Published on June 14th, 2014 | by gareth0
Mario Kart 8
(Editors Note: I debated posting this review due to the lack of support Nintendo has been offering of late. They are fast to ask for magazine, radio, site, and newspaper coverage via their p.r. firm,. but once we have provided coverage, they plead poverty time and again when we ask for review materials. I know of outlets who do not get 1/4 of our traffic, much less the huge numbers from the radio show, newspaper, and magazine who are getting review material from them on a regular basis. While I understand limited supplies, there is also a cost to our time in posting, promoting, and such so we will focus on those who have supported us over the years and as a result we are reducing our Nintendo coverage until such time as we are given better and fair treatment from them as we have posted material for years with no support in terms of review items and this does not happen with any of the other companies. I only agreed to post this as our new staffer wanted to do a write up and this is what she had ready).
By Amber Eldridge
Since the less than stellar sales of the Wii U following its launch in November 2012, Nintendo has a lot riding on Mario Kart 8 and the upcoming Super Smash Brothers for Wii U in 2014. Will Mario Kart 8 be the game to move consoles? Only time can tell, but so far, it appears this may be the saving grace Nintendo has been looking for.
In true Mario Kart fashion, Nintendo has brought back sixteen previous tracks, as well as sixteen fresh tracks, all with shiny new graphics and interesting twists. The most notable twist this time is the thrilling and disorienting anti-gravity. In addition to taking to the sky, water, and of course the road, players are now flipped on their heads at sudden 90 degree angles then righted, only to find themselves completely upside down again moments later. It’s nauseating, exhilarating, and a breath of fresh air into the franchise.
As in previous Mario Karts, there are plenty of new items, some infuriating, some adding an interesting element to the game, yet none quite as anticipated as the blue-shell-deflecting Super Horn. If you are lucky enough to have this item bestowed upon you, hold on to it! Nothing is quite as satisfying as hearing the familiar siren of a blue shell closing in on you then blasting it (and anything else in the blast radius) out of your path. Other new items include, the ridiculously amusing Piranha Plant that snatches up coins, items, and takes out obstacles in your path; the Boomerang that gives you three attempts to take out opponents; the over used (and often completely useless) Coin item; and finally the Crazy 8, which as you can probably deduce is much like the Lucky 7 from Mario Kart 7, arming racers with eight various items at once.
A variety of new characters are also introduced, including the Kooplaings, which are a welcome addition to any Mario game, Baby Rosalina, and a lazy excuse for “new character”, Pink Gold Peach. Really, Nintendo?!
In Mario Kart 8, the Online Play feature is a clear indication of Nintendo finally acknowledging the online social aspect of games. In addition to Online Play, Mario Kart TV is a surprisingly fun online feature that has already driven the “Luigi Death Stare” to viral status. Now, players can record and upload their races for others to view online. While this may not seem compelling to some, it is a great way to share technique and just rub your drifting skills in the face of other players.
All in all, Mario Kart 8 brings to the table the same thing previous Mario Kart games have brought us, unadulterated competitive fun, now in a more graphically stunning package. While the series has not evolved much over the years, when you have a winning formula, why change it? Will this game move the predicted 3.6 million units by the end of the fiscal year? Perhaps not, but it will certainly help get some Wii U consoles into living rooms, and if the sales of Wii U / Mario Kart 8 bundles in the UK are any indication, this game will be a clear reason for the increase in console sales.
4 stars out of 5