The latest Mario Kart game gives me another reason to dust off my Nintendo Wii U and get back in the bucket seat for some silly action in one of my favourite racers. To be honest, this game feels far overdue but I’m glad it’s eventually here and just as accessible as ever.
You must have played the game on one of Nintendo’s consoles or handhelds before, and this one takes ideas from a number of previous titles and lets you race over new and remixed tracks of old favourites in full HD for the first time.
There are eight cups to take part in and of course those three race classes. 50cc is for true beginners as it’s pretty darn tough to not come first, 100cc ups the challenge a bit more and you won’t guarantee a top place finish, and 150cc is lightning fast and you’ll need all your racing skills and of course a huge dose of luck to get three stars in a cup due to the fact that you’ll get punished for being in pole position by all manner of shells and lightning bolts – luckily, this time around, you can counter a blue shell if you have hold of the Super Horn which sends a shockwave out to hit anyone or anything near you. Other new weapons include a Piranha Plant that chomps at everything around you, a Boomerang Flower which you lob out in front of you and catch again up to three times and the Crazy Eight – 8 items that spin around you which you can launch at enemies for a super advantage. There are also more characters than ever including more cute characters from Bowser’s army.
When it comes to how you drive, you can also customise your vehicle. Whether you choose a car, bike or ATV, you can choose which types of wheels and glider go on top and this effects how the car handles in terms of acceleration, speed and handling. Just make sure you pull up the stats bar to see how your combination effects your car or you’ll be guessing.
When it comes to advanced techniques such as power sliding, things seem to be simpler this time around. You don’t have to flick the stick twice in both directions to get orange flames; just make sure you keep sliding until they spark the desired colour. You’ll then get a boost when you let go of the jump button. You can also jump over any bumps to get an extra boost of speed.
This being the Wii U, you can of course use motion controls but, as always, you’ll always get a better response from using buttons, you can also play the game solo on the Control Pad itself if someone want to watch TV, however you won’t be able to see the minimap as this is no longer part of the main screen. Up to four player split screen is supported but you can also take the action online. Local multiplayer is always fun but there’s something genuinely competitive about playing other people in the world online and this is where the game gets super addictive. If you fancy it you can also play around with previous races in MKTV, edit your highlights and upload them to share with everyone else. I’m not exactly sure who’d want to watch this back but it’s there if you want it.
Mario Kart 8 once again takes the racing series, adds a few tweaks and creates a masterpiece. My favourite version is still Double Dash with the extra strategy of picking which weapon to fire by switching characters, but the fact that this is in extra shiny HD with the most user friendly multiplayer of any of the games makes it a winner. It gets 9 out of 10.
Get Mario Kart 8 now
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