Developer: Nintendo |
Publisher: Nintendo
Players: 1 to 4 Player Game |
Genre: Driving

Release Date: 04/27/08

One of the most popular racing games on any platform is Mario Kart. The last console release of Mario Kart came on the GameCube and wasn’t as well received as prior titles. Fortunately, Nintendo redeemed themselves with the incredibly addictive Nintendo DS version that introduced online play for the first time in the series. Building on the success of the last title, Nintendo hopes to bring the series to a whole new generation of players on the Nintendo Wii. However, for those hoping that Nintendo would release the game early in 2008, you may be a bit disappointed. But for those who can be a bit patient, it is looking like Mario Kart Wii will be worth the wait.

We already know that Nintendo will give players online play and the ability to play the game with just Wii-mote. The interesting thing is that Wii-mote can be plugged in and played with plastic steering wheel. This wheel will also be packaged with the game. Nintendo claimed that this would make the game much easier for those who aren’t hardcore fans or new to the series. Whether or not you believe this, it should make a fun alternate way to play the game. In addition to these announcements, there is also a new addition to the Wii version of Mario Kart–bikes.

For those of you not comfortable with controlling Mario Kart Wii with the Wii-mote, Nintendo will allow players to choose from a multitude of different controls. This is similar to what they have done with Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The most important thing is that you can use a classic controller or a GameCube controller. As a long-time fan of the series, a familiar control method will probably end up being my preferred method mainly because games like Super Smash Bros. Brawl control much better with the more familiar control methods.

Players will choose from a cast of favorites as their racer of choice. Mario, Lugi, Yoshi, Peach, Donkey Kong, Waluigi, Wario, Bowser, and Baby Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Koopa, round out the racers you ultimately will have access to. Each racer will have access to a bike and two different karts. However, a big change is that players now have an automatic and manual setting they can choose. This gives players different control over the powersliding. If you choose automatic, the game will automatically powerslide for you–where manual will give you complete freedom to powerslide as you please. In past titles the manual powerslide has always been an option but usually something only the hardcore players would use. The Automatic mode, besides giving players new to the franchise, or just those who aren’t very skilled, a new set of skills to use in races, the downside is that the powerslides will not net any speed boosts that the manual slides give players. Hopefully though this will at least get all players used to the idea of powerslides and then they can move over to Manual mode.

Although some of the gameplay elements are changing slightly, fans of the series will not need to worry about the signature look being altered from its usual “cartoony” nature. Graphics will still be bright and colorful and everything you have come to expect from Nintendo’s signature First Party characters. This style of graphics is definitely something the under-powered Wii hardware can deliver with ease. However, I still am secretly wishing for a 720P version of my favorite Kart racer.

Like the graphics, the audio of Mario Kart Wii will also stay true to the franchise and deliver a mix of classic Mario Kart music with a touch of new tracks and sound effects.

But the real meat and potatoes of Mario Kart is always the racing. This is one area where Mario Kart Wii will make up for any graphical shortcomings. Players will be able to race on thirty-two courses that are made up by sixteen all-new tracks and sixteen classic tracks. These courses will be played over eight different cups that will be ultimately made available after you progress in the game far enough to unlock them all. These courses will all be available in the classic 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc speeds. To spice up the different speeds, Nintendo will only allow Karts in the 50cc mode, Bikes in the 100cc mode, and the players choice of Kart of Bike in the 150cc mode.

Expanding on the success with the DS version, console owners will now be bringing the fun and excitement of Mario Kart online with up to eleven other players via the Nintendo WiFi Connection. Players can even have up to two players play online via the same Wii console! Besides the online modes, Mario Kart Wii will offer up to four player offline multiplayer support on one Wii console. And nothing beats the fun and excitement of playing against friends on one TV. In fact, Mario Kart is one of the few games I might choose offline multiplayer modes over an online mode.

Mario Kart Wii is definitely shaping up to be one of the best games released in 2008. But when will Nintendo release the game? While they originally hinted at an early 2008 release, I suspect this title will probably slip to a late summer or even a fall 2008 timeframe. Lets just hope that any extra time given will allow the game to be super polished and live up to all of the hype. Keep reading CVGames for the latest on Mario Kart Wii.

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By Kaleb Rutherford – 02/26/08
ESRB Details: – Comic Mischief –

Screenshots for Mario Kart Wii