Mario Kart Wii
Grab your Wii Wheel and race!
Posted 5 years ago By - Jay Acevedo
Since the inception of the first Mario Kart on the SNES, the franchise has seen 5 versions of the game coming to different consoles and gaining a lot of fans around the world. With the arrival of the Wii, it was a matter of time before Nintendo released a sixth version of the game using the intuitive controls of the console. Is Mario Kart Wii a winner?
Gameplay & Features
In Mario Kart Wii, the players can choose any one of up to 25 unique characters (counting your Mii) to drive their karts (or bikes), which is more vehicles than any of its predecessors and each has its own driving techniques, advantages and disadvantages. The game includes a total of 32 different tracks, half of which are remakes of tracks from previous Mario Kart games. That’s a lot of tracks! The “question mark blocks” are back only this time some new power-ups are available. I won’t spoil you the surprise but they’re very fun and quirky, there’s even one that can make you win a close race pretty easy.
In terms of controls, five schemes are available: the Wii Wheel, a wheel-shaped plastic shell that comes bundled with the game and houses the Wiimote, the Wii Remote alone tilted on its side, the Remote with the Nunchuk, the Game Cube controller and the Wii Classic Controller. Although each player will have its own preference, it’s hard not to resist to the Wii Wheel. Why use a standard controller when all the fun resides in the motion controls? Sensitive in some areas but the experience was almost flawless. Can’t complain!
The three “CC” racing modes are back of course. The 50cc mode features karts, the 100cc mode features motorcycles and the 150cc mode has a mix of both. However, all modes can eventually be unlocked to be used with both cars and bikes. The 150cc difficulty has to be mentioned in the review… It’s painfully hard and unforgiving whatever the vehicle you’re using. The A.I between 100cc and 150cc is brutal and the challenge could leave you speechless for a brief time. Nothing’s more frustrating than having the lead for the whole race and then getting hit by a shell or sliding over a banana and finish in 12th place…Watch your back and be alert while playing at 150cc…seriously!
There are four modes of play: Grand Prix, Time Trial, Versus, and
Another feature returning from previous Mario Karts is the use of multiple karts for each character. Each playable character starts out with a choice of three karts and three motorcycles, and as you progress through the game, you can unlock another three special karts and motorcycles for each character. The motorcycles are nice addition but I firmly believe that the karts are the way to go!
The game has also the option of installing the Mario Kart Channel to the Wii Menu, which presents the current local and international rankings, as well as the option of sending or downloading saved time-trial ghost data. The Kart Channel also serves up racing challenges, competitions, from Nintendo itself. The channel also lets you see if any members in your Friend List are currently online, so as to join and participate in a race with them. In addition to racing, you can watch other races in progress using the Online Spectator option.
Introduced for the first time in Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart Wii also makes use of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. This features online versus racing and battle modes, both of which are capable of up to twelve simultaneous competitors. The game features online text chat where you’re be able to select from a set of predetermined phrases, though only when playing with friends. Voice communication is not present in the game and I don’t know if it could’ve been added. But frankly, the last thing I want to experience while playing Mario Kart is a bunch of crazy kids yelling in my ears. So I can live without voice communication, thank you very much!
Many European and Japanese users have noted some lag issues online and framerate drops while others had nothing to report. I guess it always depends on how your internet connection will handle it in the end.
Frankly, I don’t think it would be fair, in this case, to bash the online capabilities of the game that early since the Wii Online service itself is rather new and inexperienced (we had the proof with Smash Bros).
Graphics & Sound
Graphics are really neat and no flagrant framerate issues have been noted except when you play local multiplayer, where graphics have been dumbed down a bit. Some tracks are very beautiful and well rendered while others disappointed me (Grumble Volcano…I’m looking in your direction!). The inclusions of classic SNES tracks are also well welcomed but some of them feel really outdated.
As for sounds, well the soundtrack is pretty simple and doesn’t reinvent anything. Voice-overs can be really annoying at times but gladly, hearing special sound effects through my Wiimote was something special.
I was a big fan of the 1992 SNES game and seventeen years later, this game got me hooked once more. Although the addition of multiplayer action over the internet is a nice feature, I’ve always been a fan of local Mario Kart action with family and/or friends. And I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one here thinking this way.
Mario Kart Wii is a complete game. Of course, the addition of the online mode makes this title a keeper and a must have title for your Wii collection but for unconditional local multiplayer lovers, the offline mode has also received some upgrades and tweaks. My favorite is the ability to customize my race tracks in Local Multiplayer in order to make them more simple, fun or complex depending on how I want to race with my friends. There are limitations (Item Editor Nintendo?) but I could care less…for the moment!
The fact that
Overall, it’s not “The Best Mario Kart Game Ever” but the future does look very bright for the franchise. Nintendo has built a solid game and it’s not so far from the “perfect Mario Kart game”.
Verdict: Buy! You’ll keep playing this one for a long time…until the next one!
* Nice and colorful graphics
* Core gameplay is sublime and fun
* Offline and online multiplayer
* Excellent replay value
* Lots of tracks, characters and gameplay modes (you can now race with your MJ Mii)
* Some race tracks are lifeless
* 150cc difficulty is brutal, experts only
* Subpar sounds effects and music
* Lack of Item Editor…maybe in the next Kart?
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Release Date : 2008/04/27
System : Nintendo Wii
Publisher : Nintendo
Developer : Nintendo
Category : Racing
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10