Community Review: Mario Kart 8

There's something different about Mario Kart 8. I can't explain it. Maybe it's like the end result of decades of fine tuning, maybe we were all just desperate for something to play on our Wii Us. Whatever it is — people are really excited about Mario Kart again, and it all feels very justified.

It feels justified because Mario Kart 8 is good. It's might be my favourite version of the game since the original. At the very least it matches up with Mario Kart DS, my previous favourite.

It's all about the track design. Simply put, there are no duffers. Every track feels inspired. With the level of creativity and sheer invention, you'd expect at least a couple of tracks to misfire but they don't. They're all interesting and, above all, unique. They're memorable. In a lot of ways I feel as though Mario Kart 8 does for Mario Kart what Super Mario Galaxy did for 3D Mario games. That sentence is almost impossible to read, but I think you'll understand where I'm coming from.

So, in short: I love Mario Kart 8. I think it's great.

How are you all finding it?


    If there were two things I could change about the game, it would be:
    1. Give us some control options. My poor thumb gets a little sore holding A to accelerate like it's 1999.
    2: Yes, Battle Mode is ruined. Played it once, have not returned to it. Bring back the arenas!
    Apart from that, though, literally everything else about the game is perfect. The graphics, the incredible music, the addictive online play... This is exactly what the Wii U needed.

      You can accelerate by pushing forward on the right joystick also.

        Or by pressing Y... i know it's a minor thing, but because of my hand being the size it is, it has litterally blown my mind the change it has made pressing Y instead XD

          Sir, you have single handedly saved my hand, I cannot thank you enough :D

      Totally agree with the holding A the entire game thing. It doesn't matter if you can push up or whatever instead, why are we holding anything if in 99.99% of cases we intend to never let go?

        I would despise an automatic acceleration mechanic. That would be an abomination, I enjoy being in control.

          Control of what? Maybe they should add a new mechanic where holding the left trigger keeps the TV on.

            In control of my acceleration. Like every other racing game.

              Holding the go botton nonstop is not control.

              Last edited 09/06/14 7:55 pm

                Have you ever driven a real car?

                  LOL, I get your point, but in Mario Kart the physics aren't like that. You're never supposed to not be accelerating. I just don't understand what you think you're controlling if your control is to hold down the button that makes the game work, and then let itgo when the race finishes. It is just an artifact of other racing games where it does work like a real car.

    Reason I bought a WiiU Basic this weekend. Probably the most fun ive had with the series since MarioKart 64.
    A great game which might help save this crappy console. Hopefully E3 unveils something cool.

    Last edited 09/06/14 11:25 am

    Really enjoying it! All the tracks are excellent.

    But yes - what's up with Battle Mode? Completely ruined.

    Also, minor gripe - why can't I hold an item behind me and pick up a second item anymore?

      YES THIS. I always did this to protect myself and double up. I am so bummed they took it out.

    If I could change ONE thing, it would be that I don't have a Wii U, and I really want one but studying doesn't pay the bills - working wives do. She wants to buy a PS4 to play KH3, but I don't think she realises how far away that is!

    I'm loving it. It's beautiful to look at and the racing feels natural and responsive. I love how vehicle customisation makes a significant difference to how the kart/bike performs, and finding a combination that works for you makes it feel very personal.

    Online play is so quick and seamless to get into I was really impressed. I agree with the criticism of Battle Mode though, but I believe they're adding arenas later on.

    Very much worth the purchase of the Wii U considering the great games that are already out and impending Smash Bros. A couple more knockout titles and this console could be very much back on track.

    Its amazing, I haven't laughed so much playing a game for years. The online is flawless and people are friendly for a change. It really does invoke all the feelings I used to get from the Snes and N64 Mariokart. Also getting a free games makes it such good value, am also loving Wind Waker. Happy days :)

    Yeah, it's fun but most of the time but it can grate the very definition of the fun very quickly. What it fun about being in 1st place, nearly at the finish line and getting 2 red shells and a blue shell in a span of 5 seconds and then coming 6th?. Lucky the Wii U gamepad is not now embedded in my TV.

    What happened to the days of winning by pure skill and not sheer dumb luck?

    But the thing with Mario Kart games is that everyone plays them for a couple of weeks and then it pretty much goes untouched until the next game in the series, i hope they do release some more tracks but i doubt it.

    Last edited 09/06/14 11:56 am

      Have you played MK8 yet? They fixed a lot of those issues since the Wii game.
      If you havnt played it yet, give it a shot. Single player is too easy but multiplayer is a huge improvement since the dreadful Wii game

      Last edited 09/06/14 12:38 pm

      This is such old criticism that is just weak nowadays. The blue shell has been around in every MK but the first and that never stopped the most skilled player from winning. If you are a really good player, you can get hit by two or three blue shells before losing. Not to mention that MK8 gives you a way to fight back blue shells.

      And the argument that people shelved it after two weeks is plain uninformed and reeks of ignorant hate. When Nintendo announced that they were shutting the online services for the Wii, there was a big backlash from all the players that were still playing MK Wii... more than 5 years after it was released.

    It is stunning. Gorgeous. The courses are really unique and well thought. The animations are awesome. It handles beautifully and it's as fun as MK always have been.

    But. It is a little bit too easy. It is full of wide, generous curves that encourage and reward drifting with little risk. The road is, most of the times, super wide and the chances of falling off few (and almost inconsequential with the super-quick Lakitu pick-ups and the permanence of your carried item). Kart-shoving has been much diminished. You get 3 star ranking just by coming first, etc, etc.

    The best way to realise this is by looking at the new iterations of traditional courses like Bowser's Castle and Rainbow Road. Sure, that Bowser's statue punching the road is awesome to look at, but hardly a hazard at all because you see it coming for so long. Compare it with the area of the Bowser statue in the Wii version, which forced you to do high speed jumps through rings of fire while avoiding a giant fireball and risking entering the ramp at a bad angle and there's no competition. And Rainbow road? Most of the time you could fit two rainbow roads from any other MK side by side on 8's RR. It's absurdly wide and half of the race is walled off from the edge, anyway! There are no sharp turns or tight S-shaped bends. I could keep going. The same policy seems to have been applied to the selection of the retro courses. The classical Desert course? Yeah, GC's, by far the easiest of the bunch. The "driving among other cars" one? Toad's Turnpike, arguably the easiest of them and made like 200% wider and with anti-gravity wall sliders to skip the busiest parts of the road. And so on.

    Combine with the subtle changes made to online racing and it's clear that Nintendo wanted to make MK8 super friendly and easy to pick up, at the cost of the more hardcore audience. As a business decision, I completely understand it and support it. They needed MK8 to have super wide appeal and be a console-seller. But as for me, I worry that I'll completely master it too quickly and then lose all appeal to me. Hopefully, this will be the console in which they'll start creating DLC cups in a later date that will be tailored to the now more expert masses that crave a challenge.

    Last edited 09/06/14 8:33 pm

    Just unlocked my gold kart last night. Only the second WiiU game I've played at length and it's good to get some use out of the console.

    But yeah, battle mode is shit and there should be lap times and a small mini map maybe.

    Pretty great, I just wish they'd given us a more diverse character selection, why do we need a baby version of everyone, 7 koopa kids and yet there's no Boo, Dry Bones, Diddy Kong to name a few. Just a small irritation, other than that enjoying it a lot and online or local matches are loads of fun too.

      Agreed. The koopalings are so boring... I'm just never going to end up using them.

    9.5/10 for this game!
    amazing game, its what i purchased the Wii U for and it delivered.
    2 criticisms.

    9.5/10 for this game!
    amazing game, its what i purchased the Wii U for and it delivered.
    2 criticisms.
    1). Battle mode is no longer :'(
    2). As with all MK games i start at 50cc and work my way up getting 3 stars on each, i was dissapointed to have unlocked every character halfway through the 100cc cups. Its like they forget about experienced gamers and made grand prix for kiddies. In saying this i havent had the time to get around to online play so hopefully thats better

    "View highlight reel" instead of "Next Race" being the first option after the single player races is kind of annoying. I keep going into the highlight reel which I am not all that interested in watching.

    Fun game. Plus, the free game promotion makes it a no-brainer.

    They should have had, buy a game and get a download code for MK8. I want easier access to it, not the other games they have on offer.

    here's my review of the game:

    Everyone has pointed out battle mode is balls, that baby Luigi Peach Daisy & Rosalina and whatever the fuck pink gold peach is are wastes of character spots and that lap times would be appreciated. What I don't dig about the game is what I haven't dug about every Mario Kart for a while - 16 new tracks and 16 old tracks per iteration of Mario Kart is not enough. After having the game for an hour and a half I have seen every track the game will ever have unless DLC is made available. Sure there's a squillion years of fun to be had playing with my family, friends and online but c'mon man. 16 new tracks is lazy. Even if these are some of the best ever.

    What can I say? It's another installment in the Mario Kart series, and a damn good one at that.

    Firstly, it looks damn good. Character/kart models are beautiful, animations are fluid, the only dsiappointment is the framerate drop when you get more than two players on the same console. While I accept that it's inevitable, it is noticable and saddening to see.

    Audio is great. It's worth noting that all the tracks have unique music now, and the character's little quips as you do a trick, pass someone, or nail them in the face with a shell are cute and clear.

    Controls are tighter then ever. Nothing's really changed, and that's a good thing. However, as my girlfriend likes to point out a lot, the changes to drifting are annoying (to some). No longer is there automatic drifting, and they've changed the drift button on the Wheel contorl scheme. While I personally don't mind it, she's chosen to use the Wii U gamepad over the wheel.

    As for general gameplay, it's nice to see kart customization back. I know that there's always going to be kart pieces better than all the others, but having the choice is nice. Hover kart sections add some new skills to the pot. Playing bumper car for speed boosts is always fun, and a green shell followed by ramming a player will see a huge distance being put between you and them.
    Now, while it was acceptable back in the day when we didn't have the rgeatest amount of space for games, the amount of tracks available this release is rather... disappointing. Sure they look great, they're fun, and memorable, I just wish there were more. While we're on that point, maybe some with a smidgin more difficulty? It's a kids game, I know, but when Rainbow Road, the track which generally boasts the most difficulty in the game, is childs play, you know you've dumbed it down too far.

    As an added bonus, the game is essentially a two-for-one deal. Register it before the end of the month (if I recall correctly) and you can choose one of (about) ten the titles to download for free. For that reason, if you wanted something like Monster Hunter 3, Pikmin, Wonderful 101 etc. it may be worth checking out whether they're available through this deal. No reason not to get two games when you can do it for the price of one.

    All in all, it's a fantastic addition to the Mario Kart series and I know it'll keep me entertained for quite some time.

    Last edited 09/06/14 5:37 pm

    Mario Kart has returned with a smattering of new features and some amazing new courses.
    It's as fun as ever unlocking new vehicle parts and racers - even though some of the options make for little more than an aesthetic change - there's plenty of ways to craft the perfect ride for your racing style. While some might balk at the character roster, once I had unlocked Miis as a driver option there's been no finer fuel to my vanity.

    While some features, like carrying 2 items at once are missed, the whole game feels more balanced than ever so it's hard to bemoan the changes given their systemic effect on gameplay. The online multiplayer is a mad dash with pole position constantly being exchanged. The offline GPs are challenging fun - open to up to four players to aim for the coveted 3 star ranking and everyone's effort adds to breaking open the locked features. As such I've been enjoying a lot of multiplayer... I'm disappointed that there is no option to use the game pad controller as a second player screen or a rear vision mirror. I suppose the Wii U is giving it's all to pump out the beautiful graphics at a solid 60fps. As it is, its grossly underutilised and really fails to deliver on Nintendo's promise to prove its technology. The horn is useless, the map is uninformative - and given the strength of the multiplayer its a shame the resource can not be shared. These unfortunate compromises, a lazy battle mode, no options screen or licence tallying your coins, tricks or victories make the game feel a little unfinished.

    Mercifully, where it matters Mario Kart is once again a blast. Yeahy!

    Totally agree with Mark. The DS version was always my favourite, but for some reason, MK8 just grabs me. The controls, the graphics... I think it's my new favourite.

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