Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is a game that defies expectation. It was officially announced at the Ubisoft E3 press conference on Monday night, though its existence was leaked well before that.

It’s a game that many struggled to believe could possibly exist. A collaborative RPG made by Ubisoft and Nintendo that combined the worlds of both Mario and the Rabbids. Even after having seen the game with my own eyes I still struggle to believe that it’s real.

It’s a collaboration that also brings an entirely new gameplay element to both Mario and Rabbids. Kingdom Battle is an RPG through and through. You can see that in glimpses. The way Mario & crew move through the world evokes classic JRPGs. Items and equipment have stats.

It’s Kingdom Battle’s combat system that is a radical departure for both franchises. Here, combat takes the form of a turn-based, strategy RPG. Crossing a set of black flags thrusts Mario and his party into XCOM style combat.

Using cover is important in Kingdom Battle. Movement is vital. Planning your strategies, utilising your party members’ special abilities and combining to perform special attacks and combos can help turn battles in your favour.

It’s like no other Mario or Rabbids game, basically.

Battles are highly tactical affairs. Battlegrounds are designed with strategy in mind, allowing players to make use of multiple possible approaches. Flanking enemies grants bonuses and players will be able to position their characters by using cover, the environment or by using a mechanic called Team Jump – which can extend the movement of one party member by moving them into another.

Characters will also be able to employ a variety of special moves – gluing enemies in place, freezing their face to stop them performing their own special moves, setting them on fire and causing them to panic and spread the fire to their other teammates. There are a lot of options to choose from in Kingdom Battle. Far more than simply running towards and enemy and jumping on their head.

It’s turn-based strategy with a Mario-esque presentation. It’s bright, colourful and cheerful, filled with characters that are bursting with personality in a world full of charm, wit and wonder.

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle launches exclusively for Switch on August 29, 2017.