Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - Donkey Kong Adventure (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Rudy Lavaux 14.07.2018

Review for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - Donkey Kong Adventure on Nintendo Switch

Last year's Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle certainly took the world by surprise. Released to critical and even commercial success, it was designed from the get-go to receive a slew of DLC in the form of new playable maps and challenges, as well as all new weapons. However, the big bulk of the DLC opportunities were always going to be a completely new world to explore, in a new story arc separate from the main adventure. This one, Donkey Kong Adventure, is now available either for those who already bought the initial physical release, as an eShop download, or, better yet for those who have yet to take the plunge, as part of the newly released physical "Gold Edition," which includes both the base game released last year and the Season Pass, which thus includes all DLC straight on the cartridge itself.

Those wretched Rabbids have done it again. Fooling around like any good Rabbid would with the dimension travelling washing machine seen in the main game, Rabbid DK gets sent into another dimension, along with Rabbid Peach who was just passing through there and thought it a good idea to try recharging her phone using said machine. The two, along with a bunch of other Rabbid goons, drop in on the real Donkey Kong on DK Island, where all but Rabbid Peach start causing chaos for a... well no, not for a change, cause that's what they always do. Rabbid Peach, of course, needs no introduction. She's back with her smartphone, snapping selfies at every turn and acting the diva part as well as ever. By and large, she's exactly the same, in game, as she was before, although she has a whole new array of blaster guns to play with this time around and her skill tree is ever so slightly changed: the amount of times some of her skills can be upgraded has changed a little and she has a new skill affecting the amount of damage she deals to shelters. The stars, however, are the other two playable characters.

Donkey Kong is the true focus of attention of this DLC pack as not only is he insanely powerful but a lot of the new environmental actions that can be performed are exclusive to him. Donkey Kong's main weapon is the bwananarang, a boomerang banana as the name suggests that has the ability to hit multiple enemies in one turn of action while going around shelters, ignoring them completely so that no enemy within range is safe.

Screenshot for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - Donkey Kong Adventure on Nintendo Switch

Then, his secondary is a close range repeated ground pound that can be pretty scary in how much damage it can deal. As said earlier, he is really powerful indeed, but that's not all. He also has the ability to pick up most shelter blocks, be they explosive ones, honey blocks, or just the regular stone blocks that otherwise offer full cover, run with them even through pipes, and then after moving closer to the enemy, still throw those blocks some additional distance away for some serious damage. Then, as if that wasn't enough to convince anyone of his ridiculous advantage over enemies, he can also grab his partners in the same way and throw them to make them gain some extra distance or, as is the case with the final, third playable character, throw him up in the air so he can damage everything within a certain zone from mid-air before landing back on the ground.

The latter is none other than Rabbid Cranky. He may not be quite as much at the centre of the action itself like DK is but he's a force to be reckoned with all the same. His boombow, a crossbow kind of weapon, doesn't just hit everything in front of it, which means that like DK's weapon, it can hit multiple enemies in one go, too, but it also has a long cone-shaped area of effect. Then his secondary is, as expected for anyone who knows he actually is THE Donkey Kong from the original 1981 game, the barrel throw.

Screenshot for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - Donkey Kong Adventure on Nintendo Switch

Cranky has a secondary that can hit things at a distance and with yet again an area of effect for hitting potentially multiple targets at once. Furthermore, Cranky's starting arsenal has a vampirism effect for draining enemy HP and getting some free heals. Otherwise, Rabbid Peach will remain the de facto healer of the group, which explains why she is the one returning character.

For better or for worse, although this is not completely unexpected since this is additional downloadable content and not a full new game, those three characters will be the only ones playable for the whole duration of the short side-adventure, which somewhat limits the possibilities of combining different characters for different strategies. As a result of this, or maybe as a deliberate design choice, the overall difficulty level finds itself lowered since less possible strategies makes it less likely to get it completely wrong when it comes to solving an otherwise complex situation on the battlefield. Well, that and the aforementioned insane power that the two new characters found themselves blessed with. The base game is, no doubt, a challenging one indeed, at least for anyone who's not into the XCOM-like genre of tactical games to begin with. This DLC pack turns out more fun for that fraction of the audience as a result, but perhaps less so for those few who may have been expecting more of a challenge from the DLC chapters. With that being said, though, really, the highlight of the base game was the story and characters themselves, the colourful and beautiful universe, and the humour thrown all over it.

Screenshot for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - Donkey Kong Adventure on Nintendo Switch

This DLC pack may lack the breadth of cut-scenes present in the original, but what is there is completely hilarious, perhaps even more so than in the original. The way in which the Donkey Kong licence was used is also brilliant. Grant Kirkhope having composed the soundtrack of the game, it comes as no surprise that the music of the overworld is a new take on the DK Island theme from Donkey Kong 64 but nods to other DK games are present throughout, such as whenever a battle is won, the stage complete fanfare from the original Donkey Kong Country plays. It is a pleasure both for the ears and for the eyes for any fan of Donkey Kong who may be longing for some new, exclusive DK content on Switch after the port of the Wii U title Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. DK's model is as well animated as other Mario characters seen in last year's initial release.

Donkey Kong Adventure feels overall like the same base game but with new ideas brought forth by the new characters' and enemies' abilities and new stage design opportunities that the DK universe makes possible, although all within a smaller scale product fit for DLC and, again, an overall sense of lower difficulty. For anyone who had left the game aside after completing it to dedicate themselves to other great titles available on Switch, this new adventure warrants popping the cartridge back in for a few more hours of fun that doesn't overstay its welcome but is a more condensed bundle of fun that allows one to vent any frustration they may have by punishing some Rabbids once again.

Screenshot for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - Donkey Kong Adventure on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle - Donkey Kong Adventure turns out to be much less focused on strategy this time around but more on the actual enjoyment of the story and universe with more laid back battles that are easier to approach than the rest of the full package, in no small part due to how powerful Donkey Kong and Rabbid Cranky are in battle. The base game had lots of charm with its colourful and humorous universe and this is all intact here, if not even more pleasant than ever before. The small downside to this is that those who loved the base for the challenge and variety of possible strategies will not quite find the same depth here. For others, though, this will be a solid addition to an already solid experience.

Developer

Ubisoft

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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