Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 05/30/14 | Genre: Driving
Mario Kart 8, for the Wii U, continues the tradition of excellent kart racers from Nintendo. Players begin by selecting a choosing 50cc, 100cc, or 150cc and then selecting a racer. Once the racer is selected, you must then select what type of kart you will use, your wheels, and what type of gliding mechanism you will utilize. By tapping the plus button, you can see the speed, acceleration, and other attributes to better make a decision. I am, however, puzzled why this isn’t on by default.
There are 16 new and 16 retro courses divided up for your enjoyment. Nintendo has done a great job taking the retro courses and making them work with the new elements in Mario Kart 8. Speaking of the new elements, there are portions of the track that you drive over and your wheels flip over into hover mode. I think of this as Nintendo’s attempt at making the Back to the Future car! Roads, where we’re going, we don’t need any roads!
Seriously though, flipping the wheels around allows for your kart to go upside down, around walls, and anywhere between. The only thing more fun is when players dip their toes into the water and go under the sea! Though not realistic in the least, it is darn sure fun.
Visually, seeing Mario Kart 8 in HD is just mind boggling. Sure, we have been in the HD era for a long time. Though Nintendo franchises are just now seeing 720P and higher resolutions, nothing quite brings a smile to your face like Mario’s mustache blowing in the breeze or Luigi giving a “death stare” to his opponent after knocking them out. I fully admit that I didn’t play the other characters because I am partial to the Mario Bros. It is their game after all.
One bizarre element left out is a clock on the Grand Prix races. I may not be the best Mario Kart racer in the world but I have nothing to compare myself to without a clock. Sure, elements that happen during the race can make a good time difficult to obtain. But shouldn’t I be able to see it? Not sure what Nintendo was thinking of here.
Another element I am not very pleased with is the horizontal split screen for two players. I much prefer a vertical slicing of the screen when playing with another and don’t like the lack of a way to change it. Also, why can’t the second player get a full screen when I choose to play off TV as the first player? These may be minor gripes but they take away from an almost perfect experience.
As a whole, Mario Kart 8 is without a doubt, the best entry in the history of the series. The fun and joy each and every race brings to the Wii U makes this a must buy whether you want to play alone, with others on a same-screen cooperative experience, or online against the best in the world. The Wii U has enough software to make the system worthy of a purchase and I highly recommend those who have been on the fence about the Wii U console to use Mario Kart 8 as their jumping point to get a console.
As it stands right now, Mario Kart 8 is my early favorite for Game of the Year.