Hi I’m Daisy!
Mario Kart is nothing new to the Nintendo console, traveling all the way from the SNES to make it to Nintendo’s newest console, the Wii U. As the years have gone by, each game has had their own change to the system that made the game unique from the last, whether it be two racers in each kart, or being able to race with people online. Of course, Mario Kart 8 is no exception. There are many things that make Mario Kart 8 one of the best Mario Karts yet, and exactly what the Wii U needed, so read on! The main feature shown off when Mario Kart 8 was first shown was the new Anti-Gravity mode. Racers can now race up walls, even upside down, to travel towards the finish line. For the player, it is seamless, as the camera moves with you as you travel in all directions. Of course, most features from past games make their way into the adventure. You can use your gliders to glide across the sky, use your propeller to travel under the water, and online play is back better than ever. Online play has all the features present from Mario Kart 7, including racing worldwide, regional, with friends, and in tournaments. Of course, two new features make online play great, which are Nintendo Network abilities and the ability for two local players to play on online at once. The online play is great, and I’ve experienced no lag while playing online. I’ve also had the chance to play a lot of local multiplayer, even going to a local tourney at a Gamestop. It was a lot of fun, even if I did come in second place. To an eight year old. Yeah.
Coins are back once again, having the same function as in 7, unlocking new kart pieces. Coins are also easier to collect than ever, with the ability to have four local players play in a Grand Prix as once. It’s a very welcome feature that makes playing with friends more fun than ever. Speaking of the Grand Prix, there are once again eight, totaling 32 tracks in total. As usual, 16 of those tracks are new, and 16 are returning from older installments. As for the new stages, every single one of them are fun and unique and do not fail to impress… of course except for the one that SHOULD impress the player. The new Rainbow Road, while visually pleasing, is somewhat of a bore, especially compared to the amazing remake of Mario Kart 64’s Rainbow Road. Like the new stages, the remakes are all fantastic, with just enough new features mixed in while still keeping the nostalgia of the courses.
Speaking of the visuals, it’s not just the new Rainbow Road… it’s the whole game. Mario Kart 8 is definitely the most visually impressive Mario Kart game yet, and even one of the most visually impressive games on the Wii U. My first few hours with the game were spent muttering how beautiful the game looked, and it’s no lie. The only time I noticed any drop in framerate was when I was playing locally with three others, and even then, it was barely noticeable. The music was also amazing, which were all recorded live with real instruments. The whole experience is very memorable, and will be for years to come.
Another great feature is the new Mario Kart TV, which is built right into the game. After each race, Mario Kart TV will put together a video of some of the best moments of the face, and you can customize it even further than that. You can have it focus on up to four players, choose which sounds are heard, choose how much action is shown, and even decide how long the collaboration is. The best feature however, is the ability to upload up to sixty seconds of the action straight up to YouTube, right from the game. It’s a great feature, and I used it earlier today to race against a Nintendo ghost! Check it out!
While many things in Mario Kart 8 stand tall, there are others that fall flat. Battle mode is now a shell of it’s former self, for it uses actual racetracks as battle stages, instead of smaller, more compact battlefields. It’s not terrible- but when there are only a few people left, it can be very hard to find others. Something else I was surprised to not see in the game is ability to let one player use the gamepad, and another use the TV. With this ability, it could have been possible for five players to play at once, as seen in Sonic: All-Stars Racing Transformed. While it’s not a necessary feature, it’s very surprising not to see. Another missing feature is the ability to place the map on the TV; only gamepad users can see the map. But hey, Nintendo has patched other games, we could possibly see these features added in the future. Yet, the great features outshine the missing features, so I happily give this game 4.5 Wiimotes out of 5!
Final Verdict: 4.5/5
Available on: Wii U (reviewed) ; Publisher: Nintendo; Developer: Nintendo; Players: 1-4; Released: May 30th, 2014; ESRB: E; MSRP: $59.99
This review is based on a retail copy of Mario Kart 8 purchased by Hey Poor Player.