A new Mario RPG is coming, and it's a crossover with Ubisoft's Rabbids franchise.
When I read that sentence back in my head, my inner voice sounds defeated and weary – as if I've just told my children that Armageddon is over, Satan is our new King, and the blasted wasteland that was once Earth will never again know a green sprout or a fresh drop of water.
OK, for real though – I'm honestly not that bothered by Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. I am not a fan of the Rabbids, mind; their energetic personalities (i.e. their tendency to act like radioactive rabbits fed exclusively on a diet of liquid sugar and coffee) wore on me super fast.
I get why kids like them, though. Kids like screaming, they like farts, and they like breaking things. I've been told Rabbids are hugely popular, especially in Europe. I can't find any data to back this up, but given how many games the bug-eyed bedlam-makers star in, I have no problem believing it.
So I'll continue to eye Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle as it develops, but if it ultimately proves to be too childish, I'll shrug, remind myself Nintendo is trying to expand its brand power with the younger crowd, and go play Super Mario Odyssey (which admittedly contains hat-wearing rabbits, but no hat-wearing Rabbids. Learn the difference. It may save your life).
I want to take a second and address one of the promotional pictures for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, though. It contains a line-up of the game's eight playable characters: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, and their Rabbid doppelgangers. Each character has a descriptor above them, e.g. Mario is "The Leader," Luigi is "The Eagle Eye," and Yoshi is "The Explosive Head" (? Not sure what that's about).
Princess Peach's description is the one that caught my eye, though: "The Badass Princess."
First, I wondered "How long is Nintendo going to let the word 'badass' remain in a promotional image gearec towards kids?" Then I thought, "Does Princess Peach even count as a badass? She's more of a … 'Constantly Kidnapped-ass Princess."
Personally, I'd rank Super Mario Galaxy's Rosalina as the Mario universe's #1 Badass Princess. Heck, I'd rank her as the Mario universe's #1 badass, period. I'm pretty sure she's capable of killing galaxies before breakfast and creating new ones after lunch. She took a trip across the universe on a comet and subsisted almost exclusively on candy. If Rosalina wasn't benevolent, Mario would be in serious trouble.
Daisy gets my vote for #2 Badass Princess. She doesn't have Rosalina's world-ending powers, but she could thrash my ass in any sport of her choosing. I get winded when I go downstairs to fetch the mail, but I still wouldn't refuse a sporting challenge from Princess Daisy. She'd probably give me a swirlie if I turned her away.
Peach, though? "Peach" and "Badass" just don't compute in my mind. Not at first.
See, I had a serious discussion with my husband about the issue. He believes Peach lets herself get kidnapped every so often just to get away from her Courtiers: Her retainers, her handmaidens, and the smothering Toadsworth. It makes sense. I guess if I had to listen to a mushroom-man "Tally ho!" and "Pip pip!" all day, I'd speed-dial Bowser every so often and ask if I could crash at his place for a while. ("'How long?' Oh, just 'til Mario picks me up. The usual.")
The original Super Mario RPG certainly indicates Peach has a thirst for adventure that she's forced to wrest out of her guardians' grasp. She also had no problem stepping up to the plate in Super Mario Bros 2, New Super Mario Bros U, or Super Mario 3D World.
I suppose voluntarily slipping away from the responsibilities of running a kingdom isn't easy. Despite her title, Princess Daisy doesn't seem to have any responsibilities fitting of royalty (or she doesn't care), and Rosalina – well, she's the Queen of the Universe. She can do what she wants.
When you scratch away at Peach's fuzzy exterior, you find someone who's far less helpless than her bewildered "Ohhh did I wiiiiin?" Smash Bros victory quote lets on. Maybe a woman who keeps Toads under her dress for self-defense is worthy of being called a "badass."
Rosalina can will Peach out of existence by snapping her fingers, though, so she's still the Mario universe's #1 A+ badass.
Featured Midboss of the Week
My first Zelda game was Zelda II: The Adventure of Link. I played it in the early '90s, and I hate Ironknuckles now as much as I did when I was 11. These deadly palace guards are the perfect picture of insecurity: They're covered from head to toe in plate armor, but they still carry an impenetrable shield that they flip up and down as eagerly as a magician flips a trick coin. Landing a hit on an Ironknuckle is arguably one of Zelda II's most consistent challenges, especially since those iron-dipped jerkwads soak up a lot of damage.
Your best hope for victory is to jump and attack at the same time, like a weird tunic-clad velociraptor. Majestic.
The only thing worse than Ironknuckle is its horse-mounted counterpart, Rebonack. He flies into the fray suddenly, without so much a how-do-you-do (or at least a glimpse of a ceiling-curtain to alert you to the seriousness of the impending fight). Once you kick him off his stupid hover-horse, he becomes a regular blue Ironknuckle. But that's like saying "Once you shave off a lion's mane, it becomes a regular pissed-off cougar." Blue Ironknuckles fling a hail of sharp projectiles at you in addition to defending themselves with a shield that's thicker and sturdier than the lead lining Yucca Mountain.
By the way, the projectiles Link fires from his sword when he's at full health are utterly useless against Ironknuckles of all colors. The projectiles from a blue Ironknuckle's sword, however, can turn Link into a pincushion. Gee whiz, I don't understand how an unarmored elf-boy's encounter with an iron-plated warrior could go so terribly wrong.