Developer: Nintendo |
Publisher: Nintendo
Players: 1+ Player Game |
Genre: Driving

Release Date: 05/30/14

Mario and his kart-riding friends are back and looking to have fun in high-definition for the first time in the Mario Kart series. Though Mario Kart 8 is not a 2013 release, the game is shaping up to bring some new elements to the series that will be sure to make Wii U owners very excited.

Besides going into HD for the first time, which still is something amazing to look at, Nintendo is adding gravity-defying tracks into the mix. Each kart is outfitted with anti-gravity tires that allow for players to drive sideways and upside down when gravity says this isn’t possible. For example, going through Boo’s dining room will allow the players to go sideways along the walls and avoid the big dining room table in the middle of the course. This allows for Nintendo to offer new style of branching paths without significantly altering the main course design. 

Besides driving in all directions, what else does Mario Kart 8 bring to the table? Borrowing from the 3DS Mario Kart 7, the hang-gliding features from the handheld version will be making their way to the big screen for the first time. Like on the 3DS, the only gliding we have seen have been for very short periods of time–which is a shame. Perhaps we will get Mario Kart to move to the elements Rare introduced in Diddy Kart Racing at some point.

Hideki Konno, heading up the Mario Kart 8 team, had this to say about the new directions Mario Kart 8 was taking:
“As you know, in Mario Kart 7, we had the ability to be high in the air, as well go down below, underground. From that, we had a bunch of ideas, like ‘what if we raced sideways’ or ‘upside down?’ We’re always doing a lot of testing, and we’re still doing a lot of balancing at the moment. Of course we have plenty of time before release, so we’re going to spend that time balancing, balancing, balancing… right up to the last minute.”

The other big new element is the inclusion of the controls on the Wii U gamepad. The controller is so precise that the promise of using a controller as a steering wheel works well. In fact, it works so well that you may put down your controller even as a Core gamer. Racing times, from showgoers, were better using the gamepad, as a steering wheel, than with the nunchuck or Wiimote Pro Gaming controller. Sadly, there aren’t any touch screen elements, on the Gamepad, except a horn. Another drawback is Nintendo, in North America, only allows one Gamepad per console. This means that everyone else will be at a disadvantage with the new controls. 

The worst part about Mario Kart 8 is the long wait until release. It is a big shame Nintendo couldn’t get this title out for 2013, giving consumers another reason to pick up the console next to the upcoming PS4 and Xbox One devices. So we will patiently wait for Mario Kart 8 when it arrives Spring of 2014. It looks like it will be worth the wait.

By Kaleb Rutherford – 06/25/13
ESRB Details: This is a kart-racing game in which players compete with characters from the Mario universe. As players race against other drivers, they can use “cartoony” power-ups (e.g., bombs, turtle shells, fire balls) to impede opponents’ progress. Some attacks result in vehicles spinning out, flipping into the air; comical yelps and colorful explosions accompany the action.

Screenshots for Mario Kart 8 First Look