The sweet, delicious crack known as Mario Kart Wii.
to Nintendo?! I’m beginning to believe that Nintendo is recovering from
that severe head-up-the-ass injury that took place between 1996 and
2005. First they release Zelda, Twilight Princess… and the people
rejoice at its beauty and depth. Then comes Super Paper Mario… and
the people rejoice that the 2-D platformer is genuine, and has a lot of
creative heart. After that comes Super Mario Galaxy… and the people
rejoiced as Nintendo breathed life into a STALE genre, and
single-handedly saved the platformer from certain doom… Then came
Super Smash Brothers Brawl, and the people rejoiced as one of the most
anticipated follow-ups of all time does not fail to impress with its
multi-multi-multi faceted fighting… And now, they go and make one of
the best "Casual Racing" games ever. You ask: "Do the people rejoice?"
and to that I answer: "Does a bear crap in the woods?"
In 1992, Nintendo released on its SNES system the game Super Mario
Kart. People were already used to racers of various sorts like Test
Drive, Road Rash, etc… But this one had something different to offer.
It was cartoony, semi-3-dimensional, and instead of your traditional
John Doe racer, you raced as someone from the Mario Universe. The game
was a smash hit, selling over 8 million copies, which at the time was
unheard of. Fast forward a few years to the age of the N64. True 3-D,
better maps, and more interactive environments are given to its
follow-up Mario Kart 64… as well as something the masses would begin
to called "rubberband AI"… Years later GameCube comes to the scene,
and with better graphics and the concept of team racing Mario Kart
Double Dash is released to less than warm reviews (compared to its
predecessors). Years later, in 2008, Nintendo (following a HUGE
snowballing trend in it’s quality of games) releases Mario Kart Wii.
So what’s the story in Mario Kart Wii? Pure racing; no story needed.
Just make sure that you get ahead of everyone else, and if you’re
behind anyone, blow the crap outta them.
There are plenty of changes though from its predecessors.
First, there’s the new gameplay mechanics. Right out of the box, the
game comes with a peripheral racing wheel that your Wii-mote slips
into. I will say that the wheel adds a nice touch, you actually get the
feel of the racing game better, and the playing field is definitely
leveled between amateur and pro. But if the wheel isn’t your thing,
there are 5 different controller options to choose from: Wheel,
Wii-mote, Wii-mote and Chuk, Classic Controller, and yes, even GameCube
controller. In the game itself drifting has evolved from the likes of
the handheld Mario Karts, always there to provide a speed boost around
a blocking foe. Tricks have been added to the game, and though they are
not specific, they do add the bonus of a quick boost of speed if done
at the right time. Motorcycles are now playable in the 100cc and 150cc
Second, the items list has grown tremendously. Among the many added
are mushrooms which make your character a giant, impervious to
practically anything; and a Bullet Bill, which turns you into a bullet,
taking out everything you hit in from of you and making you jump ahead
at least 4-5 positions.
Next, the number of racers has changed, and this is BIG. 12 racers
now are on the track which makes for a more chaotic, but challenging
game. This also helps fill the larger tracks, and makes for a more
scattered AI in terms of depth.
And there’s no way I could leave out the multiplayer in Wii Kart.
The game has NO lag, and very very few connection problems. While the
depth of it is kept to racing against strangers from either your region
or the world OR racing friends (via Friend Code), the game still
delivers with the kind of fun that AI just can’t deliver in this day.
Graphics– While not as "run for its money" as Mario Galaxy, the
game still looks pretty, and runs at an uninterrupted (smooth as silk)
60fps with 16:9 support. Nintendo definitely spent some time fine
Sound– Your standard, garden variety Mario Kart music. Nothing
fancy, but the song always fights the atmosphere and adds to it. Hardly
any voicework besides a taunt here and there. Sound effects are clean,
clear and crisp.
Presentation– Easy to use menus without a lot of flash, but a LOT
of style. Mostly rendered stuff without any real sense (or need) for
Gamplay– Tight steering, decent mechanics, hardly any learning
curve, and "rubberband AI" has been reduced to "You get less powerful
items if you’re ahead".
Replay– The multiplayer is fun, and addictive. You’ll be amazed at
how many hours you can spend on this game never doing the same thing
twice. Single player is expanded greatly (comparable to DS version),
and co-op modes only get better and better.