Published on June 26th, 2012 | by Nichomaxwell2
A Review of Mario Kart Wii: Supporting Evidence of the Argument that You CAN Have Too Much Fun?!
Year: 2008 // System: Nintendo Wii // Publisher & Developer: Nintendo // Director: Yasuyuki Oyagi // Genre: Kart Racer
>>> Well, dang! I’ve been missing out on a premier series! Or was this the right type of game to bring me into the fold? Regardless, Mario Kart on the Nintendo Wii stands firm as one of the system’s best designed entries with a plethora of racing features going hand-in-hand with a core multiplayer mode that is sharply addictive on its own. It just seems that you never stopped unlocking glorious addition after glorious addition. Stick around as I break down the game hailed by critics as the Wii’s best racer and retell one of my most treasured video game memories that came about thanks to this zany entry in the Mario Kart series.
M.K.W. was released in 2008 with the Wii Wheel accessory, which housed the Wiimote and accurately simulated the feeling of the player steering the kart with a steering wheel. The wireless wheel not only allowed for smoother controls, but could be flipped halfway upwards in order to launch the player’s kart…or motorcycle..into the air.
That’s right. Mario Kart Wii brought in the motorbikes, which rewarded the player with more speed should he or she master all of the technical tricks in wheeling his or her hog. Players could choose between karts and bikes, or see which type of vehicle would prevail in the 150CC and the far more difficult Mirror CC. Aside from the wider range in wheels, M.K. Wii also offered a choice of 32 different tracks to take on, with 16 original courses and 16 “retro” tracks from prior installments. If that weren’t enough courses for you, then the Mirror CC goes on ahead and alternates the turns of each track, accounting for 64 total venues that players can visit.
True, some of the courses offer few obstacles without the option of powerups (Daisy Cup) and therefore come off as boring and uninspired, while others definitely show more active, creative thinking from the creators (the New Bowser Castle Circuit), but when it comes down to it, each course feels unique in both athletic and layout, and so players looking for solo respites or a good party game will stay lost in the course depths. Also, did I forget to mention the ten battle stages, the extensive time trial mode that rewarded you with unlockable karts and the characters, and the twenty-four racers PLUS the twelve variants of the Mii that you can race as? It’s the only Mario game I know of that allowed me to murder the circuit with Darth.
The actual game play gives you so much to work with, it’s crazy! The notorious blue shell, mushroom boosts, and invincibility star all make a return, along with new weapons like the “Mega Mushroom” which gave us the glorious FAT DAISY and allows the fattened racer to smush other drivers in his or her path.
Due to the high volume of powerups which all opponents use evenly, single player races can become unpredictable and challenging. Again, some tracks inconsistently offer more of a challenge than other courses do, but the ones that do bring on the full entente prove capable of producing wild unbelievable stories. The N64 version of Bowser’s Castle, the very last course I had to master in the Mirror CC in order to win the cup and beat the solo campaign, gave me my favorite memory of virtual triumph.
There I was, right in the thick of battle for the lead with less than a lap to go on one of the series’ trickiest courses with its twisty turns, ground-slamming Statues, and fiery pitfalls. I thanked the gaming gods every time I made every successful jump without getting zapped by that darn lightning attack. Anyway, I’m not sure what happened first, but all of a sudden a POW Block spun me around, I got inked, and a fat Toad ran over me, reducing me to rubble. Halfway through the winding castle, I was knocked back to twelfth place. My roommate was there to shake his head at my misfortune, in disbelief that so many bad things could happen to one player in a video game. But suddenly, with three of four stretches to go, I got what I needed: blue shell, lightning rod, invincibility star. Coming around the corner I blew up the lead pack right over a gap in the bridge, sending several drivers to their doom. Thanks to my star did I shove several confused CPUs out of the way. Suddenly I rounded the corner in fourth place, the finish in sight. While I was invincible, somebody else inked the field, sparing my star-studded form and blinding the leaders up ahead. The guy on my right flank popped up in the air after a green shell slammed into his rear! And there I was blasting up through the middle of the slowed duo to suddenly emerge at the start-finish as the winner!
My roommate and I were in shock, and I know we left the replay on just so that we could brag to the rest of our roommates about how I took so many unlucky hits just to come back and win the race in wild fashion. Never in any other racing game have I come across a single race so remarkably nuts and exciting. It also didn’t hurt that I unlocked the menacing DryBones Bowser for us all to use. That may have been my proudest gaming achievement that I can speak of.
Sad as that is to say.
But back to the review. Mario Kart Wii offers so many options, and they’re all extremely well done. If there’s anything I can comment on, it’s that some tracks are a little too easy once you’ve mastered the layout. Otherwise, Mario Kart provided just enough of a challenges with goodies and gadgets galore, and a streamlined, effortless control system. The Wii may not go down as Nintendo’s greatest contraption, but this fantastic fun-filled frenzy should stand tall as one of the system’s high points.
Challenge: 9/Outstanding: Although much easier than most of its predecessors, the Wii‘s interpretation of Kart had several tough cups to beat and gave incentives for exploring the wide array of the game’s features and game modes. I never imagined Time Trial playing such a big role in any racing game, but here, it’s how you found some of the best unlockables.
Handling: 10/Classic: Whether playing with a GameCube controller, the standard Wiimote, the Wii Wheel, or the nun-chuck, the racing mechanics function at a fluid, streamlined pace that make you feel like you’re right at the helm of Mario’s mini-F1 rocket or Donkey Kong’s four-wheeled jeep-barrel.
Innovation: 10/Classic: Between incorporating retro tracks into the single player campaign, fleshing out the battle modes, the fun new weapons, and the addition of bikes that work really well with the overall control scheme,Mario Kart Wiipresented itself as quite the standout.
Core Experience: 10/Classic: Loved the obstacles, strong contrasts in visuals per track, the use of music, and the extraordinary level of depth and number ofgoals you could pursue either on your own or with a group of friends.
OVERALL: 9.8/Outstanding: Few gamers leave this experience unimpressed, and almost anybody can jump in and have a good time. Thanks to the unpredictable nature of the courses and all kinds of cool new things that you can discover while playing Kart for the Wii, I suggest this as the first title that anyone late to the party should play on Nintendo’s still-current system.