The Wii U has been lacking in decent games recently. This has been a little frustrating – especially as a Wii U supporter myself. So any Nintendo Wii U title would have been welcome on my games shelf . This one seems to go beyond just another Nintendo title though…
So what’s it all about then?
Racing. Oh, you want more detail? Well, it’s about 12 Mario characters that compete in ever enraging races involving cheating computer players and blue-shells. Well, I say cheating computer players, in the 50cc mode, you’ll be leaving everyone in the dust. It’s an easy way of unlocking some items and characters (not to mention stamps are back! I do love those stamps, they’re like achievements but they’re useful). 100cc is where you can get a decent challenge going. Then there’s 150cc. This is the reason it should be an adult rated game – not because of any bad language or nudity or anything. Just because it’s unsafe to play around children – you’ll be the one turning the air blue.
Not only does it allow you to do 4 players in the regular Grand Prix mode (which is nice), there’s also a battle mode. Any fans of the original type of battle mode from the earlier games would probably hate this mode. It doesn’t have special arenas specifically designed to cram in confrontation.
I however enjoy the new mode – I know, I’m a freak! What happens instead, is you get placed on one of the regular levels, with half the players going the right way around the track, the other half the wrong way and there’s plenty of power ups. Don’t worry though, it’s a timed game. If you lose your balloons, you can troll the other players by riding around as a ghost, picking up items and using them on people. This is fun because they can’t see you as a ghost – so you can ready sneak up on them! Mwahahahaha!
Much like the previous games (7 and Wii versions), you can play online . You’re limited to how much you can interact – which is probably a good thing, considering I once dominated someone so badly, they drove backwards around the track with star power just to try and take me down – and they missed! I’d hate to think about what derogatory things that person was saying about me. Probably something involving electrical cable, a taser, teabags and my mum.
Remember all those trailers showing characters racing around corners and stuff? Well you’re able to do just that. In online, regular GP and battle modes you can replay and edit (well, do some light instructions on what gets shown) the footage of you besting Rosalina or demolishing Yoshi in that final lap (or that brutal time you popped Donkey Kong’s last balloon – you monster!), yep all that can be kept for all it’s glory on Miiverse and YouTube. And this is how the internet has managed to diagnose Luigi as a sociopath . All in all, it’s quite an entertaining feature.
WTF is an amiibo? It was announced at this year’s E3. Don’t you pay attention to anything? Anyway, it’s these statuettes with different Nintendo characters that you place on your controller. Mario Kart 8 is confirmed to be compatible with these, but they haven’t announced any details on how. I have a theory (or possibly just a hope). I’m thinking maybe they’ll use it like a second character like in Mario Kart Double Dash. With your amiibo once again learning and levelling up – but you can switch between them throwing items and them driving – pretty much like in Double Dash. Fingers crossed we’ll also be able to use non-Mario amiibos for this as well (I can hope, can’t I?) – but that seems unlikely.
On the actual confirmed points of the future for Mario Kart 8, there is DLC coming to allow you to drive a Mercedes Benz. Sweet! Hopefully it’ll be like most DLC from Nintendo (well the ones where they don’t stick another games worth of content in) and make it free.
So, the verdict?
I could use some clichés and say something like “this game’s so good, you should race out and get it now!”, but that isn’t my style. So instead, I’ll say “last one past the finish line is a goomba’s uncle!”.
Mario Kart 8 is out now. Our reviewer bought the game themselves. Twice. Seriously, don’t ask. It’s a long story involving golden coins and a bad mushroom.