Mario Kart Wii
PUBLISHED: 15:25 12 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:31 05 October 2010
Age rating: 3+
Fifteen years have passed since Mario and chums first jumped into their souped-up go-karts and raced ove
Age rating: 3+
Fifteen years have passed since Mario and chums first jumped into their souped-up go-karts and raced over a series of looping and challenging circuits. Eight games in, and the series still manages to feel as fresh and inventive as it's ever been. This time around, Nintendo has seen fit to include an online racing mode, new motorbike vehicles, stunts and a special Mario Kart Wii Channel devoted to the game - so you can keep an eye on friends' achievements, see how you compare in world rankings and take part in a series of online competitions.
Initial copies of the game also come bundled with a special Mario Kart steering wheel. This elegantly crafted piece of plastic feels great to hold and, once the Wii Remote has been plugged in, offers a neat alternative to using the Remote on its own or opting for a GameCube or Classic controller.
Whatever control method you choose, though, you'll soon be sucked into Mario Kart Wii's addictive mix of competitive racing, tongue-in-cheek shenanigans and slapstick humour.
As always, the game features 16 new and 16 classic tracks with numerous crates littering each circuit. Some contain pickups like turtle shells that can be hurled at other racers while those containing speed boosts can be used in conjunction with special sections of each track to reach phenomenal velocities. The idea to include stunts adds an extra dimension to the gameplay too and ensures you'll keep coming back until you've perfected each one.
While Mario Kart is fine as a single-player game it really comes alive when played with friends. Offline, its four-player split-screen mode is a joy to play and perfect post-pub entertainment while the new online options mean you'll always be able to find someone to race against. Up to 12 players can compete across a variety of challenging tracks, AI bots taking the place of human players if necessary.
With 10 battle arenas to wage war in and the option to play with your Mii caricatures instead of one of the many classic Nintendo characters, there's plenty more to get excited about too. There's no doubt that the random contents of the crates still makes Mario Kart Wii one of the least balanced racing games we've played, since a player in last place can, by sheer luck, collect enough speed boosts and win - but we simply don't care. It's still a gloriously addictive racing game
and, if you own a Wii, it's an essential purchase.
RATING 5 out of 5