Review by panargirou
"A great addition to the Mario Kart series"
Mario Kart Wii is an excellent addition to the Mario Kart series. The core game is the same as always, but Nintendo has now added bikes, online play, more racers per game, team battle modes, and the Wii wheel. People have been comparing it to other Mario Kart games, but it's hard to crown one as "best." This game seems to have a worse battle mode than previous versions, and so far there has been some trouble with online play. However, the local racing is superb, and I look forward to spending many hours playing Mario Kart Wii!
The first thing new about this game is the Wii Wheel. It felt very odd at first but very quickly got more comfortable. When you go off jumps, you can shake the wheel to perform tricks for boosts. If the Wii Wheel isn't your thing, you can use many other (any other) control scheme, however, the game keeps track of how often you use the Wii Wheel and displays it next to your name online when you're using it.
Online play worked very well when I first got it home. As I waited for the previous match to end, I was allowed to watch. Then we played, and I noticed no lag. I only raced; I haven't yet tried online battle mode. The next day when I tried, I couldn't connect. I played online with a friend although there were problems. First, we traded Wii friend codes because Mario Kart Wii has a feature that uses the Wii system friend codes to trade Mario Kart Wii friend codes. However, even after we added each other, it wouldn't confirm so we traded Mario Kart Wii friend codes manually. I entered his lobby, got kicked out, entered again, got kicked out, made my own lobby, and then he joined. I do not know if this was a connection issue or an issue of confusion. We played a game and it worked very well. The next game disconnected in the middle, giving both of us victories, and then I couldn't connect. At that point I gave up and quit. I'm hoping this was a fluke, but I'm not gonna keep my hopes up.
The bikes are more sensitive than the karts, but I think they're better than the Karts because you can dodge things faster. However, they're much lighter. The weight difference isn't noticeable against other bikes, but when playing against karts, avoid hitting them if you're on a bike. The levels are cool and gorgeous. I've been very happy with them. My favorite stage so far is Coconut Mall. In it there are escalators going up and down. If you're driving up, you have to make sure to pick the correct escalator or you'll be slowed down. Battle mode is now two teams battling against each other rather than a free for all. In balloon battle, after you lose all your balloons, you're able to respawn. You can not be killed permanently. The other battle mode is coin runner. Coins are scattered throughout the stage, and the team with the most coins wins. You can knock coins out of enemies by striking them with items. While the battle mode used to be my favorite, it seems much more chaotic in Mario Kart Wii. I don't like it as much because it seems there is less strategy involved.
There are four "licenses," which function as save files. They physically show what medals you've received on which courses, and also keep track of all your other information. Besides being able to earn a bronze, silver, or gold cup, you also get a letter rank. Once you receive all stars, you get a star next to your name online. When you receive all two stars, you get two stars, and when you receive all triple stars, you get three starts. If you use the Wii Wheel enough, there will also be a golden Wii Wheel icon next to your name when you play online.
Overall, Mario Kart Wii is a wonderful update to the series but not quite as polished as it could be. The racing seems on par with previous games in the series, but if you want to play competitive battle mode, play Mario Kart 64. However, if you're looking for some gorgeous and awesome racing, Mario Kart Wii is perfect!
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/29/08
Game Release: Mario Kart Wii (US, 04/27/08)
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