Review by Jump_Man7
One of the Wii's Must Own Titles
To say that Mario Kart is one f the Mario franchise's sports titles is a gross understatement. It's practically it's own series now, debuting it's eight game. Mario Kart Wii is definitely one of the Wii's best games. It's a fun, addicting game with tons of unlockables and loads of replay ability. It also arguably has the best online experience of any Wii game.
The game pits you against eleven other racers on one of 32 different courses, 16 new and 16 retro courses. The retro courses are a great addition, full of nostalgia. But nostalgia alone doesn't keep most of them from being kind of boring. Don't get me wrong, some of them are great, but stages like Bowser's Castle N64 and SNES Mario Circuit are just terrible courses when compared to the newer ones.
However, the new courses are all great. With the exception of a few rotten apples, they are all fantastic additions to Mario Kart. Koopa Cape, Maple Treeway, and Coconut Mall are a couple of tracks that will blow you away.
Mario Kart Wii also introduces some new items. Mega Mushroom, POW, and the Thundercloud being new additions. In short, these additions are just bad. Mega Mushroom is decent, the POW block is worthless and the Thundercloud is just annoying. Some returning items from the DS include the Bullet Bill, and the Squid. The Squid is also another terrible item that just doesn't work at all.
Of course, the other items return too. Bananas, Red Shells and Stars oh my! They all return and they're all awesome (except for that damn blue shell -_-)
The gameplay remains the same except with the addition of bikes, and the removal of snaking. Bikes are a great addition. They differ from karts in that they can do wheelies which give you a speed boost, but they don't get a big boost from drifting. Also, tricks have been added. When you go up a ramp, you can pull off a trick by shaking the Wii Remote. Tricks give a speed boost when done successful. They are a fantastic addition to the game.
The game also includes an impressive 25 characters, including the Mii. Yes that's right the Mii is in it. Also included are the usual Mario characters, but also some surprises that I'll leave for you to discover (hint, FUNKY KONG IS IN DA GAME!) There are a total of 36 karts and bikes altogether, but only twelve are available for each weight class. So light characters use light karts, medium characters use medium karts, ect.
The game also comes packed with a Wii Wheel, which you'll probably use once or twice to try it out, and then switch to the Nunchuck or Gamecube Pad. It's not that the Wii Wheel is bad or anything, I mean it works, but it's just that controlling is so much easier with the other options. In total there are four different controllers you can use, including the Classic Controller which I have not tried yet.
WiFi works almost flawlessly in this game. There is virtually no lag, you can jump into a game really quickly, no Friend Codes are required and you can play with split screens. It is probably the best WiFi experience you'll get on the Wii.
Battle Mode is back with new and old courses. There's a coin runner and balloon battle mode. In Coin Runner, whichever team (no more one on one, it's only teams now) can get the most coins win. Balloon battle has got some big changes in that it's no longer last man standing but a game where whoever gets hit the most loses. It's a fun game, but they should've just added in standard Balloon Battle and this game as two different battle modes
Now onto the negatives. The game is very, very frustrating at times. Getting a star rating on 150cc is just brutal (you have to do that to unlock a character) and races just usually end up screwing you over. The game is fun, but not for the easily frustrated. Also, this game is no graphical powerhouse. It looks like a Gamecube title.
Besides that those two, this game really has no other flaws. Races are just so fun (despite some frustrations) WiFi is a blast, Time Trials is really fun, and the controls work really great. If you have a Wii, then this is a must own title.
At the end of the day, this game is just so damn fun, Yeah it's not a graphical powerhouse, but it never was meant to be. The addition of bikes and tricks, the new characters, the fantastic courses, the nearly perfect WiFi experience, and the unlockables all make this game one of the best for the Wii. Go get this game if you have a Wii
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Mario Kart Wii (w/ Racing Wheel) (US, 04/27/08)
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