Mario + Rabbids Figures Are Likely To Be Unsuccessful

This is a challenging article to write because I rarely am critical of Nintendo or of a product idea that hasn’t been released.  I much prefer to review something that I can buy and properly evaluate.  However, there is a new product line coming out that has Nintendo figures in it and I think is worth talking about both positively and negatively.  One of the odder Nintendo news stories from E3 has been of the Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle video game.  Rumored for weeks and while seeming believable, there is also an element that I think a lot of Nintendo fans didn’t want to believe.  The Rabbids used to be pretty fun for me anyway.  I played the first Rabbids game on Wii and really liked it.  I always wanted to play another game in the series and just never got around to it and the review scores slowly declined with each release too.  There have been a lot of games since then and Ubisoft have tried to turn it into a franchise with middling results.  In the US, there is and has been Rabbids fatigue for some time and the franchise has certainly lost some of its luster.  That Nintendo would let their characters join the Rabbids who are kind of the antithesis, if not the exact opposite of what makes Nintendo great (for example, toilet humor, mindless violence towards each other).  As time went on, the rumors have proven to be true and while it will be interesting to see how good the video game is and how well it sells, there is one thing I will go out on a limb and make a prediction about.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Ubisoft is making Nintendo themed Rabbids figures.  Initially people thought that these figures were Amiibo and we were seeing another third party release like Shovel Knight but that rumor has proven to be false.  This may be a relief to some Nintendo collectors (one less thing to buy) but I think Nintendo may have known what they were doing passing on making Amiibo for this game.  The figures Ubisoft is making seem unlikely to appeal to Nintendo fans because they fail to capture the essence of what makes Nintendo great and instead use Nintendo characters and images as a “skin” or costume to be thrown over the Rabbids license.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Peach Figure

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Luigi Figure

Even worse, the new figures are trying to use things that are hip and cool (or at least were hip and cool a few years ago, whether they still are is beyond the scope of this article) which is not something Nintendo does either.  For example, “Peach” Rabbid taking a selfie and Luigi running with headphones.  The real Nintendo characters would never do this and it fails to grasp or use anything that makes Nintendo great.  The Yoshi figure is another great example, why does the Rabbid have a Yoshi costume and a Bowser Jr. gun?  It makes little sense and the poor use of Nintendo characters and art assets is likely to rub many Nintendo fans the wrong way.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Yoshi Figure

The bigger issue for many collectors will be the price.  The small 3″ inch figures cost $20 which you can nearly get two non-Zelda Amiibo for.  The 6″ is a whopping $40 and has the nicer black base you see in the pictures throughout this article but is even more overpriced.  These prices are really high for a non-articulated figure at that size and that will also be likely to scare collectors off.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Mario Figure

Nintendo has been very protective of their franchises and characters after some missteps early on in their history and both this game and letting Ubisoft create these figures is as big of a leap as I can remember them taking in years.  While I think some Nintendo fans will buy and like these figures.  I suspect the majority will not and these figures will not sell well.  If the game does not look better or play better than the figures do than Nintendo may ultimately end up regretting letting Ubisoft have the license for this game.  We have seen Nintendo try to crossover before like with the Skylanders figures made for Donkey Kong and Bowser which also were not a huge hit with Nintendo fans overall but this seems like a worse move and will be even less successful in my opinion.  That isn’t to say that I’m down on Nintendo or worried about an experiment like this.  It was a gamble that might pay off for Nintendo financially.  They just need to be careful that it doesn’t hurt their overall brands in the long run.

Those are my thoughts on these new Nintendo figures and even with my lack of excitement towards these figures, maybe if they go on sale, I’ll pick one up and review them at some point.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on these new figures or even this game as it is quite an unusual one in Nintendo’s library.  Please comment below and join in the conversation!

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9 comments

  1. Great analysis as usual! I won’t be buying them, but I can see how they will appeal to younger audiences. I don’t know… amiibos have been so successful it wouldn’t surprise me to see those sell spectacularly well.

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    • Thanks Matt! I think you make a good point about appealing to younger audience. The Rabbids are often compared to the Minions which are very popular with kids. It will be interesting to see what happens with these for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never played a Rabbids game before, so the taboo-ness of merging the two franchises is completely lost on me. All I know is that when seeing some footage here and there for the new game coming out, it made me feel… uncomfortable? I can’t quite put my finger on it, but seeing those iconic traits on ugly little beasts didn’t sit well. Seeing it in stillframe in your photos seems to make it worse. It’s making me want to avoid the game, and obviously especially the figures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the uncomfortable-ness is something many of us are feeling and I tried to lay out some of the reasons why in this article (hopefully successfully)! I’m just surprised that Nintendo is letting a franchise that is so different use their characters however they want. Maybe Nintendo is desperate to get third party support and this was what Ubisoft wanted to be on the Switch. We’ll possibly never know but it will be interesting to see what impact it has on Nintendo fans and how this game does even if it sounds like neither you nor I have any interest!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rabbids definitely seem to appeal to the younger kids more, and joining up with Mario I think will sell game copies, but collectibles? Not sure who the target market would be, since kids aren’t buying collectibles. Either way, they look pretty cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would have to agree, Geddy. Ubisoft is making an interesting bet that collectors or kids with deep pockets will buy these figures up. I’ll be interested to see how these sell and what the reaction is when they come out!

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  4. I personally have preordered Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (but not the figures). I’m actually very excited and optimistic for this game. I think it has a lot of wit and charm to it, and that it’s a labor of love on Ubisoft’s part, not just some random slapping together of franchises. However, I do agree that these figures wo’t sell very well, but only because they’re not amiibo. I’d buy all four of them if they were amiibo. However, I don’t see any value in the figures themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MasterHand4444,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and it is funny, since I wrote this article, I’ve heard a lot of praise from people who have either seen or played the game. I’m starting to wonder if one day this opinionated article will look foolish, especially if that game becomes a big hit!

      With that said, I’m really glad you shared your opinion and that it is a total counterpoint to mine. I want this site to be a place where all Nintendo fans can come and share their thoughts with each other respectfully and you did that well. While I still feel that the figures won’t sell well (especially because of their price), it would no longer shock me like when I wrote the article and was convinced this whole thing was a bad idea!

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