Initial word of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battleâ€™s greatness came not from critics but from those who pre-ordered this unlikely crossover.
Being a bank holiday in the UK, many gamers received the Switchâ€™s latest big hit a few days early, leading to a waft of positive first impressions on the likes of Twitter.
The review embargo has now ended, and critics are almost entirely in agreement that this turn-based tactical shooter is surprisingly great.
Ubisoft, with a little help from Nintendo, has managed to make a wonderfully goofy adventure. It isnâ€™t quite as polished as a first party title, hence the majority of review scores clocking in at 8/10, but itâ€™s mighty close.
See for yourself:
Recommended â€“ Eurogamer: “This wonky crossover is the unlikely source of a superbly designed tactical combat challenge as well as a charmingly silly adventure”
5/5 â€“ Time: “It’s wacky, boisterous and absolutely gorgeous”
9/10 â€“ Pocket Gamer: “Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is a gorgeous, amusing, and challenging turn-based strategy that’s easily the best exclusive on Nintendo Switch so far. I’m just as surprised as you are”
4.5/5 â€“ Slant Magazine: “More than an attempt to cash in on the Super Mario Bros. and Raving Rabbids franchises, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is one of the most creative turn-based tactical games in years”
4.5/5 â€“ US Gamer: “This is a legitimately great strategy experience, tailored toward the sensibilities of Nintendo and the capabilities of the Nintendo Switch. It’s a charming adventure for Mario, and the Rabbids don’t get in the way, even if they don’t necessarily add much either”
9/10 â€“ Nintendo Life: “It’s perfectly acceptable to be surprised by Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, as many have been since its E3 reveal. The end result delivers on all of the potential that we could suddenly see back in June; even if you don’t actually like the Rabbids, this game – and its familiar Mario cast and setting – is so good that Ubisoft’s mascots are likeable. Well, almost”
9/10 â€“ GameSpot: “It’s a consistent delight, no matter how challenging the road becomes, because Kingdom Battle’s unique turn-based tactics system is in every way a pleasure to engage with”
85/100 â€“ VentureBeat: “The Switch has “had a great debut year, and Mario + Rabbids is another excellent, if unexpected, addition to its software library
8.5 â€“ GameInformer: “I was as skeptical as anyone when I heard the words â€œMarioâ€ and â€œXCOMâ€ uttered in the same sentence, but Kingdom Battle didnâ€™t just prove me wrong â€“ it ended up being my favorite Mario game in recent years”
4/5 â€“ GamesRadar: “Mario + Rabbids gives you the action and strategy of XCOM in a way that does justice both to Mario and to the Rabbidâ€™s kooky style. Ubiâ€™s big E3 surprise is an unmissable Switch game”
8.0 â€“ Polygon: “While it doesnâ€™t quite have the full layer of spit and polish of an in-house title, Ubisoft comes damn close to capturing that Nintendo magic”
7.7 â€“ IGN: “Mario + Rabbids’ turn-based tactics gameplay has some great ideas that distinguish it from its inspiration”
7.5 â€“ Destructoid: “Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle’s guts are impressive, but its main event feels like a [good] expansion for a fleshed-out strategy RPG that has more to offer than a great combat system”
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is out tomorrow (29th August) on Switch.