicity of the system. Beyond that, the character-based gameplay means that each party member brings something unique to the table that makes them more effective in certain scenarios. Choosing the right character for the right mission will take you from “Good” to “Perfect” rankings in your battles and help you to get the ultimate Mario + Rabbids experience. This post will be part of a series where I take a hard look at each character in the game to see what they bring to the table and give you some guidance on the best way to utilize the character.
A few hints about using this guide. Each character’s section will be structured first as a simple point-by-point breakdown of their basic stats, then their weapons, and finally the skills they bring to the table. This is great if you just want to read a quick summary of what the character is good for. Following that will be a more detailed section with my recommended uses for each character. There are mild spoilers in this guide in the form of playable characters and game mechanics, but no story spoilers. These guides will come out one at a time, but I’ll do my best to release them as close together as possible. If the character you are looking for guidance on isn’t up yet, check back the next day!
With all of that out of the way, let’s check out the heroic plumber himself, Mario!
Health: Medium-High – Naturally sponges some hits but is not a tank
Damage: Medium-High – Reliably deals pretty great damage
Range: Medium-Low – Most damage at melee range, no long-range options
Ground Mobility: Low – Tied for worst base ground movement
Air Mobility: High – Stomp Jump greatly increases aerial movement
Blaster – Good balance of range, damage, and special effect chance, precise weapon
Hammer – Melee only, area damage, high damage but useless near cover
Honey – Prevents enemy movement, good for restricting mobility
Bounce – Knocks enemies backward through the air, combines well with Hero Sight
Stomp Jump – Great combination of damage and mobility, not great for defense
Hero Sight – Solid balance of number-of-shots with damage, precise
M-Power – Useful ability, often easy to execute right at the start for a strong offense
Mario is the main character in Mario + Rabbids (despite not being the character you *technically* control throughout the game) and is always forced to be in your battle party. This means that, like him or not, you have to have Mario on the team – the only exception that I have found so far is in the co-op challenges in the Buddydome. Now this isn’t too shabby because Mario is a pretty solid offensive character, but he has some pretty clear weaknesses you’ll have to be careful about when moving through the game with him.
Let’s talk about his strengths first, though. Mario has the second-highest overall mobility in the game, with a potential movement of 19 cells in a single turn (not counting augmentation from Itchy Feet or pipe placement). This makes him really good for getting around, and the Stomp Jump in particular equips him the best for getting behind enemy lines to really wreck havoc. Stomp Jump and Dash both have high damage output on Mario, so while he can only strike two enemies with his movement abilities he’s going to be doing a ton of damage when he does so.
Speaking of doing damage, Mario truly is an offensive powerhouse. The blaster is a somewhat powerful medium-range weapon that is also quite precise – no area damage means no concerns about harming allies who might be close to your target. His hammer has to have a target to focus on in melee but deals area damage to enemies within a few cells, making it a great way to deal heavy damage to a tight grouping of bad guys. This is augmented even further by his special abilities: M-Power allows Mario to increase his damage by a minimum of 20% and a maximum of 70%. A 50% increase is damage is really helpful, and the more Rabbids you can target at once with that Hammer the more the multiplication will pay off!
Mario’s weapons and skills combine well in other ways, too. Mario’s Hero Sight ability allows him to deal reactionary damage to an opponent in motion. One of the two Special Effects that Mario’s weapons carry is the Bounce effect, which sends the enemy flying in a backward arc through the air. Getting this special effect while Hero Sight is activated will allow Mario to immediately deliver more attacks against the enemy, a great technique for putting as much damage as possible on a single tough opponent.
Mario’s offensive prowess is obvious, and he’s most effective when you are putting that offense to the fullest. Boost his attack, get in close with Dash and Stomp Jump, and then crush the enemy with the Hammer for maximum power. The plumber can operate just fine at a medium range as well, particularly with the Hero Sight combo I described above, but that’s not the range where he’s going to be doing the most damage. However, that’s the range where he’ll be safest, and this is a key part of utilizing Mario effectively – balancing offense and defense.
When it comes to the types of challenges you’ll be overcoming, Mario is most useful in the “Defeat All” or “Defeat X Enemies” missions. While his high aerial mobility would suggest that he’s good for “Reach Area” missions, this is offset by his cruddy ground mobility and he needs a lot of factors to line up to really maximize his movement range – both ally placement and enemy placement have to be perfect. Mario performs as expected in “Escort” missions, where his primary focus will be taking out bad guys to help protect your charge. His Hero Sight is particularly useful here, as one of the biggest obstacles you’ll typically face in an escort mission is the spawning of new Rabbids, who get to act before you have the opportunity to take them out.
Alright, now let’s start talking weaknesses. Mario has decent health, sure, but no defensive abilities to speak of. His inability to shield himself does not pair well with the fact that he operates best behind enemy lines, right in the thick of it where the bad guys can pound on him. Use Mario too aggressively and you’ll end up placing him somewhere that the enemies can easily target him and wear him down. For this reason, it’s probably best to play Mario as a medium-range character and then go full offensive as a finishing move of sorts. Or use supportive party members with healing and defensive capabilities to keep him alive.
Mario has another pretty serious weakness, and this is the one that I found myself frustrated with most often: cover. While no character’s main weapon is really effective against cover, most characters in the game have a secondary weapon that gets around that problem. The Hammer is the only secondary weapon in the game that doesn’t offer a cover solution, which means that when Mario is faced with opponents who are well-concealed, his only option is to turn on Hero’s Sight and wait it out. This makes Bucklers a particularly frustrating enemy type for Mario – if he doesn’t have an ally to jump off of, his poor mobility means it is very unlikely that he’ll be able to get the right angle on them, leaving him totally useless.
Mario’s vulnerability to attack and his inability to overcome cover are frustrating weaknesses that make it difficult when Mario is separated from his allies. For this reason, you’re going to want to keep someone in Mario’s reach most of the time so that he can gain access to his full mobility, preferably someone who also plays a support role that balances out his all-offense strategy. Keeping someone close by can be tricky, though, because Mario is tied for the lowest ground mobility in the game (both based on his movement range and pipe exit range) – to make sure he can stay within the reach of an ally, you’re going to have to hold back on how far that ally can move.
So who pairs well with Mario? Who can you bring to the party to cancel out some of these weaknesses?
Rabbid Peach is one of your three starting characters and she is a fantastic companion for Mario. She plays the defensive/support role that perfectly compliments Mario’s full-offense skillset. Her straightforwardly-named Shield ability protects her from a good percentage of weapon damage and a small percentage of movement damage, allowing her to tank hits from enemies. Meanwhile, her Heal ability allows her to restore HP to herself and her allies. This balances really well with Mario’s skillset – she can draw enemy fire by standing away from cover, but use a shield to reduce the damage she takes. She can heal herself and Mario, allowing them both greater survivability behind enemy lines. The main struggle you’ll probably have with Rabbid Peach is that she has pretty decent ground mobility, so you’ll have to measure your steps carefully to make sure Mario can reach her when he needs to get a Stomp Jump going.
Peach is also a great companion for Mario (whodda thunk it?!). Like Rabbid Peach, she provides defense and healing, but she does both of these things in different ways. Peach heals less HP in one go but she can heal every turn because it is tied to her Team Jump ability, whereas Rabbid Peach has a cooldown to deal with. And instead of creating a personal shield, Peach’s Protection move places defenses on Mario to reduce the damage dealt to him. At full power, Protection reduces 100% of the weapon damage aimed at Mario, a seriously awesome advantage for him to have. Peach can place this barrier on Mario and then toss him behind enemy lines from a safe position, meaning that you only have to have one character in the danger zone – and that character is well-protected and can be healed next turn if needed. Peach also combines well with Mario because she’s the person he is tied with for crappiest ground mobility, so she won’t be outpacing him like Rabbid Peach would.
Mario is a great all-around character who will most likely be the one you turn to when you need to deal a ton of damage. Many of his abilities, whether its his movement skills and weapon selection or his character abilities and effect types, create useful combos that are perfect for unleashing a deadly offense against his enemies. Without an ally, though, Mario suffers from limited mobility that seriously reduces his combat options and leaves him vulnerable. To summarize Mario’s tactics: “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”
Well adventurers, I hope you found this guide helpful! I plan to continue pushing these out as fast as I can until I’ve hit every character in the game, so be sure to continue visiting through the next week or so to get guides for the other characters. If you have your own hints for utilizing Mario – a combo I missed, a character that you feel pairs well, or any other tips – feel free to leave it in the comments below! Thanks for reading, and have fun busting some Rabbid butt!