Mario Kart 8 - Wii U

Also known as: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe', 'Mario Kart 8: Limited Edition

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Requires: Wii U Gamepad
Also for: Switch
Viewed: 3D Third-person, over the shoulder Genre:
Racing: Karting
Media: Custom optical disc Arcade origin:No
Developer: Nintendo Soft. Co.: Nintendo
Publishers: Nintendo (GB/GB)
Released: 30 May 2014 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 3+
Accessories: Wii Remote, Nunchuk, Wii U Pro Controller, Classic Controller Pro

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Summary

Mario Kart has long been a highlight on Nintendo consoles, and with the eight in the series we have a brand new iteration that aims to continue the legacy on the Wii U.

As is usual, there are thirty-two different courses split into eight separate cups - four brand new ones and four retro sets, dipping into some of the best tracks from each of the previous releases.

When you first load up the game you're presented with a decent array of characters, but even more are made available through unlocks, all of which have their own subtle differences. Collecting coins brings more custom options for your vehicles, and yes, we've still got a mix of cars and bikes. Whatever your play style, you'll have a combination that will work for you.

The Big New Thing for this latest Mario Kart is the anti-gravity elements of the courses. At times your vehicle will speed over a blue bar that turns your wheels into glowing, floating... things that allow you to race sideways, upside down, all over the place. This opens up even more short cuts around the levels, and you'll be keeping an eye out for those places that allow you to cut precious split seconds off your time. Sure, it may appear a little gimmicky at first, but once you get the hang of the camera tilting back and forth you'll quickly realize that it adds a whole new level of fun to the game.

Of the brand new courses, there are some that will no doubt be regarded as future classics - the hectic activity of Sunshine Airport and the point-to-point action of Mount Wario both spring to mind. There's also the Daft Punk inspired insanity of the Electrodrome, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and challenging courses from the whole series.

The four retro cups, as you'll be well aware, originally had no anti-grav sections, so many of them have been subtly remixed to incorporate this new game element. Some have been left well alone, sure, but those that have been altered still retain their original charm.

All the classic items are still in there (yes, even the evil Blue Shell) but there are a couple of new additions. The Boomerang is a curious one, great for chucking at bunched up groups, but the one that everyone will want is the 8 - eight different items appear around you, all of which can be triggered when they're in front of you.

Another new introduction is Mario Kart TV, where you get to upload your best races online, cutting your favourite highlight reels and earning well deserved plaudits.

With a great balance of the old and the new, Mario Kart 8 is a very worthy addition to the series.

Artwork

Mario Kart 8 - Wii U Artwork

Mario Kart 8 - Wii U Artwork

Mario Kart 8 - Wii U Artwork

Mario Kart 8 - Wii U Artwork