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What’s in Your Box: Norf Norf

/ Sep 2nd, 2017 No Comments

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Each week, we here at Gaming Illustrated are always playing a number of different video games. However, we may not be talking about them in reviews or editorials. That doesn’t mean they aren’t worth talking about, but for any number of reasons an avenue to speak on them doesn’t come up. To remedy the issue, we’re going to ask our staff (and you, honestly) what’s in your box?

What’s in Greg’s Box

Oh is it box time again? Better straighten up my suit, get the teabags out of the way and here we go!

It’s all about Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle this week. Whatever dark god Ubisoft sacrificed to should be the new diety of gaming because boy did it deliver.

Gameplay is easy to learn but hard to master, and the difficulty will test the mettle of even long-time X-Com fans. Sure it’s got a far more light-hearted feel to it with Mario and Rabbids meeting for the first time, but that doesn’t change the amount of tactical expertise required to beat this game.

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

I’ve heard their sense of sight is based entirely on movement… so let’s just die here.

That’s not meant to dissuade the casual gamer, but merely warn: do not let this game’s colorful exterior (and amazing score by one Grant Kirhope) hide the beast underneath.

On top of it all, there’s plenty of co-op missions that can be played locally, challenges to go back and best and even customization of weapons as well as skill points for each playable character. What’s most important to note is that challenges are not simply for bragging rights, they unlock more skill points thus allowing players to more easily progress through the core game.

Finally PAX prep, and now PAX West 2017 itself, have occupied the better part of my week so without further ado, take it away Kalvin!

What’s in Kalvin’s Box

I’m writing this week’s box as I drive up to Seattle for the weekend to check out PAX West. I am going to see some cool stuff that I’ll obviously tell you about later. PAX West is my favorite conference mainly because it’s for the people.

As an event designed for the public, the organizers actually have the logistics figured out to accomodate the large crowds, which is something E3 will have to learn if they plan to keep selling tickets to the public going forward.

More than being set up for a lot of people, PAX West feels like a party. Everyone is jazzed to be there even if they haven’t showered or put on deoderant. The cosplay is wonderful, and it is about the games. Everything you want in a conference.

I’ve been playing some games though, so let’s talk about my box this week. This week I tried out some wacky fun in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. Oh, and I continued my journey in Pyre.

Rabbids are Minions for Dweebs

I never thought I’d live to see the day I’d be excited for a Rabbids game yet here we are. When I first saw Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle it didn’t leave a huge impression on me. It wasn’t until I thought about and I realized I am totally here for Mario X-Com.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle technically shouldn’t work. The Rabbids are the OG Minions, which is worrisome. Luckily, the Mario influence helps temper the outright wackiness of the Rabbids. Hell the reason for the Rabbids getting into the Mushroom Kingdom is pretty cool.

Basically, this whiz kid inventor creates a machine that can merge two items together except it doesn’t quite work right. When she heads away from her desk, the Rabbids invade in their dimensional washing machine and cause havoc.

Mario + Rabbids Battle Kingdom

Mario + Rabbids Battle Kingdom is a clever blend of two seemingly incompatible franchises.

One of the Rabbids uses the merge visor and starts transforming the Rabbids into these wild Rabbids hybrids. Before someone can stop the madness, the Rabbids and the inventor’s companion robot get sucked into a portal to the Mushroom Kingdom. Okay, maybe it is fairly far fetched, but hardly the most inane reason for a mash-up.

Premise aside, the gameplay hits all those tactical X-Com erogenous zones complete with turn-based cover combat and strategy. You get eased into the mechanics, but once you get a bit deeper into the first world, you learn hey smarten up or get wiped out. What really was striking about the gameplay was the mobility. It absolutely creates vibrancy and danger to combat.


It’s been a bit slow going in my journey with Pyre. I play it when I get a free moment and usually move forward a couple Rites at a time. This isn’t to say I’m not into the game, whenever I play I find it hard to tear myself away. It just work usually beckons, and I have to force myself to stop.

Pyre continually surprises me in terms of the depth of its gameplay and the scope of its story. At a certain point before the final Rite, you meet the mysterious benefactor of the Nightwings. Needless to say, you get a lot more illumination on some of the finer points of the Rites and why he has been guiding you along your journey.

It isn’t all smiles and hug when you finally run into this benefactor. He has bad news for you and your party. Honestly, he is a bit of a bummer. Regardless of the quality of the news, it is good to have full disclosure.


Pyre’s mainstay sport in the Rites is deceptively complex.

Sorry to spoil it, but the final Rite isn’t the fina Rite. One thing your benefactor makes clear is only one whose achieved enlightenment can go free from the final Rite. Sadly, it is the unenviable duty of yours to choose which party member will gain their freedom. It is a hard choice, but the hope is eventually you’ll all gain your freedom one day.

The more you play Pyre’s magical soccer/ruby/basketball, the harder it gets. It is more than running the orb to the pyre. The deeper stratgies of team make-up, talismans, passive skills, and evasive manuvers become super important. If you’re not thinking ahead then the opposing team will easily steamroll you.

While victory isn’t singularly important as your journey continues regardless. Nothing feels as good as winning.

Pyre is fantastic. It is a rare game that continues to get richer over time like a good soup broth.

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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