Nintendo has been having a hard time where the Wii U is concerned, the best-selling game on the system only sold 4.16 million copies (New Super Mario Bros. U). With the ship taking on water what can Nintendo do? Grab onto one of their most universally enjoyed series and make it irresistible. Introducing, Mario Kart 8.
Mario Kart 8 will have a total of 32 courses. To put that in perspective, both Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Double Dash had 16. But to be fair, 16 of these tracks are new, while the other 16 tracks are retro courses from past installments of the Mario Kart series. This Mario Kart also changes a lot of other aspects of play, coins are still awarded for races but they are now used for buying new equipment. Stars are also awarded to racers which take the place of points in past games, changing the tournament rankings.
The karts in Mario Kart 8 seamlessly transform as the course requires it. That means if you take a huge jump a glider will pop out, or if you go underwater your vehicle will produce a fan to propel you. This is a returning feature that allows for levels to become more enveloping as they allow for a greater overall theme. One example would be the new course Sunshine Airport. You begin the race inside the airport but make your way onto the landing strip, and eventually back into the airport. The involvement in each level proves that Nintendo is doing an exceptional job of creating legitimate and well made course design with overall aesthetic that feels overarching.
Mario Kart 8 is loaded, it is bursting at the seams with content. Mario Kart Wii had a lot of characters, (two dozen) but Mario Kart 8 has a total of 30 characters. All seven of the koopalings make an appearance, but Bowser Jr. does not for some reason. It is also odd that there is no Diddy Kong or any other Kong besides Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze did well and had at least three more characters that would’ve been perfect for joining the Mario Kart crew (sorry Cranky Kong). It looks like Nintendo is sticking with the more current world of Mario. Sorry to say there will be no random awesome throwback characters like Admiral Bobbery or Geno.
However, half of the courses are tracks brought back from older Mario Kart games, some of them have even been revamped and tweaked. One such course is Sherbet Lake from Mario Kart: Double Dash, remember how annoying it was to hit a Shy Guy and get pushed off the ice? Now when you fall into the ice your kart will transform and you will continue to race underwater. This also means that other sections of the course have gaps in the ice that were not there previously. The new Sherbet like is simultaneously more dangerous and more forgiving than in the past. Do you remember the worst part about playing Toad’s Turnpike on Mario Kart 64? Constantly running into cars. Mario Kart 8 brings back those cars, but game many of them now sport ramps.
Four new items appear in Mario Kart 8 and they look amazing. One addition is the Boomerang Flower, which gives you a boomerang (surprise). The Piranha Plant sits on the front of your kart and chomps at obstacles or other players, it also gives you a small boost each time it hits someone. The Crazy 8 gives the player a massive, eight items. Finally, the Super Horn, which has the ability to counter a Blue Shell. Yes, that is correct. The Super Horn emits a shockwave the can destroy any item.
Nintendo is aware that Mario Kart 8 has the potential to save them, after all Mario Kart 7 on the 3DS sold close to ten million copies. In addition, Nintendo is also creating something called Mario Kart TV. This service allows players to watch and upload videos matches from Mario Kart 8 and will be available on smartphones and PCs.
Wow, Mario Kart 8 looks surprisingly good. It has the potential to allure casual players with old courses, new items, and tons of characters. Not to mention all of those things are what Mario Kart fans already love, add that with an amazing soundtrack and revamped a battle mode and you have something good enough to remind gamers that Nintendo has a console with fun games. Also, if you buy Mario Kart 8 you get a free downloaded game. The selection of games include, Pikmin 3, New Super Mario Bros. U, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, and Wii Party U.