The biggest and most obvious addition to this installment of Mario Kart is how the tracks feature an abundance of anti-gravity sections. Tracks now twist and turn through the air, drivers can race on specially marked walls, and it can very common to wonder which way is up or see the entire environment upside-down! The camera stays on top of your racer, so there's no need to worry about the camera showing a confusing view of your racer or having your controls become impaired due to a shift in perspective. The sections themselves aren't just for show either, albeit them being decidedly awesome to race on. When two vehicles bump into one another while in anti-gravity, both get a boost of speed as they unleash a flashy spin maneuver in the process.
|I sure hope Mario took his|
motion sickness pills!
|A returning track from Mario Kart 64,|
this is the lovely Royal Raceway.
|Lakitu is never too busy in a race|
to say hello to his mom in the stands.
|Toad Harbor is such an inviting place. |
I wonder how much condos go for there...
|Cloudtop Cruise is surely not a pleasure cruise.|
Rosalina has gotta earn this victory!
|More coins... Just what I always wanted...|
In addition to these new item rules, Mario Kart 8 throws in three new items into the mix. The Boomerang Flower allows the item receiver to chuck a boomerang forward or behind them, having it spin, hopefully hit any opponent in its path, before returning to the user who can throw it two more times. The next new item is the Piranha Plant, offering the user an offensive item that chomps any nearby drivers, also giving the user a small burst of speed in the process. Finally, the Super 8 item is very similar to the Lucky 7 item from Mario Kart 7. It's just that instead of seven items circling the user, eight items do. The new items are great inclusions to the lineup, and they don't feel overpowered or obnoxious at all.
These items aren't just used in traditional races either. The series's long-running Battle Mode returns in Mario Kart 8 but with a significant twist. Instead of specially made battle arenas like those seen in past Mario Kart games, in Mario Kart 8, item wars are waged on entire tracks. The eight chosen tracks have plenty of space and room for 12 players to unleash unbridled havoc upon one another with. It's a big change to the Battle Mode formula. Either you like it or hate it, but we're in the camp that absolutely adores it.
|You must be very proud to beat|
up on a baby, Koopa Troopa.
|Pick your vehicle, set of wheels, and|
glider to suit your play style best.
|Roy is but one of the seven Koopalings|
Mario Kart 8 players can race as.
There's also online functionality in the form of Mario Kart TV. This simple highlight tool allows players to upload and share short clips from a past race to YouTube. While this is very limited in scope, only offering options such as which characters and what kind of action to focus on, it's still nice to be able to show the world those unforgettable and seemingly impossible moments that happen in races. Now you can have proof that they happened instead of hearsay!
|Despite being a new vehicle type,|
there's but a couple of ATV bodies in MK8.
|Now you're just showing off, Mario.|
Mario Kart 8 is one of the best entries in the long-running racing series to date. It just doesn't stand near the top of the heap of Mario Kart games, it actually races with the leaders of the genre. With extraordinary and imaginative track design, stellar and tight racing controls (whether it's with the Wii U GamePad, Wii Remote and Nunchuk, Wii Remote by itself, Wii U Pro Controller, or whatever else), and fantastic online play, Mario Kart 8 delivers a must-play experience for anyone with the need for speed and the desire to race upside-down, sideways, diagonally, and any other way you can think of.
[SPC Says: 9.5/10]