Even though my time with Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle has been scattershot since I first started playing it, my sessions with the game have been wonderful. Giving credit where credit is due, that’s thanks in large part to its incredible soundtrack. I can’t say that in all my years with Mario and Mario-ish games that any given soundtrack was a particular draw. Sure, I really like the “Underground” theme from Super Mario World; and sure, it’s probably more notable to my ears when a musical theme in a game sounds out of place; but Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle marks the first time I ever sought out a Mario or Mario-ish game’s soundtrack on its own. Composed by Grant Kirkhope, the soundtrack to this game is amazing in scope and quality. It has plenty of expected zany musical moments, but it’s also sweet and eerie and forceful. And sometimes it combines multiple elements into a single tune that sounds typical but is far from it, such as with this Resonance pick: “Mid Boss Mayhem.”
Just like with any good soundtrack, the one for Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle plays plenty upon a various themes. The good guys – Mario and his crew — have their own music, and so do the bad guys – the Rabbids that are creating havoc. One might then expect there to be a general battle theme that plays while, well…battling. But this soundtrack contains a few different battle themes, and “Mid Boss Mayhem” might just be the wackiest and most enjoyable of them all.
In the game, mid-bosses appear, as one would expect, in the middle of any given world. In addition to just being another battle, they help break up the rhythm of the game in a good way. After plodding through smaller arenas, the mid-boss battles helped me hone my team’s skills and try out new tactics. This musical theme signaled a change in thought and mood. While it sounds like it’s taking the player on a madcap jaunt into a cartoony civilization (which…I mean…have you seen the game?), it’s a driven and focused song, one that says prepare to fight! in the best kind of way.
“Mid Boss Mayhem” somehow also manages to be silly and serious. The generous and speedy use of woodwinds, brass, and percussion (especially that xylophone!) throughout the first two-thirds of the song make it sound epically wild, like something that would accompany a cartoon car chase. It then dives into a quieter, almost serene melody for just a moment before it build back up to the finale. That odd moment of respite lends solemn weight to a tune that could easily fly off into the stratosphere. It ends as swiftly as it started – in with a bang! and out with a bang!, as it were, much like with the actual battles in the game.
This is also the kind of song that invokes the thought of haven’t’ I heard this before? The thing is, yes, you probably have. I know I have in mindless movies, crazy cartoons, and while waiting in line to ride roller coaster. It’s the kind of composition in which you can hear dozen of other songs, if you listen closely enough. In it I hear shades of Banjo-Kazooie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Nightmare Before Christmas, countless Mickey Mouse cartoons, and even a little Star Wars. Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a game that’s all about mashing things together, from everyday objects to entire universes. The game’s music, and “Mid Boss Mayhem,” in particular, represents that notion brilliantly; and just like with the accident that started the game, whether to meant to or not.