Mario Kart 8 was recently released on the Wii U and this Nintendo fan picked it up the night it came out.
I’ve been playing Mario Kart 8 since the series first came out on the Super Nintendo (Heck, my first SNES was the one that came bundled with the game). My personal favorite in the series is Mario Kart: Double Dash and I kind of fell away from it after Mario Kart Wii, which I didn’t find to be as entertaining as previous entries in the series.
Seeing all the new things being added to Mario Kart 8 made me decide that it was time to jump back into the series. I was specifically excited for the anti-gravity feature.
Anti-gravity adds a whole new element to the Mario Kart series. In past Mario Kart games, running into an opponent wasn’t a good idea as it would slow players down and knock them off course. In Mario Kart 8, it’s not always a bad thing. Running into someone while in an anti-gravity sections actually provides players with a speed boost. This completely changes how players think while playing the game and means that new strategies for how to get ahead have to be developed.
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There are also several new items in Mario Kart 8. These items includes the Boomerang Flower, Piranha Plant, Super Horn and Crazy Eight. Most of these items are great additions to the series. The two most notable ones are the Super Horn and Crazy Eight. The Super Horn is an awesome addition as it works as an answer to those pesky blue turtle shells that target the player in first place. However, an item worse than the blue shell has been introduced in the Crazy Eight. The Crazy Eight gives a player eight items to use. These items are Coin, Bob-omb, Mushroom, Star, Blooper, Green Shell, Red Shell and a Banana. This item is way overpowered and I’m hoping it will be dropped from further games.
Mario Kart 8 features 16 new tracks and 16 retro tracks to race on. I found myself liking most of the new tracks and a couple of them (Cloudtop Cruise and Sunshine Airport) quickly became new favorites.
The retro tracks in Mario Kart 8 have all been modified to include new anti-gravity sections. This brought a fresh feeling to the old tracks and was easily one of my favorite parts of the game. If I had to complain about one thing, it would be the inclusion of several tracks from Mario Kart 7 and Wii. Around a third of the retro tracks are from these games and I felt it would have been better to actually include more tracks from older games, rather than tracks that were seen in recent games in the series.
Mario Kart 8 features a roster of 30 different characters to choose from. The game starts with 16 characters and the additional 14 have to be unlocked by racing and collecting coins. These cahracters include the seven Koopa Kids from Super Mario World, Lakitu, Rosalina and her baby form, Taodette, Miis, Metal Mario and Pink Gold Peach.
I’m a Luigi fan at heart and he is my go to driver. He’s also getting a lot of publicity from his death stare videos. However, I would have loved to see some more diversity in the character choices. I felt that including all the Koopa Kids and baby versions of Mario, Peach, Luigi, Daisy and Rosalina was a bit much. Metal Mario and Pink Gold Peach were also a complete waste of space for character slots.
Now we get to the worst part of Mario Kart 8, the battles. Battle mode in this game is laughable. Rather than taking the time to create new arenas for a battle mode, Nintendo opted to just throw eight race tracks from the game into it. This sucks. Battles stretched across entire race courses is a horrible idea and players’ spent most of their time driving around trying to find someone and rarely being able to do so. Also, battles have a maximum time limit of five minutes. This isn’t a race, so why am I timed at all?
The graphics in Mario Kart 8 are amazing. Race tracks are beautiful and I have yet to see any lag in the game. Maybe this will finally get Nintendo naysayers to keep quiet about the Wii U’s graphical capabilities (who am I kidding, it won’t).
The music in Mario Kart 8 is spectacular. Most of the race tracks in the game feature live, orchestrated music, which is a first for the series. This is also the first time that each track has its own background music and hasn’t had to share it with another track.
Overall, I really like Mario Kart 8. The anti-gravity is a great addition to the series and the new tracks are really fun to play. The game also has amazing graphics and audio. My biggest complaint is that there aren’t specific tracks for battle mode, but maybe Nintendo will fix this with DLC. Sure, I had other issues with the game, but nothing that affected it like the lack of real battle arenas does.
Mario Kart 8 races its way to 4 GiN Gems out of 5!