Review by Kunlun
"Kart racing fun for everyone."
November 11, 2008 - Nintendo's long running Mario Kart series has made it onto the Wii and like it's predecessors, it is very entertaining. Launching shells at fellow racers has never been more fun. Mario Kart Wii is a game that appeals to a casual gamer that likes to put in a game and play it for a while as well as hardcore gamers that like to beat everything in a game. The four controller setups that can be used in the game are the Wii Remote with Nunchuck, Classic Controller, GameCube Controller, and the Wii Wheel (comes with game). Using the Wii Wheel is the most interactive, but not the most precise way of controlling the vehicles. Many veterans prefer using the other controller options as they offer tighter controls. In addition to the karts, bikes will also be available to race with. Single player mode offers a ton of challenges and things to unlock so beating it thoroughly will take lots of time. However, the multiplayer modes the game offers is really where the game shines.
There are a few different game types to choose from in single player mode: Grand Prix, Time Trials, VS, and Battle. Most of the single player experience lies within Grand Prix and Time Trials as that is where the majority of the characters and vehicles are unlocked.
Grand Prix lets players race three difficulty levels against the CPU, 50cc (easiest), 100cc, and 150cc (hardest). Initially, four grand prix are available to race in for each difficulty level and as you win the grand prix, new ones are unlocked. There are eight grand prix for each of the difficulty levels. Eventually, this does get rather repetitive, until you beat the 150cc grand prix. Then you unlock Mirror Mode grand prix which is essentially the race tracks seen through a mirror view and it makes the game interesting again. Be warned that there will be lots of frustrating moments in this mode while trying to win each race as cheap items can ruin a race.
Time Trials lets racers set a time racing alone on a track or race against the "ghosts" of the developers of the game. Beating the ghosts will help unlock new characters and vehicles. The best times are kept on record and the player can actually compare their stats with players around the world in the Mario Kart Wii channel, in the main menu.
VS allows the player to customize a race and allows team races where a player can team up with the CPU to race other CPU teams.
Battle puts the player in an arena type environment where karts battle each other using shells while trying to complete an objective.
There are a few multiplayer modes available, both locally and online. Playing locally with people in the room is fun as there is split screen mode with up to four players. One-on-one racing, team racing, and racing against the CPU options are all available. Playing online on Nintendo WFC is really where most of the fun is. Two player online is available and both players will be put in the same race. If a license with a Mii is being used then a player can build up or lose their VR (VS rating) and BR (Battle rating) points. 9999 points is the max for both ratings, but getting there is a tough task to accomplish. Racers are chosen by how many points each participant has, they will be matched with player with a similar rating. The VS mode is very addicting and will keep players coming back for more. It can however, become frustrating as some races are lost because of cheap items used by opponents, especially near the end of the race.
Mario Kart Wii's graphics are decent; they work very well for the game. Everything is clearly represented so there is no confusion on where the road leads or what items have been picked up. The music is very kiddy, but it fits the theme of the game. Sound effects are pretty good, each item makes a distinct sound so a player will know what's about to hit him just from hearing it come at them.
Mario Kart Wii is an incredibly fun and entertaining game, however it does become frustrating at times which may cause some people get quit for awhile. Not taking the game too seriously is the best way to play, but it's hard not to with the competitive multiplayer modes. Anyone and everyone can find enjoyment from this game so it's a good game to play alone or when friends and family visit.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/11/08
Game Release: Mario Kart Wii (US, 04/27/08)
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