It took a long time to get my copy of Mario Kart 8, but I did get it a couple days ago. I am glad that I did get it, and now I am here to tell you of what I think. Mario Kart 8 is a racing game for the Wii U and the eighth instalment of the long-running Mario Kart series, a spin-off of the famous Super Mario franchise. I’ll divide this review into several components, starting with Grand Prix.
Grand Prix: I feel rather neutral towards the changes made to this mode. First, if you, say, got a silver trophy in the 100cc engine class Mushroom Cup, you would also be awarded with a silver trophy in the 50cc engine class Mushroom Cup automatically, even if you never played it. With this change, you only have to play the 150cc class of every cup and get a trophy to have gotten trophies in ALL the cups. This change ties into another: if you unlock a cup in one engine class, it is automatically unlocked in the other classes. To compensate, the Flower Cup and Banana Cup now need to be unlocked instead of being available from the start like in previous games.
Time Trial: A mode where you race to the finish solo with three Dash Mushrooms for the best time. Just select a track and play. I never paid too much attention to this mode much.
Versus: This is a mode in which you race using custom rules, such as there being teams or not, how many races there will be, the engine class, how the tracks are selected, etc.
Battle: Normally, Battle mode is fun and unique compared to the rest of the game, but, unfortunately, it is now more or less a shell of its former self. Instead of special arenas, you play in actual race tracks! And worse still, SIX OUT OF EIGHT of them are Retro courses. I will give one thing, and that is I love the ability to decide what kinds of items can be used. (Seriously, try a round of Bob-ombs Only, it’s RIDICULOUS.)
Race Tracks: Like all previous games, bar Super Circuit for GBA, there are 4 Nitro cups, being the Mushroom, Flower, Star and Special cups, in that respective order. As well, like all games since the DS iteration, there are also 4 Retro cups, comprised of the Shell, Banana, Leaf and Lightning cups. The Nitro cups’ tracks, as well as the Retro cups’ tracks, will be listed below.
(Note: the Retro tracks have initials that designate which instalment they originate derived from the console it was on)
Mushroom Cup: Mario Kart Stadium, Water Park, Sweet Sweet Canyon, and Thwomp Ruins
Flower Cup: Mario Circuit, Toad Harbor, Twisted Mansion, and Shy Guy Falls
Star Cup: Sunshine Airport, Dolphin Shoals, Electrodrome, and Mount Wario
Special Cup: Cloudtop Cruise, Bone-Dry Dunes, Bowser’s Castle, and Rainbow Road
Shell Cup: Wii Moo Moo Meadows, GBA Mario Circuit, DS Cheep Cheep Beach, and N64 Toad’s Turnpike
Banana Cup: GCN Dry Dry Desert, SNES Donut Plains 3, N64 Royal Raceway, and 3DS DK Jungle
Leaf Cup: DS Wario Stadium, GCN Sherbet Land, 3DS Music Park, and N64 Yoshi Valley
Lightning Cup: DS Tick-Tock Clock, 3DS Piranha Plant Slide, Wii Grumble Volcano, and N64 Rainbow Road
(To those in PAL regions, 3DS Music Park is instead called 3DS Melody Motorway)
All tracks have a 3-lap system, bar Mount Wario and N64 Rainbow Road, which are divided into three sections, though the former ends in a different place from where it started, while the latter is one big lap, due to its extreme length. Compared to previous games, the Nitro tracks are very diverse and creative, from a busy amusement park to an equally busy airport, and everything in between! I think the selection of Retro tracks is very nice, but I think a few games are represented too much or too little. Personally, my favourite Nitro track is…any of them! I really can’t pick a favourite. They all have design, music, and gimmicks that make each one unique. As for the Retro Tracks, some are inevitably better than others, as they all come from different games, but are all overall great.
Characters and Vehicles: The game stars 30 characters, 16 of which are playable from the start while the rest must be unlocked via various methods. As with Mario Kart 7, you make customizable vehicles using various parts you earn throughout the game, with each affecting how you drive in different ways so you can edit it to fit your play style best.
Multiplayer: Like pretty much every racing game, Mario Kart 8 inevitably has a Multiplayer mode. As in previous instalments, you can play Versus and Battle with (up to 3) other people in this game, but, oddly enough, Grand Prix is also multiplayer in this game. Even if so, it is a change that I gladly appreciate.
Final Analysis: This game is pretty great. I would give it a 3.5/5 rating. It’s fun, with many unique mechanics, great control, an enjoyable, albeit somewhat butchered Battle mode, lots of new characters, a very refined replay option, and excellent track design and music. I would suggest buying this if you are already a fan of Super Mario and/or kart racing games.
and a half out of 5
This is not a sponsored review. No compensation or game was received. All opinions are authentic and belong exclusively to my son. If you feel so incline, please leave him a comment, he would love it!