'Mario Kart 8' Races Past The Competition

May 30, 2014

For over more than twenty years, the Mario Kart franchise has been entertaining Nintendo fans by pitting their favorite Mushroom Kingdom residents against each other in go-kart races. Looking back, the idea seemed so simple, and in success, it has been copied countless times since the first game hit the Super Nintendo back in 1992. At the time, the idea was revolutionary, and since then, Nintendo and its seasoned team of developers have taken the franchise in a host of different directions, on almost every piece of hardware they have ever offered. In Mario Kart 8, Mario and his friends set off to new heights, by defying gravity, and introduce a whole new way to race.

Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 1
Publisher: Nintendo

Mario Kart has long been the most beloved spin-off of the Mario Bros. series, and with good reason; every game delivers on the promise of nonstop fun. Whether you're playing Super Circuit on the Game Boy Advance, or Double Dash on the Gamecube, the developers at Nintendo have mastered the art of the kart racing games, proving themselves time and time again. The latest entries continues a wonderful tradition on the Wii U, by keeping the gameplay feeling fresh, and crafting an experience that's fun solo, but exponentially better with friends.

While on the surface Mario Kart 8 might seem like it's just more Mario Kart, the team at Nintendo upped their game, and rounded out the first HD entry in the series with a host of new bells and whistles. New tracks, characters, and upgrades are expected, but serve as welcome additions that help make this release feel like it builds on the series. MK 8 does switch things up a little bit by letting Mario and his friends defy gravity on both the new and revamped classic courses. Online races also return, for single and multiple players on one console, upping the capabilities that the last few releases all shared. MK 8 does add a whole new user generated experience to the table though in Mario Kart TV. It's a replay system that lets players customize and upload highlight reels of the latest races, so that everyone in the community and on YouTube can see. And if that wasn't enough, 8 will be the first Mario Kart game to feature downloadable content (at least in Japan), so who knows what the future holds for this game.

As you may have guessed, Mario Kart 8 will only be burning rubber on the Wii U. While the game doesn't take much advantage of the GamePad, that's okay, because Off-TV Play is one of the features that this game does boast, and that is always a welcome addition to any Wii U release. You can pick up a copy at retail or digitally in the eShop. Plus, if you register the game on Club Nintendo by the end of July, Nintendo will give you a free game.

The long tradition of pure video game fun that's injected into every Mario Kart game is abundantly clear in Mario Kart 8. Whether you're a veteran to the series or someone who just picked up the controller for the first time, the concept and the gameplay are simple enough to understand in just a few minutes, with the enjoyment continuing on for hours and hours after that. The Blue Shell notwithstanding, the team at Nintendo have once again crafted a an outstanding entry into the franchise, that recreates the fun of the classic games, while offering some new experiences that should appeal to anyone with a Wii U.