Review by joojy

"New elements introduced in the latest installment makes Mario Kart Wii a fresh and also exciting experience all-round."

Mario and his gang are at it again with the popular and successful Mario Kart franchise filling twists, turns, joy and frustration. Now the highly-anticipated Mario Kart has finally landed on Wii hence the name "Mario Kart Wii". The game has followed a similar pattern with it's predecessors and while adding a number of tweaks and introducing new elements that sure to make a huge impact on how each and everyone one of us will play in this new Mario Kart game.

Firstly, the game can be played in many ways such as with the Wheel, Gamecube Controller, Nunchuck and even the Classic Controller. The controls are pretty different from one another but it shouldn't be a bother if you try to use them all. The controls are easy to master and simple but the Wheel at times can be unforgivingly unresponsive. While it is easy to learn, it is tough to master as there are certain tips and techniques if you really want to excel and master the game; while competing with the very best and also 150cc.

Nothing has really changed as their is the 'drift' which is a vital technique to learn if you want to win a fair share of races. To drift you must have manual on as there is 'manual or 'automatic'. Like what it says, automatic simply turns for you but you won't get any boost. In a nutshell, manual should be chosen who are familiar with the game's mechanics and for intermediate and higher players only while automatic are those whose just trying out and want to get get the feel at the game at the same time hoping for no disadvantages or punishments for not choosing manual. Anyway, after you drift for a while, you get a small boost. Compare to the other games, it takes longer and it all depends for how long you drift making the infamous 'snaking' technique (which you basically drift continuously in a straight line forming a snake pattern) nearly impossible while you it is still indeed possible; it's much more ineffective. The game also introduces to bikes which you can do wheelies for a short-time and tricks which you can do in mid-air for a small boost. It's a nice introduction to the series meaning there's more variety involved but it might cause stir-up for not following it's name as 'kart'. Nevertheless, it's a welcome addition to the franchise.

Onto the main game, you can play the Grand Prix which are divided into 50, 100, 150cc and also the infamous Mirror Mode. 50 cc is mainly for beginners, 100cc should be for for intermediate players, 150cc is the challenging and usually for the advanced players, Mirror Mode is just like 150cc but the tracks are reversed which makes the experience interesting and fresh. By winning cups which include tracks, you'll unlock more of them or even a new character. There is a huge character roster including characters you already might be familiar and some new ones. The character classes are divided into heavy, medium and light classes each having unique advantages and weakness which also applies to the vehicles you choose. The tracks are mostly retro tracks that are being remade and 16 new ones for the pleasure. Although it may seem a bit lazy, there still a wide diversity of courses between one and another. Time trials is here and it is as addicting as ever as you'll be constantly wanting to beat your record time and there's even online rankings for it too. With so many characters, tracks, modes (include battle mode, where you play mini-games like coin battle and balloon battle), you'll find yourself to have heaps of fun.

While the game is fun, at the same time it is also very frustrating if you attempt the 150cc. The opponents have a 'rubberband' AI which haves many advantages over you and the item system is very frustrating as many times you'll most likely being hit many times in a row since the higher your position, the worse the items you received when you get boxes from the tracks as you race. It's understandable why the developers did this so everyone in the race have a chance instead of pure skill but it is too inconsistent and can make veterans unhappy since anyone can beat anyone without requiring skill based on the item system. Thankfully, there are options to change and also have features that effect how you race, the number of races.

The graphics in the game and the tracks are actually quite decent and it is good to see how the developer taking extra effort of enhancing the old ones from DS, 64 and the SNES. The sound is wonderful as everything seems natural and crispy but while the main tune and outside music may seem catchy for a while, it quickly gets repetitive and annoying although there various of music tracks to keep the atmosphere exciting for a while.

Aside from the single player, there are also multiplayer as you can play in teams with or against a friend in the versus mode and battle mode. Not only that , you can also play on Wi-Fi which can played Continental, Worldwide or even friends. There is also a ranking system to measure how well you are but not really to an extend. All in all, Online is very fun, exciting and has hardly any lag. It's a disappointment if you dont't have Wi-Fi but for those you do, it is likely going to make you come back for more and more.

The series has changed over the past years with different tweaks in each game and this one is no different. The game stacks up well among other Mario Kart games in gameplay, multiplayer and other various modes. It will appeal to nearly anyone since it is easy to hop in and play (although hard to master) but while it is well polished game overall, there are times when it is really frustrating due to it's flaws. While it may not be the best game for its kind, it manages to surprise us once more with it's amazing replay value and the new introduction of the exhilarating online multiplayer. This is a game that cannot be missed and a must-buy if you own a Wii.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 11/19/09, Updated 09/29/10

Game Release: Mario Kart Wii (AU, 04/24/08)

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