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Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

Biggest Surprise
Second Place
Third Place


Prior to release of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, the idea of a Mario and Rabbids crossover was an utter farce. Perhaps the most surprising thing about the game is not that it turned out to be an absolute blast, but that the mashup somehow feels completely natural. The off-kilter zaniness of the Rabbids proves to be the perfect match for the Mario series' characters. Everything from a Rabbid version of Donkey Kong and the hilarious Rabbid Princess Peach who accompanies Mario, to a Rabbid ghost boss who mockingly sings about Mario's inability to say anything beyond "it's a me" and "let's go," allows the series to blend charmingly. The game's world is simply teeming with glorious visual gags, and the fact that most characters pantomime and only a select few actually talk is used to great comedic effect as well.

Of course the world and story being great would be for nothing if the actual game wasn't very fun to play. Kingdom Battle takes a simpler version of XCOM-style combat, matching it with all the aforementioned charm in a wonderfully fun package that provides a good amount of challenge as well. All the characters have their own skillsets and weapons to give players a great variety of ways to tackle battles. By the end of the game, Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle has not only not worn out its welcome, but it leaves you wanting more of this glorious crossover with its fun tactical gameplay.

Who would have guessed that a game about misfits fighting for their own salvation in a revved-up version of basketball would be such a hit? Let's be real for a second, Supergiant Games crafts unique RPGs with both inspiring worlds and unique gameplay elements, but Pyre in particular stands out as being one of the most ambitious games out there. If you gel with the sports-RPG hybrid that it is, Pyre makes for a super rewarding experience with characters you come to love and care about. Playing Pyre felt fresh and frenetic, making it one of the biggest surprises in 2017.

Final Fantasy Dimensions II wasn't a game I was really paying attention to, but we'd discussed it enough times on the RPGCast that I'd promised to pick it up and play it — just to rip on it give some impressions on the game. For the North American release, the gacha mechanics and energy meters were removed, making for a smooth gameplay experience with no waiting or throwing money at the app and hoping for the best; it's a one-time purchase with everything included. What I wasn't expecting was a charming story with compelling characters, fun gameplay, interesting combat mechanics, and wonderful music, all knitted together into an addictive package that can be played for five minutes or five hours. All of the characters have their own abilities, but there's enough overlap that you can mix and match characters to find the party you like the best, whether you want to focus on massive AE magic damage, picking off enemies one-by-one with strong single target attacks or doing a bit of both. By the time my 56(!!!) hours with the game — main story, post-game, and extra episodes — were complete, I was in love! Can I have a Final Fantasy Dimensions III soon, pretty please?

by Michael Apps, Sam Wachter, Anna Marie Privitere


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