Mario Kart started as a racing game for the SNES. It features Mario characters racing in little go-karts. This isn't just any racing game though, it has many twists and turns to it. While obstacles are common in racing games, would you find walking fungus in Need For Speed? Probably not. Would you find RACING fungus in Indianapolis 500 Legends for Wii and DS? No. This is what separates Mario Kart from the rest of the crowd of racing games. Mario Kart has Koopa shells, banana peels, stars, and a whole bunch of items involved that can be used to your advantage, or in some cases, the opponent's advantage. Mario Kart has greatly evolved since the SNES days, and it continues to awe it's fans to this very day.
Now, on to Mario Kart Wii.
Mario Kart Wii has some things that the previous games don't and uses those new features to it's advantage. In my opinion, this game was what Marvman expected, it has new features and takes them a little too far. Don't make this get your hopes down, because Marvman never said it wasn't fun. What are those features? Let's take a look.
Grand Prix- A basic four-race circuit. For winning a certain place, you can win points. Whoever has the most points at the end of the circuit wins a trophy. Players have the option of choosing one of three modes: 50cc (for beginners), 100cc (for average players), and 150cc (for expert players).
Time Trials- Players race on courses that they have unlocked with three mushrooms (speed boosts) to use throughout the race as long as they don't fall of the track or run into enemies. Record times can be put into ghost form and sent over wi-fi to other players. Or, you can race the ghosts at any time.
VS- Players can be on their own or on CPU teams. Players can race on courses that they choose, even if they are from other cups. (For example, Let's say the player wants to race on Luigi Circuit and Mario Circuit. They are both in different cups, and the player can choose both of them is they wish.)
Battle- Players can either grab coins on the battle arenas or duke it out in the balloon battles. In Coin Runners, a new mode, players must grab coins within a time limit. Getting hit by items or an obstacle results in a loss of coins. Balloon Battle is when players must hit each other with items to cause a loss of balloons. Whoever's team gives out the most successful hits within the time limit wins.
The Wii Wheel, the basic controls for Mario Kart Wii.
The Wii Wheel is probably one of my all time favorite things about this game. The controls are simple, so that anyone of any age can pick it up and play. One button accelerates, one button causes you to go in reverse, one to fire items, and turning should be obvious. Marvman likes the controls to this. And if the Wii Wheel isn't for you, then you can use a GCN controller, Classic Controller, or Wii/Nunchuck combo.
Marvman digged the graphics. They are detailed (look at the Miis cheering on the sidelines) and they are some of the best the Wii has seen. The white menus suit the Wii perfectly (what color is the console? You guessed it) and the character designs are great to look at. They could be better, but you couldn't ask for much more. It's kind of hard to find an image to show you, so, how about a video?
A trailer of Mario Kart Wii.
Marvman's personal favorite, the new Rainbow Road.
The gameplay was original. Koopa shells flying at you, a heavyweight knocking you off the track (not a problem though) and a great feeling once you dodge a spiny shell. It doesn't get better than this. Many Mario Kart veterans and newcomers are pleased with the way this game turned out. Marvman was very pleased once Marvman picked up the Wii Wheel, Marvman sensed a great game was about to be played, and it was.
Not what you would expect mainly in a Next Gen follow up, but it gets the job done. The visuals are more of Xbox quality. Could have probably used more polish.
Very responsive controls. However, those who played Double Dash for the GameCube, and are used to playing with controllers may want to use a gamecube controller, instead of the Wii Wheel.
The sounds were great. There is a new addition to Mario Kart that makes use of the Wii speaker: a warning siren goes off when a potentially dangerous obstacle is coming toward you. It really helps once you know what to expect. Also, the music is original, except for classic courses. They have the same music, but it has been a little "modernized" to meet today's expectations. The soothing music of Rainbow Road, the upbeat tune of Luigi Circuit, the music sets the mood greatly.
The music is catchy, not overly chimey, but it what else expect in a Nintendo benchmark First Party game. Rainbow Road as usuall has the best music, but the SFX and the voices of the characters and your own Mii may annoy you. Otherwise, well done audio wise.
Ah, Wi-Fi. Racing against people across the globe. Did you think that was all? Of course not. The two modes to Wi-fi are Standard Racing (race until your little heart gives out. There is a kind of ranking system to it using points, which go up with wins and down with losses) and Battle (Battle it out with friends over the internet. See the above description of Battle mode for more) that will keep you entertained for hours. You can send ghost data (time trial records), enter tournaments with certain goals set up by Nintendo themselves, and much more. This game has so much Wi-Fi written all over it, a channel has been dedicated to its awesomeness. The Mario Kart Wii Channel has tournament updates, displays to show when your friends are online, help sending ghost data, and more. Marvman won't spoil it all for you.
A new feature on Wi-Fi is that you can race with another human player. How cool is that? And points, as mentioned above, are a sort of online ranking system that doesn't have a leader board, but shows how good you are. You points go up with wins and down with major losses. If you get in the middle, it often goes up or down by a little.
- It supports up to 12 players at a time.
- Points go up and down with wins and losses. You start with 5000 points, so don't worry about being at 0 all the time.
- If you have another human player with you, they will not have a point total, and they will not affect your total.
Marvman will go ahead and give a Wi-Fi rating for this Wi-Fi enabled game. The Wi-Fi part of MK Wii is the bread and butter of this game, and why it was rushed into release right away. For the first time racing against 12 people on line.
This game had its ups and downs, and Marvman still liked it. It was worth my money and it was a great deal since a Wii Wheel came with it. Nintendo has surprised him again, bringing its fans what they really wanted. New features, new characters, new ways to play.
- Had great Wi-Fi.
- Awesome graphics.
- Easy controls.
- Introduced many new things.
- Lacked a bit of fun factor with multiplayer.
- Gets repetitive occasionally.
- Could use a slightly better Retro selection.
And here is what courses are in Mario Kart Wii, to wrap up this review. Marvman listed the first two cups of each so that you can discover the rest yourself.
Mushroom Cup (easy courses)- Luigi Circuit, Moo Moo Meadows, Mushroom Gorge, Toad's Factory
Flower Cup (getting harder)- Mario Circuit, Coconut Mall, DK Summit, Wario's Gold Mine
Shell Cup (easy)- GCN Peach Beach, DS Yoshi Falls, SNES Ghost Valley, N64 Mario Raceway
Banana Cup (getting harder)- N64 Sherbet Land, GBA Shy Guy Beach, DS Delfino Square, GCN Waluigi Stadium