Mario Kart 8: Same Game with More Tracks!

Hello everybody! This week we have the newest game in the Mario Kart franchise, Mario Kart 8.

MARIO KART 8

Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Bandai Namco Games
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Kosuke Yabuki
Producer(s) Hideki Konno
Composer(s) Shiho Fujii
Atsuko Asahi
Ryo Nagamatsu
Yasuaki Iwata
Series Mario Kart
Platform(s) Wii U
Release date(s)
  • JP May 29, 2014
  • NA May 30, 2014
  • EU May 30, 2014
  • AUS May 31, 2014
Genre(s) Racing

In case if you have never heard of it, Mario Kart 8 is a racing game recently released on the Wii U in late May.The game is the eighth installment in the mainstream series, and eleventh overall in the Mario Kart series. A prominent new addition is anti-gravity, allowing players to drive on almost any surface. Bikes, gliders, and underwater driving also return. In addition,ATVs join the returning karts and bikes as a new class of vehicle.

The gameplay maintains the traditional elements of previous Mario Kart games, mostly from the two recent installments on the Wii and 3DS respectively. Karts, which feature similar designs from Mario Kart 7, can be customized once again, alongside the returning bikes, which handle similar to the karts now and can only perform a wheelie via a boost, and the newly introduced ATVs. The hang-glider and underwater mechanics also return, as well as Coins, with the player being able to collect up to ten in one race as in Mario Kart 7. Like Mario Kart Wii, twelve racers are present in normal races.Tricks and the ability to look behind also return in this game.

The newest feature for the series is anti-gravitational segments that not only allow for more dynamic track design, but also for racers to drive across walls, ceilings, and other seemingly unusual places. When in anti-gravity, if a racer bumps into another racer, the kart spins rather than just bumping and both racers receive a speed boost. This is called “spin boosting”.

Vehicle handling is more intuitive than ever before, and adjusting from a wide-sliding kart to the tight cornering of a motorbike is just a matter of taking a quick test drive around a track. For a relatively novice player the learning curve is incredibly short, which breeds the confidence needed to take on tougher tracks at higher difficulties. Never in my history with the series have I tore through all of the courses (16 new and 16 revamped classics) with such enthusiasm.

It helps that the new batch of tracks has been designed with the game’s new anti-gravity feature in mind. When the road goes sideways, turns upwards or spins upside-down, karts are transformed into high-tech anti-grav vehicles, and suddenly I’m enjoying the best of both worlds — futuristic hover-craft racing with some of the industry’s most iconic characters. It’s exactly the tweak to the standard formula I was looking for. I only wish the 16 updated classic tracks made more use of it.

The only downside to online multiplayer (and multiplayer in general) was Mario Kart 8’s Battle Mode. Traditionally held in custom-crafted arenas, the balloon-popping competitive game mode is instead played on normal circuit tracks. Players drive around in circles, hoping to run into someone that’s not driving rapidly in the opposite direction. They hardly do. The tracks are so large and winding they’d be lucky to see another person more than once or twice in a given round. It’s horribly tedious, borderline unplayable.

PROS:

  • New game play mechanics.
  • New characters.
  • Track re-designs.
  • Anti-gravity.

CONS:

  •  Battle Mode.

SCORE: 8.0 / 10

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