Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mario Kart Memories, pt. 8 - Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

This is the eighth and final part of a feature on the history of Mario Kart. It's finally time to explore the wonder that is Mario Kart 8 for Wii U, which was just released yesterday.

Let me just start with this: Mario Kart 8 is amazing. You will be hard-pressed to find a better kart racer on any current system. It lives up to the hype, I can assure you. Alright, let's do this.

Mario Kart 8 adds an interesting feature to the Mario Kart series: anti-gravity. As you can see in the top picture, Mario is racing on the underside of the track.It seems weird, but it works. Some levels have long walls you can ride on, and some have insane loops and turns. It is a little trippy, but it doesn't detract from the experience. If anything, it adds to it. You may not also know which direction is up, but you will always be having fun.

Your eyes and ears will also be having fun. The game looks incredible. Things get shiny when wet, Thwomps look like actual rocks, and you will literally fear for your life when a giant fireball comes at you. It also sounds amazing. The entire soundtrack was recorded live, and it goes to show what orchestrated music can add to a game. Even the retro tracks were redone with a live band.

Speaking of which, the game has an excellent selection of retro tracks. Toad's Turnpike (N64), Yoshi Valley (N64), Music Park (3DS), and Rainbow Road (N64) are all here, plus many more. They all have a little anti-gravity mixed in, too. No Ghost Valley 1, however. but that's ok. It will live on. In my heart. Or whatever. (Between Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8, almost all of the good N64 retro tracks have been redone at this point. I suppose they will have to start re-redoing tracks at some point).

Mario Kart 8 also has a cool new feature called Mario Kart TV, which lets you save replays, share them with friends, and even upload them to YouTube. This is all in addition to standard online play and everything else you love about Mario Kart.

First Played: Just now. The game was delivered yesterday afternoon and after the kidlets were finally asleep, I dove in and played for several hours. Let me say, this game has some amazing tracks. Right from the get-go, the anti-gravity sections literally throw you for a loop. I found myself laughing, yelling, and looking surprised at various points in the game. In terms of difficulty, it's about on par with Mario Kart Wii, so you will love it, but sometimes hate it but mostly love it. Besides, the best part is playing with friends, so screw those CPU jerks.

One of my favorite things about the game is that Toads are everywhere. Toad is my favorite character, so it's awesome to see all his friends all over in the background. You will see them in the pit crews, in space suits on Rainbow Road, and hiding in all sorts of little places. It's awesome!

Best Track: Toad Harbor - It is very difficult to pick which track is the best (plus, I just started playing so this could change) but my favorite track in Mario Kart 8 is Toad Harbor, and not (just) because of Toad. This track is reminiscent of Yoshi Valley (N64) in that there are many different paths to take. While they aren't large deviations, there are lots of different areas to explore. The track might remind you of San Francisco, as there are trolleys driving around on long, steeps hills. It might also remind you of Shy Guy Bazaar (3DS), since you can drive on tent tops and under balconies. It's an excellent track that will surely make its way to future Mario Kart games.

Best New Item: Super Horn - While the Crazy Eight is technically new, it's too close to the Lucky 7, so I'm not going to count it as new. So the best new item is the Super Horn. This is an interesting new item. But for people like me who are always getting destroyed by blue shells, this is an excellent item. When you use it , it makes a large sound wave around you that can destroy items and make any nearby opponents crash. It is even effective against blue shells, and you can get it while you are in first place. Granted, it's quite rare, but it's nice that you have the possibility of being in first place and staying in first place even if someone launches a blue shell. Plus, it's fun to take out a group of people in one shot with it. Thank you, Super Horn, for letting me beat my friends at Mario Kart even more.

(Mario Kart 8 is available now on the Nintendo eShop and in stores everywhere. It is playable on Wii U.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Such a fun looking game! It's fun to just watch while others play since there are so many interesting aspects to the levels! Pretty awesome!!