Mario Kart 8 Wii U Game Review

mario kart 8 wii u game

Harder, Better and Faster Than Ever

Nintendo's hit racing game is on the Wii U. Of course, this would not be a complete Mario Kart experience without a zany group of mascots to play as. You are given a pool of 30 to choose from including all seven of Koopa's kids: Iggy, Roy, Morton, Ludwig, Lemmy, Larry and the only girl, Wendy. There's Lakitu, Metal Mario, Pink Gold Peach and a wealth of other favorites. There are DLC characters like Link and Animal Crossing's Villager as well as baby versions of the characters if that's your thing. But no, a big roster is not the only thing great about Mario Kart 8.

Get Ready to Race

mario kart 8 wii u: get ready to race

Once you've picked your driver, you can then assemble a vehicle by picking from several body types, tires and gliders which complement your driving style. It might seem simple but the system is surprisingly deep. You will spend hours toying with different combinations to find out which drives just right. Once you're done finding the perfect blend of grip and speed, you will be drifting like a pro.

It doesn't matter if you like playing solo or you prefer multiplayer races, Mario Kart 8 gives you different ways to play. Hang out with a buddy while playing split-screen running at a smooth 60 frames per second. Another option is to play with up to three other friends in local multiplayer. It halves the frame rate but it's a small price to pay for a game which runs so well. Now, if you're looking to play in the big leagues, you can participate in online multiplayer mode which supports 12-player races. All of these options contribute to the game's replayability, infinitely extending an otherwise predictable play through.

Time to Go Online

mario kart 8 wii u: multiplayer

With the straightforward system, it's pretty easy to join races and setup multiplayer tournaments. On the other hand, there is one major flaw which springs from Nintendo being, well, the overprotective developer that it is. Mario Kart 8 neither allow you to invite people into a race nor does it let you send messages notifications to friends in-game. This doesn't make it easy to start friends-only tourneys as you will need to rely on an outside means to keep in touch.

Smoother, Faster, Better

mario kart 8 wii u: smoother faster better

Mario Kart 8's mechanics are balanced and even better than ever. No matter which car parts you go for, you are never guaranteed a win. You are encouraged to learn how to drift effectively and to choose when to go on the offensive. For instance, the anti-grav mechanic could push your opponents off track or it could give them a boost if you slam into them at the wrong angle. Even taking shortcuts should be done purposefully, as a less than flawless execution could delay you instead of shaving seconds off your time.

There are new items such as the Boomerang Flower which can be thrown up to three times unless it is caught by an opponent. Those who hate Blue Shells with a vengeance will love the Super Horn as it adds a level of safety for the skilled. Speaking of skill, drifting correctly builds boosts and missing a perfect turn gives others a chance to catch up. The system is pretty sweet, considering that angling a kart and pressing a single button looks deceptively simple. You can't just memorize maps and win. You will need to always keep your head in the game.

Visually Astounding

mario kart 8 wii u: Visually Astounding

This sequel's graphics are a definite step up from its predecessors. Not only are the track designs whimsical, each kart is detailed down to the treads on the little tires. The game allows you to share your best moments on the Miiverse or upload it to Youtube using Mario Kart TV's editing suite. You can watch a previous race to see how you performed, edit your highlight reel and enjoy the rich and beautiful worlds anytime you wish.

The Verdict: Ready for Another Castle

With its stunning graphics, strong multiplayer component and smooth game play Mario Kart 8 is a definite masterpiece. It is one of Nintendo's best works yet, mixing innovative mechanics such as anti-gravity with familiar favorites like well-loved characters and tracks. While it is in need of proper arena tracks and it could benefit from more editing options for Mario Kart TV, these issues barely make a dent on such a great game. From recoveries to unlockables, everything is faster in Mario Kart 8.Think you can keep up? We recommend playing Mario Kart 8, you won't be disappointed.

Rating: 90/100

We have also written an article about Mario Kart 9 and what we would like to see improved upon from version 8.

Buy Mario Kart 8 on Wii U (US) Buy Mario Kart 8 on Wii U (UK)

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