As we all know the first game on the Nintendo Switch to feature Grant Kirkhope's work is Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle. I want to firstly make a quick comparison between this and Snake Pass which featured David Wise's talents. Both Grant and David are masters of their musical craft, it seems UBIsift possibly took one step that Sumo DIgital did not. To me it feels that UBIsoft at certain stages of development asked Grant for his feedback on the overall project. Also Grant's music is just not one layer on the game. It is integrated with so many other parts of the game. The backgrounds move in time with the music, the sound effects are designed to fit in with the game's musical themes and not clash. The music describes the areas of the game as much as the visuals do. You can close your eyes and just listen and you know your in a whatever themed area just be listening alone.
Also the game is the basic hub world and stages (from what I've played so far), something Grant has had decades of experience perfecting.
This is where I feel Sumo Digital failed. Snake Pass's music is great but it's not as integrated into the core experience of the game as it could have been. Of cause smaller studios don't have the budgets to accomodate too much but they could have at least asked David to do a quick play through of a beta build and get his feedback. Sure David was only down for the music but when you have someone like this helping on your project, you would be quite silly not to ask them for a little general feedback as well. I don't care how good a development team thinks it is, more expert feedback is always a good thing. Try to get as much of it as your budget and timeframe allows.
Past Grant Kirkhope's role in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, I think UBIsoft deserve a little praise here too. Mostly UBIsoft don't put out very good games. Their reputation of being rather average as a development studio is well deserved. However this time they really out did themselves. Hired in the right people, had the right frame of mind, worked out early on what this game would be about and just got the job done and remembered to polish, polish and polish some more as the Playtonic team have as their core mantra.
UBIsoft being typical UBIsoft marketed this game in the worst way possible. From the initial leak of this around the time the NX became the Nintendo Switch to the shoddy first few pictures shown by UBIsoft almost everyone, myself included thought that this would be just another terrible rabbids game. Shovelware that should not even have been made. I am honestly surprised that the pulic have warmed to this game after all that. A total 180 from hating this totally, to some calling it one of the best Switch games yet released. UBIsoft's marketing team really need to pick up their game. The pre-release hype train is an inportant thing to correctly manage.
Would I recommend this game?
On sale I think it's a instant buy.
At full price, it's still niche. The game wears "quirky spinoff" on its chest proudly. Not everyone will like what this game is so I would totally check it out. So at full price I say maybe. Worth checking out though.
The Collectors Edition?
That's not an instant buy for fans of the game. If you live in the USA, the price is low enough to make it an easy buy. Outside the US where the price is significantly higher, it's not so straight forward. If the statue was not included then it's be a better buy. Also there's no artbook unfortunately. An art book of this game would have been a great inclusion. The star of the collectors edition though is the Grant Kirkhope soundtrack. Is it worth being forced to get all the other extras as well? Arguably not if the soundtrack becomes officially available elsewhere.