Mario Kart 8 comes from Nintendo, they have been around since the 1970’s putting out some of the best games in history with franchises from; Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Kirby, F-Zero, and many more. They have some of the most iconic characters in history and have stood the stand of time as putting out some of the best games in the world. Mario Kart first was released on the Super Nintendo back in 1992 and was the start of a great franchise with having the designer of the original super Mario Bros on the team. After that Mario was thrown into the 3D world with Mario Kart 64 and also introduced 4-player racing, the game had 8 playable characters in three different driving classes light, medium, and heavy this game would go on to be one of the most locally played game of all time. Since then Mario and the gang have been found racing on; Game Boy Advance, GameCube, DS, Wii, 3DS and now the Nintendo Wii U.
Mario Kart 8 came out on May 30th 2014 on the Wii U it has brought the game in stunning HD. The game ships with 30 playable characters that is a long way from the original 8 that was offered before, 16 of those characters are default characters and 14 of those are unlocked as the user plays through the game. The unlockable characters are unlocked by completing different cups at different tiers of 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc. There are 32 courses in Mario Kart 8: 16 of them are brand new tracks and 16 of them are retro tracks from previous games, there is is eight different cups they are; mushroom, flower, star, special, shell, banana, leaf, and lightning cup. There is various game modes in Mario kart 8 there is the Grand Prix which can be played either single player or split screen which is great to play the campaign with friends. Time trials where the user can race against other ghosts from Miiverse or also compete against a Nintendo staff member’s ghost. VS race makes a return that can be played with up to 4 players and they can set custom rules between themselves there is also the return of battle and of course online play.
For online players can jump into a lobby with their friends and also participate in tournaments or just join into local games online either regionally or internationally. Missing from online play is the ability to talk with other players during a race, this can only happen in the lobby’s and is a bit of a let down but not much. Items have always been a item that can either be feared if you’re in first or your ally if you’re picking up the rear; all of the items have returned with addition of several new items the; Boomerang flower, Piranha plant, Super Horn, and Crazy eight. The boomerang flower can be thrown 3 times and it will hit racers and return to the racer, the piranha plant will chomp at other racers and obstacles automatically, the super horn puts out a shockwave that destroys any obstacles in its blast including the dreaded blue shell of death, and the crazy eight generates the following: coin, mushroom, star, blooper, bob-omb, green shell, red shell, and a banana.
Mario Kart 8 gameplay is a blast from the minute the user picks up the controller they will be having a great time. There is a major improvement on how the game looks graphically right from the get go all the character animations are really sharp and all of the levels are just downright beautiful. The way the levels have been hand crafted bringing back memories from years of karting, the artists have done an amazing job re-imagining the courses old and new some of them are really mind blowing. Course design has really changed with the addition of gliders being added in Mario Kart 7 now opening jumps all around the course and the addition of underwater driving and of course the newest racing feature upside down racing with the addition of the anti-gravity wheels and all of this happens on the fly so there is no need to change tires or hit a button to transfer it works seamless.
When it comes to karts there is so much to choose from for racing with 14 different karts, 9 bikes, 3 ATV’s, 18 sets of tires, and 17 gliders the customization is just through the roof allowing the user to really get the most out of their racing experience and they all affect how they will race with each of these parts affecting the performance of their vehicle. The driving is real smooth it does take a bit of getting used to all the drifting in the game but once the user gets a hold of the handling of their character and the kart they can start dominating. The controls for the game are really basic for the Wii U Gamepad there’s two options where the user can either use the sticks to steer or switch the options and turn the Gamepad like a wheel to turn. The Gamepad seems like an after thought when it comes to the game its a giant horn what a waste of a screen really the developer would of been better off using this as a rear view mirror or something along that aspect.
The developer did add a great video feature when the user can upload video’s of their winning’s to either Miiverse or straight to their YouTube and they also have a small bit of editing software in the game and this really a nice touch and really adds to sharing the experience with your friends. All of the courses have differences which makes each of them special and unique to race on they have shortcuts which can be mastered over time and a huge plus not one rainbow road but two which is a much needed thing one is a new renovation and the other one is the original both are vibrant and drive amazing.
Mario Kart 8 has always been known as being a great game to play with friends and this game really caters to playing with your friends from playing 4 player campaign with all of your friends to even taking your friends online to play with others online and they have done exactly that and its a pretty great experience. The battle arena also returns to play with friends but the maps for these don’t feel like true battle maps they feel as though this part was more of an afterthought with just putting user’s on a race map and pointing them in different directions on the map, here is wishing to some proper battle maps in a piece of DLC down the road. The online is very good and its easy to jump in and out of games, the one grip is not being able to talk during races the only online talking can be during the lobby which is okay I guess just wish their was more options for voice communication in multiplayer.
Mario Kart 8 is an amazing game and a great reason to go out and buy a Wii U its packed the the brim with content and the community behind this game is amazing. The game has such a high re-playability and I don’t see putting this title down for anytime soon. The game does take a little bit of getting used to as far as controls but once they are mastered any user will be beating their friend either locally or online. The developers really did an amazing job with this game it looks beautiful and all of the tracks are really a true work of art, hopefully there might be some more tracks added in some DLC down the road. This is just a little add-on to the review and doesn’t count towards the score but giving away a copy of either; New Super Mario Bros. U, Pikmin 3, The Legend of Zelda the Windwaker HD, or Wii Party U by adding the code to their Club Nintendo account was an amazing idea and greatly appreciated by all fans.
Overall Score: 9.9 / 10
RGN Rating: Platinum Game
Developers: Nintendo EAD + Bandai Namco Games
Review Copy Info: A physical copy of this game was purchased by RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this Review.
Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Josh Ehresmann on 20140622 and was last modified on 20140622 .