Review by Warrenty_Beast

Reviewed: 08/22/14

Very Much Recomended

I don't think it's really fair to ask that question as any console in the Wii U's current predicament needs more than one good game to save it. It's not going to happen overnight. This being said, Mario Kart 8 is a fantastic next step and if it is at all telling of the quality we can expect in future titles, then the future of Nintendo's console is bright, like a super star.

GAME PLAY:

Anybody who has played any Mario Kart game before, especially MK7 on the 3DS, knows how this game works. You take control of Mario or one of his colorful cast-mates from the Mushroom Kingdom, drop them in a souped up go-kart and race for glory around several wacky and often dangerous tracks. At it's core, Mario Kars, first blue, then orange. These sparks signify a mini-boost that can help you fly out of a corner without losing any speed. Tricks can be performed using the same button when reaching the tops of ramps or similar environmental features (slaloms, logs, rocks, etc) and performing them is encouraged. You can't fail a trick once started, and doing so gives you another small boost upon landing.

The game isn't all about finding extra boosts, though. Far from it, as the other essential part of the Mario Kart formula is in the items. Easily one of Mario Kart's defining features, racers can break open item boxes by driving \arly as often in MK8, and if it does it is far more forgiving as your character finally has a couple seconds of invincibility after being struck with most items. You can no longer store an extra item by dragging one behind your kart either, so it forces players to be far more strategic with the ones they have.

Like in Mario Kart 7, players not only choose a character but actually build their own kart as well. Choosing from a pre-created selection of kart bodies, wheels and gliders, players can tailor a kart based on stats or simphorizontal and become magnets that allow racers to ride along walls, ceilings, and in all manner of gravity insulting directions.

This may seem purely aesthetic at first but antigravity mode brings with it an interesting new mechanic: spin boosting. Bumping into an opponent normally makes one of you stall momentarily, and lightweight characters often get sh boost. This simple addition manages to change your strategy entirely during races as you now think of what angle to ram your opponents by to get the most beneficial spin boost possible. Overall, antigravity mode provides some impressive visual moments while also maintaining a fresh feeling in races, one that isn't overused at all.

PRESENTATION:

It is not a stretch to say that this is the prettiest Mario Kart to ever appear. Nintendo knows their hardware and how to bring incredible graphical capability out of it, despite it being underpowered compared to the PS4 or XB1. Characters and environments are crisp, colorful and vivid. And all races in single player \t screams polish and Nintendo has spared no expense in making this game look and sound appealing to players.

REPLAY VALUE:

As in previous Mario Karts, this is a game that shines in multiplayer. Getting some buddies on the couch and teap, opportunity on Nintendo's part to bring antigravity racing into some inventive new arenas. As an aside, players can also use Mario Kart TV to edit and share replays of a particularly thrilling race, even posting to youtube if they have a google account. This is a fun distraction, but the real joy comes from hitting the slow-mo button and watching all the fantastic lighting effects and missed details on the course. It is a feature easily forgotten and not very much missed, but still fun when you remember it.

FINAL VERDICT: While not quite perfect, Mario Kart 8 refines it's driving to a new standard in smooth and delivers it in a stunningly beautiful package. This is more than enough reason to pick up a Wii U, or dust yours off if you already have one. Mario Kart 8 is not to be miss

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Mario Kart 8 (US, 05/30/14)

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