You can more or less bumble your way through the beginning of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, but things get hard fast — and they stay that way. We struggled until we figured it out. In this guide, we’ll teach you what we learned, using the first challenge in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle — Ancient Gardens: Swarmed! — to illustrate combat strategy.
In short, winning requires you to equip the most useful skills and weapons, plan your attack before your first turn and use what you’ve learned to plan and execute your next moves. We’ll walk you through a single battle chronologically, showing you how to clear a path to victory.
Equipping the most useful skills and secondary weapons
You can’t change weapons or unlock skills in the middle of a fight, so these are things you need to do before you start fighting. Before you enter a fight, press X and enter Battle HQ, where you’ll pick the most useful skills and the best weapons.
Skill tree: picking the best abilities
Throughout Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, you can reset each character’s skill tree back to zero without penalty. Do that often. This way, you can tailor your skills to the fights you’re about to have. In this section, we have tips for buying and unlocking skills.
Unlock all of your team members’ abilities as soon as you can. Each character has a secondary attack and a secondary technique to unlock, and you can increase the damage from things like dash attacks. At the very least, start by unlocking the first tier of all three — Movement, Attack and Technique.
Upgrade the skills that help you the most. Look for things like Mario’s stomp jump, Rabbid Luigi’s vamp dash, or adding additional targets to Rabbid Peach’s slide with stylish dash. Then start beefing them up with additional skills. Rabbid Peach’s skill tree lets you add in more targets in her stylish dash. Mario’s lets you increase how far away you land after stomp jumping. Rabbid Luigi can quickly start dealing huge amounts of damage with his vamp dash.
Don’t ignore your secondary weapons. Your secondary weapons are secondary in name only. They do splash damage, which is nice, but they also tend to be able to ignore cover, which is nicer. For characters other than Mario and Rabbid Mario, the secondary weapons also have a better range than your primary.
Things to think about before your first turn
You can kind of bumble your way through a lot of fights in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, treating each turn as an every-rabbid-for-themselves free-for-all. As long as all of your enemies die (even if your last hero standing falls in the last turn), you win. And that’s a perfectly alright way to play. It won’t work for long, though.
When the fights get tougher (and they will, like when you’re trying to best the challenges that unlock after you clear a world), bumbling through isn’t going to cut it.
Planning is the cure for bumbling. In this section, we’ll teach you how to plan, which is mostly a way of saying, “Here’s a few things to think about, before you charge into battle.”
There’s no time limit. Don’t rush anything. Sometimes, the best move is not the most obvious move, and you’re not going to notice that unless you take a step back and examine the battlefield.
Think about cover first. Everything about a fight in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is designed around being behind cover. Can you get to cover? Can you help a teammate get to cover with team jump? Does taking this cover for Mario leave Rabbid Luigi out in the open? When it comes to cover, there are clear winners. Full blocks are better than half blocks, and metal blocks are better than brick.
The best cover is not always the most obvious cover. When a fight starts, and when you move during a fight, think about where you’re going — and, more importantly, where you’ll be safest. In the Ancient Gardens: Swarmed! challenge, for example, the closest cover is not the best cover. The three large metal blocks a little further away provide much better protection for you.
Look at enemy icons. An icon — a skull with a red X behind it — will appear over an enemy you’re definitely going to kill with your action. Pay attention to these. They’re a quick visual cue for how effective your actions are.
Maximize your kills. Look for an action, or series of actions, that results in the largest number of those icons. If you can’t actually kill any enemies, try to damage as many as you can.
Working together pays off. Try to think of the damage you deal not as damage dealt by each character, but as damage dealt as a team. Look for, seek out or create ways for your heroes to support and help each other. Weaken enemies with one hero and finish them off with another.
Take your first turn
It’s not just the cover system, the turn-based nature or even the involvement of rabbids that makes a battle overwhelming. Between your team’s actions, your enemies’ actions and keeping track of your plan, there’s just a lot to manage. It’s easy to fall into button-mashing and just taking the easiest shot. This is a sure way to lose.
But it’s hard(er) to think of a turn in the broader sense. That’s why we broke down exactly what we did in the first turn of this challenge below.
Forget about order. Another easy trap to fall into is following the (default) order of moving, attacking, then triggering a technique for each character in turn. The game suggests that that order, over and over again. This simple approach works, but makes a fight (counterintuitively) more complicated. Other orders — like, say, sliding before firing your gun — are almost always better.
Before you commit to your very first action, look at all of your options and come up with your plan. In Swarmed!, the obvious first move is to use Mario’s secondary hammer attack. Aiming your attack at the enemy closest to Rabbid Peach will let you take out four enemy rabbids, but it will also damage Rabbid Peach. So, the less obvious, but better thing to do is to get her out of the way first.
Don’t waste damage. Since we’re moving Rabbid Peach first, we’re going to make sure she slides through three enemies on her way to cover (or two in the video above — we’re not perfect). Since we already know which rabbids Mario’s going to take out with his secondary (hammer) attack, we know which ones we don’t need to worry about and which ones to target while moving Rabbid Peach.
Take out some more rabbids with Mario. With Rabbid Peach out of the way and safely behind cover, Mario can deal damage without hurting his teammate. Pick the target that deals the most damage to the largest number of enemies.
Now move Mario. Mario can slide into one rabbid while moving, then use a team jump to stomp another. While deciding which ones to target while moving, you’ve got a couple things to think about: Mario ending up behind cover and your team mates’ remaining actions. This makes the choice pretty obvious — slide into and kill the rabbid farthest away from Rabbid Luigi (this one is also out of range of Rabbid Peach’s primary weapon). Then use Rabbid Luigi for a team jump. You’ve got three options left for rabbids to stomp on, but only one of them will let you land behind cover.
Clean up with Rabbid Luigi. His slide/vampire attack is enough to take out the last two remaining rabbids. Wrap up this turn by moving him behind cover.
The rest of the fight
All three of our characters are safely behind the best cover in the game, and all of our enemies are gone. More enemies will appear in the next phase of the battle, but the coordination we used to eliminate the bad rabbids and take us behind cover puts us in a safe spot. From here, we can avoid attacks and plan our next round of moves.
Start with moving damage first, but return to cover at the end. There are three rabbids right there between Rabbid Peach and Mario and, what do you know, Rabbid Peach can hit three enemies with her stylish dash. You’re not going to kill any of them, but you’re going to weaken them so that the next time they’re hit, they die. At the end of her movement, Rabbid Peach should end up right back where she started.
Use Rabbid Luigi to take out two of them with his slide attack. He can take out two of the weakened rabbids and still return to his cover.
Remember what we said about secondary weapon range? The knot of three rabbids at the far side of the field are out of range for Rabbid Luigi’s primary weapon, but not his secondary. And it deals splash damage. Target the middle one to make sure you maximize your damage and fire.
Clean up the last rabbid. Now, there’s one rabbid left with less than half of its health, and you’ve still got three actions to take — Mario’s primary attack, Mario’s move and Rabbid Peach’s primary attack. Take your pick and win the fight.
So what have we learned?
The biggest lesson we learned playing (and replaying and replaying again) this challenge is to just slow way down. There’s a lot going on in any given turn of a fight, and it really pays off to consider every option available before you do anything.
Rushing through your turns and failing to consider all of your options is a sure way for a battle to get away from you. As obvious as it might be, teamwork is really, really important. Look for (and create) ways for your team to support and enhance each other. Don’t think about the damage each character deals as distinct. Rather, think about ways to increase the total amount of damage you deal on your turn.
Remember: It’s free to completely respec your skill trees at any time, as many times as you want. When you go into your skill tree, you can just hit X to completely wipe out all of the upgrades you have and start from scratch — with all of your power orbs returned to you. Do that. Often. If something’s not working for you, just start over.
Don’t skimp on your secondary weapons. It’s easy to overlook them because they’re not your go-to weapon and they have a cooldown. But they can damage multiple enemies, can ignore cover and have better range. All of those aspects make them essential.