Review by Galactus21
Drifting through the kingdom...
After a slew of amazing Wii U titles that Ive played through, I finally decided to give Mario Kart 8 a go. Mario Kart 8 is certainly solid and fun. While Ive dabbled with various Mario Kart titles in the past, this is really only my second full fledge experience playing the series. The first being Mario Kart DS. I enjoyed my experiences with that title, but its felt like ages since Ive experienced it. Mario Kart 8 while reminiscent of past experiences, still felt relatively new given my limited exposure to the series.
Mario Kart 8 feels partly like a racing title, with items and unconventional obstacles thrown in to spice things up. The majority of the time I spent playing the game was either through the various single player circuits or its online multiplayer. I did dabble with battle mode for a bit, where the objective is to pop anothers balloons, but I didnt really get into this mode too much.
For single player circuits, there were four individual courses within them, where a racer will tally up points depending on performance of that race. At the end of the circuit, your final score will determine your award. Prior to even starting, users can choose from a variety of characters, karts, bikes, and parts. As you play through the game, more options will be made available. The variety definitely helped keep things fresh.
I also particularly enjoyed the racing and driving in Mario Kart 8 and this coming from someone who doesnt normally enjoy racers. Driving felt slick and intuitive. Drifting also felt incredibly smooth, allowing players to turn sharp corners and build up a speed boost simultaneously. Additionally, courses were well designed as to not restrict users from relatively boring tracks seen in more simulation based racers. There are courses, where giant bowser is slamming down on the tacks or speeds boosts that can be accessed via a side ramp. All of these elements made more a more enjoyable and quirky experience.
Aside from some of these nice features, I also enjoyed the utilization of items as part of the racing experience. Items such as green shells, bananas, or mushrooms can provide a user the ability to attack other racers or give oneself a boost. I also felt these items were well placed and spread throughout the course, as to not overload the game with too many items. In the higher difficulties, I did however find that sometimes the computer seems to find the most opportune times to either have the right item or attack you at the right time. This at times did make things feel a bit cheap. Overall however, this didnt detriment the game too much.
As players progress through these circuits, new ones will be opened until eventually the credits rolled. The level designs were great, and I enjoyed driving through them. I also felt the courses were varied enough to keep things fresh, and not too repetitive as you play through them. Having fun driving mechanics and keeping things light hearted certainly helps.
I also played online multiplayer with Mario Kart 8 and found myself enjoying it. While Im sure there are those that play this pretty competitively, I felt it was easy enough to sign online, play a bit, and still have fun despite not being a total Mario Kart pro. My internet connection also is not the greatest, but despite this I rarely experience lag if any.
Despite the fun mechanics and well-designed courses, I did find that the game didnt provide as much replay value as I would have thought. The single player modes is fairly light, especially since I didnt enjoy battle mode much. After completing the various circuits, and attempting to get better trophies for those circuits, it felt like there wasnt much left to do. Online was also fun for a bit, but it didnt feel like the same addictive feeling I experienced with other online Wii U titles like Smash Bros.
Mario Kart 8 looks great for a Wii U title. The vibrant colors for some of the courses, and animation such as getting hit by a red shell feels and looks great. The level designs were definitely brought to life with the color palette and great animation. The music throughout the game was also very good. I enjoyed turning in as I was driving and racing through the courses.
Mario Kart 8 is a fun title, featuring solid racing, great level designs, and overall a quirky feeling that brings a smile to your face. I just wish there was a bit more to it more specifically the single player parts of the game. It is hard to knock the game too much however, since I enjoyed the time I spent with it for the most part. Mario Kart 8 is definitely a title worth checking out.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Mario Kart 8 (US, 05/30/14)
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