The game’s story features both single-player and two-player local cooperative play, in which players lead a team of three heroes – Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and Yoshi from the Mario franchise, and four Rabbids dressed as the former – through a series of worlds, with the characters wielding laser-based guns to defeat opponents. Each stage of a world consist of a series of battles that must be completed to make progress in the story. While exploration is possible outside of battle within each world, some areas cannot be accessed until the player either solve a puzzle or backtracks later upon acquiring new abilities to interact with the environment (such as being able move blocks). Exploration includes the ability to pick up coins in the world, and opening chest containing items that can be used in battles or be viewed later, most requiring a puzzle to be completed, though jumping is not present in the game, meaning that players must walk where it is possible and use white warp pipes to get around between some areas.
Combat is done in a turn-based format, with each side taking it in turns to move around the battlefield and take shots at an opponent. During the heroes’ turn, players can choose which character to move first, and move them anywhere within their maximum movement range, whereupon the character may then target and shoot at an opponent who is in range of them. The game features cover which reduces the chance of being hit – some cover reduces it to 50%, while others reduce it to zero – as well as damage taken, depending on which way the target is facing their attacker; both sides can flank their opponents who are using cover, while cover itself can be destroyed in later battles. In addition to using weapons, both characters and enemies can also use special abilities to aid them in battle, including the ability to increase their defense or healing any damage received, amongst other abilities, which have a cooldown period before they can be used again. Players also later unlock the means for characters to move further by being propelled by another character, and being able to damage enemies by making a character dash into them while moving to another spot in the battlefield.
After the player makes some progress in the story, they will be able to access Peach’s castle, which acts as a hub from where the player can change which characters they have in their team, purchase additional models of weapons, look at collectibles found during their game, and revisit any world they accessed, from the start of any stage that has been completed; additional parts of the hub area become available as the player makes progress in the story. New weapons, which varying in stats, can be purchased for characters when they become available, with coins earned from exploration, battles, and from how the player they clears each stage; the better a player does in each battle, the better the rank given for a cleared stage. It is possible to unlock weapons using various Amiibo figurines from the Mario series. In addition to weapons, players can also improve characters by purchasing new skills through a skill tree, using skill points earned from battles, upon reaching a certain stage in the game.