Mario Kart 8 is a fantastic looking game. It is probably the most crisp, sharpest looking game I’ve ever seen on any Nintendo console. Each track and their background scenery is all very vivid and almost lifelike, in a cartoonish Mario kind of way. LEGO City and Mario 3D both looked great, but Mario Kart 8 took it up a notch in my opinion.
The audio is what it is. It’s a game under the Mario franchise, so all you really get are some sound effects and the game play music that varies slightly from track to track. Obviously there’s not much in the terms of speaking being done by the characters, aside from an occasional laugh or excited shout. Oh, and there is Mario’s intro to the game. One thing I gotta wonder about though, how does an Italian plumber have such a high, whiny voice???
Mario Kart 8 is a racing game, so naturally there isn’t really a story. Obviously the point is to win the race and/or championship in the selected cup series, or in a battle series. I probably should have just deleted this section, but hey, it let me pad my word count a little bit here. As a great man once said, “If you aren’t cheating, you aren’t trying.” RIP Eddie.
The gameplay is pretty straight forward, as you would expect from a Mario Kart game. Accelerate, break, power slide, and use item buttons line up with what they’ve been in the past. Game responds very well to the commands as well.
The last Mario Kart I got was on the N64 as I did not get a Gamecube or the first Wii, so I’m missed out on a lot of tracks in between, but Mario Kart 8 utilizes a number of tracks from prior games (graphically enhanced and updated of course) as well as some new ones.
I also like all of the unlockable characters and kart bodies, wheels and gliders that are available in this game. Again, I haven’t gotten a game in this series since the N64 edition, so I’m not sure if they have had these before, but I really like it nonetheless.
I also enjoy that the field was expanded from eight to twelve racers(at some point along the way). Eight was good way back when, but with the evolution of the Mario world, there are certainly enough characters to warrant an expanded field…even if Luigi does still suck when controlled by the system. But don’t let him hear you say that, or else you draw his wrath.
The last of the new items that I can think of off hand are some new weapons. First we have a boomerang that, as you might expect, will come back to you so you can throw it multiple times. There is also a big horn that will cause racers within a nearby distance of you to spin out and can also be used defensively if you time it right. My favorite is the Piranha Plant, which chews up other racers when you get near them and spits them out. I’ve also read something about a Crazy 8 that will allow you to have eight items, but I have yet to receive that item.
There’s a lot to like here. Great looking game. Lots of tracks. Lots of characters. Lots of different parts. And it’s a fun game to play. Excellent way to lose 30 minutes, At some point, I even expect my dad to want to take a crack at it and attempt to rekindle the heated rivalry of years past. And of course, there is the Luigi Death Stare that I referenced earlier as well.
Since there’s so much to like, there’s not really a lot to dislike. My biggest complaint at the moment is how I get coins as my mystery item too often. Beyond that, I miss the old battle arenas. Not sure which edition those were taken out, but doing battle mode on a track just isn’t the same.
As someone who has fond memories of playing this on the SNES and N64 systems, it was great to get back into this series and be rewarded with the advancements I saw since I had last played a Mario Kart game. My dad and I used to play against each other all the time years ago, and the day this came out, I finally bought a second controller for the Wii U on the chance that I might have to kick his ass once more.
With all this in mind, if you are not a fan of Mario games and/or racing games, then this game may not be for you. It is a lot of fun, and I’m sure would be a great party or family friendly game, but I know there are those that would not enjoy this game or would be bored by it.
All the same, this is my insight and my opinion, and I enjoyed the hell out of it, so I’m giving this 4 stars. And that is going to do it for this edition.
Mario Kart 8 gets a four out of five: GREAT.