Mario Kart 8 is the newest installment in the franchise, in stunning HD for the first time on the Wii U. Some games define a console, like Oblivion on the Xbox 360 and Super Mario World on the Super Nintendo. Mario Kart 8 has a good chance at being one of those iconic games for the Wii U, and at the very least a must-have for anyone with the console. It’s a high-energy, vivid, fast-paced game that players of all ages will love to play.
The game comes loaded with Mario Kart basics: your favorite Super Mario Bros. characters, crazy karts, items to toss at the other racers, and tracks inspired by Super Mario’s worlds. Sixteen tracks are “retro” tracks making a return from previous Mario Kart games, but updated with the newer features like hang gliders and anti-gravity racing. The anti-gravity tracks, new to Mario Kart 8, literally turn racing upside-down as Mario and pals glide along walls and drive on the ceiling. In addition to the 16 retro tracks, 16 new tracks take full advantage of the anti-gravity feature. The Electrodome in particular is a stunning and colorful track that you’ll want to play again and again.
As always, you can toss red shells, banana peels, and more at your opponents, turning their seemingly easy victory into a nail-biter with little warning. Mario Kart 8 has the power to end friendships. Or, in my case, end my five-year streak of not cussing in front of my daughter. The unpredictable nature of every race adds suspense and admittedly some frustration (curse you, blue spiny shell!) but that’s all part of the Mario Kart experience.
Once you’re tired of defeating everyone in your family, Mario Kart 8 also offers online competitive play with up to 12 other racers from around the world. Battle Mode also makes a return in online play, but on tracks rather than an open arena. There is no online voice chat when playing with others worldwide, so you don’t have to worry about someone else spewing obscenities at your children.
It all boils down to: Do you love Mario Kart games? Then you’ll love this one. Mario Kart 8 is one of the best titles for the Wii U, and if you own the console, I definitely recommend adding this one to your game collection for hours of entertainment.
Mario Kart 8 will be released on May 30 at a suggested retail price of $59.99.
GeekMom received a promotional copy for review purposes.