Controller Patent Teases SNES Games on SwitchPlay These Nintendo Switch Games Before ‘Pokemon Sword and Shield&… Stay on target I’ve spent the past week playing the final version of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. I still love the game’s inexplicable franchise mash-up inside an X-COM-style strategy game, but I don’t have too much more to say about its excellent tactics mechanics I didn’t already say in my lengthy preview. It’s just nice to confirm the gameplay still holds up and in fact gets deeper as you invest more hours into it. I even came around on the block-pushing puzzles since they require the same strategic positioning thinking as the turn-based combat.So instead I wanted to talk about about another aspect of this, my favorite new Nintendo Switch Game That Isn’t Zelda. This is an aspect that has only become more apparent the more I play. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, the final form of Nintendo and Ubisoft’s long-standing video game publisher corporate bromance, is the best bootleg Mario Game.Mario games are really, really weird. They’ve always been, we’ve just gotten used to it, and they always should be. But even as Mario heads off into New Donk City with its realistic human beings, there’s a familiar consistency to his weirdness that Nintendo can’t help but provide. There’s a sense that this strangeness is still canon or “on-model.” The closest the comes to breaking is when other 2nd party studios develop Mario games, like the weirdly violent Super Mario Strikers, but even there Nintendo is still a guiding hand keeping things on the rails.However, any time you see Mario and Mario-related iconography and merchandise from sources other than Nintendo, the results tend to be uncanny dreams and nightmares. Nintendo’s Mario is so specific that even a mild alteration breaks the spell and reminds us of how unsettling this cartoon but fully grown adult Italian-American hairy man and his mushroom universe is. Just check out the Twitter feed Shitty Mario to understand what I’m talking about.pic.twitter.com/VRoGeX49le— Shitty Mario (@ShittyMario) August 18, 2017Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is absolutely dripping with this bootleg Mario aesthetic. It’s totally the video equivalent of this knock-off Mario fidget spinner. And it’s not just because of the presence of the Raving Rabbids, although an uncomfortably aggressive and masculine Rabbid dressed as Mario or a selfie-obsessed smartphone Rabbid in Princess Peach drag have bootleg quotients that are off the scale.If anything the Rabbids and their contemporary slapstick sense of humor feel more like extended guest stars in Ubisoft’s attempt to make a classic comedy Mario spin-off in the vein of Super Mario RPG (a Square Enix game which itself was a bit of a bootleg Mario at the time). It’s just that the game is full of these tiny little deviations from what an internally produced Mario game would ever be.Not to spoil too much, but even from the first frame the game is on some buckwild business that feels super foreign for a Mario game. There’s this whole framing device, a voiced pre-rendered cinematic with the kind of Western AAA production value Nintendo usually avoids, about hip technological teenagers in the real-world accidentally merging the fictional Mario and Rabbids worlds or something?The Rabbids show up in their time-traveling washing machine, making this canon with other Rabbids games. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the whole story tied into the Assassin’s Creed (and now Final Fantasy XV) universe by the end, that the whole time you’ve been reliving Mario’s genetic memories in the Animus fighting Templar Rabbids. After all, arguably the best Assassin’s Creed game starred an Italian who loved to jump.The game itself, while gorgeous despite occasional technical hiccups, also doesn’t quite look like a Nintendo Mario game. There’s a plastic, toyish quality to the visuals, almost like the old Donkey Kong Country but with much higher fidelity. It adds to the sense that this is a very shiny and lovely fake, like those Hollywood-aping 1970s grindhouse movies shot throughout pastoral Europe. The most memorable music is loving orchestral covers of classic Mario tracks, exquisite but imitations.The generic text boxes might not look as lovely. They almost seem like unfinished placeholders. But the words within them are chef’s kiss sublime in how bizarre they are in a Mario context. After you get past the initial shock of reading light cursing in a Mario game (ah, the French) you’ll begin to notice the deeper shock of how weirdly heightened and dramatic the dialogue is. Bowser Jr. threatens you with oblivion as your robot helper companion Beep-0 compares you to the Greek sex god Aphrodite. And that’s before the fully sung Italian opera boss fight.Oh, and don’t forget that this is the Mario game where all the cartoon kids mascots have guns, which is the most fever dream bootleg Mario thing of all. Just watch this trailer (with it’s bootleg AC/DC muzak) again.More cynically, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle‘s non-Nintendo status can also be seen in its business model. While Nintendo has dabbled with season passes in huge games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, extra DLC after the fact is Ubisoft’s bread and butter. So of course this game is already preparing to sell you more content going into 2018, content I’m already willing to begrudgingly purchase because I like the game so much.Ubisoft should be shocked and grateful this game has any good will at all thanks to surprisingly fantastic showings after weeks of eyebrow-raising and expectation-lowering rumors and leaks. I hope they don’t greedily squander it with typical big video game publisher BS. At preview events Nintendo reps would always stress how this is a Ubisoft game and now I get why.Regardless, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is an incredible, beautiful tactics game that’s accessible without sacrificing unique strategic depth. But it’s also a fascinating example of what happens when the zany but conservative Nintendo opens up its world-famous franchises to someone else’s interpretation. It’s like those guest animator openings on recent Simpsons episodes. We’ll be getting a proper official weird Mario on Nintendo Switch later this year with Super Mario Odyssey, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a great bootleg Mario, too.Want to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch.Buy it now!The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildNintendo SwitchProtect Your Nintendo Switch With These Awesome CasesView as: One Page Slides1/61. Mario and the Raving Rabbids have joined forces to make a promising video game.2. Rabbid bosses put weird spins on classic Mario iconography.3. This turn-based strategy game resembles classics like X-COM.4. I’m very excited for this game.5. The surprisingly vast amount of movement and combat options really lets you plan out elaborate strategies. 6. Bizarre premise aside, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is shaping up to be a fun, deep, beautiful tactics game for Nintendo Switch.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.