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Mario Kart 8 Review

It’s hard to believe there have been only eight main entries in the 22-year-old Mario Kart series. But considering Nintendo focuses its efforts on releasing one new title per system, it’s easy to see why the long-running kart-racing franchise still stands strong today.

Upon playing Mario Kart 8 for the first time, one of your immediate reactions will be spurred by how everything runs smoothly. The game boasts a solid frame rate, top-notch resolution, clean interface and fluid animations. Even by today’s standards and compared to more powerful hardware, the Wii U exclusive looks and plays great. With beautifully crafted tracks and detailed character designs, it will always be one of the prettiest and most colorful titles on Wii U.

mario_kart_8

Up to four players can take part in the series’ flagship mode, Grand Prix. This is definitely a refreshing inclusion, but the game’s performance is noticeably lowered as more players enter the racetrack. A mission mode, however, is nowhere to be seen. Mario Kart DS may very well be my favorite title in the series – primarily because of its mission mode, which presented a significant bonus to the core racing experience.

Mario Kart 8 also contains fewer battle modes than previous installments. Although it wasn’t an entirely original concept, the Coin Runners battle mode in Mario Kart 7 is inexplicably absent and was at least a welcome addition to the Nintendo 3DS entry. While still pretty fun, its only battle mode – the series standard Balloon Battle – takes place on lengthy courses that often make you feel like you’re racing for the finish line. You’ll also find yourself unintentionally playing hide-and-seek with the other battling characters due to the scope of its arenas.

mario_kart_8_peach

The game brings back most of the items from its direct predecessor and adds a few new ones, such as the handy-dandy Super Horn, which finally gives players a way to fend off those menacing Blue Shells. It also introduces the nifty Piranha Plant, providing minor boosts to the holder while chomping on everything in its way, attacking rivals, grabbing coins and swallowing projectiles. A questionable omission is the inability to simultaneously carry two items. Unlike previous titles, the game doesn’t allow you to nab another item until you release the one you’re holding. You can no longer stock another item, which takes some time getting used to for series aficionados.

The game supports multiple controller options, including support for the Wii U GamePad, Wii Remote and Wii U Pro Controller. Unfortunately, the GamePad’s features aren’t used to their full potential. For example, rather than reserving its display for its holder, the GamePad’s 6.2-inch touch screen renders whatever’s on the TV screen – whether one, two or three others are playing with you.

mario_kart_8_screenshot

It does feature a large character list, containing multiple fan favorites and a number of newcomers, but due to the lack of racer-specific items (à la the risk-taking Mario Kart: Double Dash), the disparity between each one is minute and all are essentially the same with a different coat of paint. Heck, several characters are even voiced by the same actor.

Through Mario Kart TV, the game allows players to share highlight reels on YouTube and Miiverse. The highlights, which are attributed to a selection of editing options, are brief clips that are automatically accumulated once a race is complete. They also allow you to view in-game footage in slow motion, showcasing the Wii U title’s impressive visuals with flair.

mario_kart_8_shy_guy

Its online multiplayer segment is basically a revamped version of previous online modes, combining the best online elements from Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7. Up to 12 players can engage in races and battles with others from around the world via the Internet. They can also partake in tournaments, which boast robust configuration settings, allowing players to choose whether they want to race with select items or opt for none at all. It also supports voice chat, which is a first for the series but only limited to friends.

With addictive gameplay, gorgeous graphics, exceptional tracks and a strong online component, Mario Kart 8 is one of the best titles Wii U has to offer. Although it doesn’t necessarily reinvent the kart-racing genre, the game undoubtedly solidifies the Mario Kart series.

8/10

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179 comments

      1. This game got too much hype, not from Nintendo, but fro
        the fans, but I do believe this game was everything it was promised to be. so fans, rejoice

        Like

      2. I got Mario Kart 7 not too long ago and it is disappointing. It’s lacking single player content and barely has any characters. I play it for like 10 minutes and then play something else. I think this is gonna be way better.

        Like

      3. I don’t get the whole idea of people wanting lots of characters. They have all the important ones, in fact they have too many characters. For example wtf are waluigi and rosalina doing on there. They are nobodies.

        Like

      4. I resent Rosalina being a “nobody”. People love Rosalina and in fact, Wailuigi was an absolute waste of a character since Mario Party 3.

        Like

      5. Already with the “Peach look alike” excuse? And how can people not know her when Galaxy, a huge Mario game since 64, was bought by more than 17 million gamers plus the sequel with Mario Kart Wii (6) and now Smash Bros.? She’s a princess of her own castle from unknown origin in space which if/when Galaxy 3 happens, it may explain more about Rosalina.

        And how the fuck can a Goomba in Mario Kart be a better candidate and relevant character when its lacking arms to steer a kart and have super short foot to reach pedals? Like Goomba in Mario Sluggers, Goomba in Mario Kart doesnt make sense either. It would be best for Goomba to remain as a minion to be curb stomped its ass for eternity.

        Like

      6. Maybe he’s a Daisy fan. Or he’s mad Rosalina is getting in over someone else.

        Like

      7. I could TOTALLY understand his upset feelings towards Rosalina… if he meant the baby version and not the adult. She pretty much ruled the later half of the year of Luigi. And on that note… Luigi is a nobody and a waste of space, far beyond Rosalina ever will be. If she wasn’t reduced to hidden character status and having boys pretending to dislike her and show off their masculinity, I strongly believe she would have higher playability over Luigi and almost more than half of the character roster in any game she was included in.

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      8. ” If she wasn’t reduced to hidden character status and having boys pretending to dislike her and show off their masculinity”, dude wtf are you talking about lol. That has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve read on the internet this week. Fanboys show of their masculinity by not choosing rosalina? Is that how you show off your masculinity? Try sleeping with a girl lol.

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      9. daisy is actually better. Still kinda dumb though. The thing about rosalina is she’s in galaxy 1 but she’s barely seen. She just stands there and there’s a ridiculous little storybook for her background which everyone just smashes the buttons till it ends.

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      10. And Daisy is better how exactly? She was just another Peach that you had to save in Super Mario Land, most likely barely seen as well. She’s only popular because of the sports games, party games, & kart games she’s been in. Daisy & Rosalina are in roughly the same boat right now, so one is hardly better than the other.

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      11. Shut the fuck up, your probably just some daisy loving sociopath, who can’t take change serious, I can’t wait til daisy phased out and Rosalina takes her
        Place , rosalina had a great back story and a massive change to the usual princess

        Like

      12. Lol I really hope you’re trying to be funny, cause it’s working. “daisy loving sociopath”, daisy doesn’t have any fans. Not one. ” I can’t wait til daisy phased out and Rosalina takes her Place”, they’re both shit so who cares.

        Like

      13. Oh really, Heropon? Do you know every single person on the planet to confirm you’re correct? No? Then you only have your opinion to go by, not facts. Now if you can show me a poll that proves me wrong, by all means.

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      14. most pc, playstation, and xbox fans don’t know who the hell she is but everybody knows mario, luigi, peach, and koopa. There’s even a lot of nintendo guys who don’t know who rosalina is. They should make her like peach’s personal slave or something. Maybe a hooker that belongs to the mario bros, idk something more fitting for her character.

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      15. Both Rosalina and Waluigi were my favorites in Mario Kart Wii. I guess that renders your comment incorrect and irrelevant.

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      16. I hated the lack of single player in 7, but the online and especially the local multiplayer was fun, did you even try it out, Probably not since you only played 10min, meaning you probably also didn’t play the best tracks

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      17. Mario Kart is always fun and never disappointed, not even the slightest. Each game has it own unique charm and identity from each other.

        You’ll like this game. Trust me.

        Like

      18. So I had a chance to play this game last week at a media invite only session (friend of mine hooked me up),, and my impressions of this game was rather disappointing. Graphically it actual looks worst in real life in comparison to the screen shots we have been seeing. Gameplay was moderately fun but I couldn’t stop thinking it all felt the same and redundant coming from a seasoned Mario Kart 7 player. Disappointed but glad to still have it for the Wii U. Just try not to get you hopes too high.

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      19. The thing is you didn’t, did you? It’s so easy for people online to say “oh yes, I was lucky enough to play game x, see film x, blah, blah, blah” when in reality you’ve done no such thing. There’s as much chance you’ve played it as there was me waking up in bed half an hour ago with Scarlett Johansson and Emma Stone next to me in bed, both naked. And that chance was zero per cent. Stop talking crap.

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      20. It’s also easy on the internet to assume he’s lying. Maybe he did play the game. You don’t truly know if he did or not.

        Like

      21. Every Tom, Dick and Harry claims to have played a game that’s not out, seen a film yet to be released, have access to a footballers contract, etc and they are all bullshitters. He is too as note how he’s not bothered mentioning it at all until today. Just another mindless drone hating on something he’s not even played. Sad.

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      22. True but we never know. It’s possible, though, that he’s being truthful about playing it but is lying about how good it looks because he’s one of the people upset some of the characters from MK7 aren’t returning as they were ditched for the baby characters, Rosalina, & the Koopalings.

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      23. yah… i played it a little too… and yes my hopes are kept low. (as always)
        i don’t really care much for the graphics but just the way it played, it felt stiff (even with some one with good handling) and even in the air… those videos made it seem like you had more freedom but it felt like you couldn’t even turn or pull up in to the air.
        But idk… maybe its cuz I’ve been playing MK7 and haven’t gotten used to controls yet or it actually is kinda stiff. :/

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      1. 10/10! A+! 4 stars! 5 stars! 3 goombas out of 4 spongebobs! 69 lesbians out of 32 tarantulas! 11 Balrogs out of 100 Curly Braces! 1 Super Mario 3D World out of 1337 Zelda CD-I’s! 493 pokemon out of 50 digimon! 10 Strangas out of 53,103,836,810,928,836,000,133,700,101,666,532,090,696,920,420,111,222,333,444,555,676,777,888,999,000 IceEatenJudger’s… (I could go on all day lol)

        Like

    1. I own a PS4 and I’m bored sick of it. Got it day one and I’ve turned it on not even five times in six months. Full of ports of games that aren’t even a year old, games too bothered with graphics over gameplay (Killzone: Shadow Fall) and far, far too many indie games (nothing wrong with that but didn’t pay £350 for games I can play on any other machine). Trust me, at the moment PlayStation is as close to being the master as Wii U is to the biggest selling console ever.

      Like

    1. AKA-link77 Well Good for you if u get dissapointed of a great game, I played mk8 already at GameStop last weekend and I got way more exited than I was already, I play mk7 every day and its nothing similar as mk8 is in the way it feels. The moves, the graphics, everything it’s so smoothly. It’s just perfect! Now I really have something nice to play the rest of the year. Maybe you are in the wrong way and this is not really for you, maybe not prepared yet for this experience.

      Like

  1. The ability to hold two items was removed specifically by the development team to promote a higher level of difficulty and as a way to prevent players from becoming too powerful. just FYI.

    Like

  2. Ok, the biggest complaint I have, is that the person playing on the game pad sees the same thing that is displayed on the TV.
    God Almighty. Call-of-fucking-duty displays the game pad players experience differently. Mario Kart could not give the Gamepad player their own view?

    Fuck me. I can’t hear anymore. I’ll let Miiverse decide.

    Like

    1. agreed wish the the gamepad had the feature like Sonic transformed. I also wish mission mode(bosses in mario kart were fun) return along with emblem design

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      1. Yea I remember in Mario kart DS you could fight bosses and design an emblem with the crappy DS screen. Imagine how much we could make on the wiiU gamepad.

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  3. I can’t wait to use Iggy Koopa with his multi-colored, rainbow hair if he’s an unlockable. I’ve always liked him because of that hair. And I like the sound of having a race without any items. The one item only thing sounded like a downgrade at first but now I can only see the strategist aspect of it. Should I keep the offensive weapon for when someone passes me when I’m in 1st place, or should I keep the defensive Super Horn for when someone sends a blue shell at my ass? Decisions, decisions.

    Like

  4. It seems like no matter how great a game is, it rarely gets a perfect 10. But 8/10 is still good. And nobody can say that this isn’t the greatest LOOKING Mario Kart to date. I love seeing the classic franchises being revived with HD graphics. I can’t help but wonder what the new Zelda will look like? And I also hope there’s a Wii U version of Mario Golf. I wanna play golf in HD. And I really wish Nintendo would bring back the mini-golf and ring shot modes.

    Like

    1. They did bring back ring golf to an extent in Mario Golf World Tour. Each course has a few ring shot challenges a piece. Minigolf is still out though sadly

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      1. I never saw ring shots in World Tour. All I seen was target shots and coin-related challenges.

        Like

  5. Can I add people I’ve raced with to my friend list or something? Like, send them friend requests after a race within the game?

    Like

  6. I miss petey piranha and king boo!
    I wish it was a direct sequel to mario kart:double dash.
    Otherwise hell yeah I will be playing this.
    I’m sure it should be graded higher than 8/10
    But they didnt add the worthy additions like an actual battle mode. Here is hoping DLC is down the line and adds
    Characters, mission mode, new tracks, battle mode and the character specific power-ups like the giant koopa shell and the giant bananna to name a few.

    Like

  7. Is this even a Nintendo fan site? an 8? I see more negativity on here than even IGN and now the flagship entry getting 9s and 10s gets an 8 here. I think you all have been exposed

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    1. their opinion, you can make your own. I personal don’t follow reviews since the gaming media is pretty much become a joke

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      1. I honestly trust my Miiverse followers. Regardless of any review or metacritic score, I’ll make purchase decisions based on followers that have led me well. I will wait a week, then follow my followers lead. Most LOVE Nintendo, but are honest. 89% chance I’ll pick it up, even given Nintendo’s lazy approach. I mean, It’s Mario Kart, I have to get it, Right?

        Like

      2. I listen to few good youtubers, projared, Thatonegamer( super beard bros.) angry joe Alphaomegasin, Razor Fist(though I disagree about Metal gear Rising), few others. I avoid people who hate on game just to get views(one idot tried to review team fortress 2, and super mario world). I picked Fire Emblem Awakening because of projared my favorite 3ds game right now shows how good of a story nintendo can right with the best characters in the series. I just picked up Kirby 3D actually not bad Give it try when ever the final boss is freakin fantastic

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      3. Agree! gaming media is full of haters and sadness :( I will no longer read reviews for any game after this. It’s also sad to see many people hating on games that they don’t like, it has no sense why they come to a Nintendo fan site to hate, why if they say that their consoles are great why they have the need to go out and hate other on consoles?? That only shows the lack of fun their consoles can offer that they have to hate on on others. I only feel shame for them, I really wish Sony and Microsoft can create enought of joy for their consumers that they finally can be happy for the first time in forever. I wish you all the best, ill just stop reading comments. See you in the race!!! ;)

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      4. I wouldn’t say haters but their opinions are mostly bought. with all the advertisement across sites I noticed it more with titan fall. The game was shipped incomplete, forced online play, crappy story and a few other things. I think the game is cool had a cool idea going but poorly done, don’t get me started on origin

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  8. From What played at gamestop its really fun, I’m liking it better then 7 so far, and wii as well. Might be my top mario kart but 64 and Double dash. I hope this game does well, I see alot of promotion going on on youtube, and a few othe places like target walmart and gamestop

    Like

  9. the online multiplayer is amazing it’s one of the funnest online multiplayer games you can ever play I give it a 10do

    Like

  10. There’s a demo verison of this game available at a Wii U kiosk at my local GAME store in the town near where I am at the moment. I only discovered they added MK8 to the list of other Wii U demo games earlier yesterday and, as one may imagine I was pretty excited to play it.

    Don’t really consider this as a review as I only played some stages of the demo version but more of a first-impressions sort of post. Okay I’ll try to sum up my experience (very mild spoilers in terms of bike-part names):

    The game’s visuals are gorgeous to start. The models of Mario characters have never quite looked as good as they do in MK8.

    Gameplay. Now, I quite agree so far with the conclusion of the review here; MK8 doesn’t seem to reinvent the MK franchise in terms of gameplay, but definitely solidifies it. It felt very solid. I feel it plays closer to MK7 than it does to MKWii also. But even with my MKWii and MK7 experience, I felt like I was playing like a newbie thanks to the fact that the game essentially plays differently to MKWii/7 at times, and this is quite welcome I’d say – it means kind of learning the game again which provides a new challenge.
    .
    Bikes are a bit interesting. You can no longer wheelie, as far as I could tell, which, for the sake of balance, is good I’d say.
    I mixed the Sports Bike body (Seemingly equivalent of the Mach Bike) with Slick tires and the handling was rather interesting. It’s a bit hard to describe; it did not handle with the pin-point precision of the MKWii Mach Bike, but rather had a kind of “tuned drift” that was a bit close to that of a Mach Bike, but “drags” sort of like a kart. Perhaps this is due to the slick tires, or the overall balance configuration of that bike? I think it may be a bit of both. This I felt, was weird at first and it took some getting used to, but it was definitely a challenge (which is actually a good point I’d say), and serves as balance – bikes do not seem to grossly overpower Karts as they did in MKWii. I actually found myself at a point feeling like picking a kart because it would be easier to handle!

    Well, MK8 comes out in a week from now if I’m not mistaken, all you guys who will get the game, you’ll experience it for yourself, if not beforehand. I think this will definitely be an MK that will be enjoyed and I’m excited to experience online on this game.

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      1. (Lol, long story…just testing to see if this is the “Original” Ice. He was actually somewhat of a Nintendo fan…so many people impersonate him now, you can’t ever tell if it’s him. )

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      2. Do you remember when everybody thought he was sickr! Now that ice never reports negative stories to sickr, sickr reports the news without thanking ice and then everybody hates sickr instead of ice lmao!

        Like

  11. Alba, can you voice chat with friends while racing?
    Even if just with friends, that would be a huge Plus for me.

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      1. Which is cool, don’t really care about voice chat with random people like Cod, but it would be nice if friends could chat while racing! :D Maybe in MK9?

        Like

  12. I think that you compared this to the previous Mario Karts a bit much. Yes, the battle mode isn’t as good, but you don’t need to complain that certain things aren’t in this game that were in previous games. Appreciate it for what it is.

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  13. As long as there is a single race mode (something absent in MK7) I’ll be fine. Though I still dislike the kart/bike customization and prefer pre-made bikes/karts. This will be a great game either way, but I just hope there’s enough replay value and that things such as no items can be done in single-player as well.

    Like

  14. 8/10 is indeed a reasonable score…

    Basically because the Battle Mode is pretty much useless in this game and a few other minor things like having too much babies…

    Like

    1. Nintendo commander to do shit, you are surely joking!
      I tried Battle Mode me personally is excellent, better than Arena.

      Like

  15. Good review, and unlike the haters out there, I’m a huge fan of Rosalina since the Galaxy games. She at least tried to give the games a story even if the Mario games have little to no story at all. She’ll probably be the character I use the most once I unlock her. I like it that she’s getting more attention recently, love it that she was in SM3DW, Mario Kart, and soon in Smash Bros.

    But other than that, I’m just happy we finally have another great game to play on the Wii U, I’m excited and I can’t wait to try the online with my friends.

    Like

  16. less battle modes -> fewer battle modes*. This is the first review I’ve read on this site and it’s surprisingly badly written.

    Like

  17. This page is definitely an anti nintendo!
    60% of the news has nothing to do with Nintendo!
    Often create conflicts between players and feeding the troll other consoles!
    And now the vote, which is not realistic 8/10? Wtf … under 9.5/10 would be funny!
    This is how you show that you are not a professional!
    Nintendo Game stop visiting this site, my advice!

    Like

  18. This page is definitely an anti nintendo!
    60% of the news has nothing to do with Nintendo!
    Often create conflicts between players and feeding the troll other consoles!
    And now the vote, which is not realistic 8/10? Wtf … under 9.5/10 would be funny!
    This is how you show that you are not a professional!
    Nintendo Game stop visiting this site, my advice!

    Like

  19. So cool! You do not have the game, do not say that you have brought your opinion without games?!
    Di you that the gameplay from the game? 8/10 You must be joking! hahahhahahahahahaaaaaaa …

    Like

      1. He didn’t need to say “The Wii U version”…

        It’s the only version…

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    1. Well this preview has me stoked for MK8 more than the people talking about it & the reviews. Thank god its release is just right around the corner.

      Like

  20. Hang on does Mynintendonews get early release copies of games for reviews then? I thought it was just a blog. Otherwise I’m not sure how you would have reviewed it seeing as it’s not due for release for another week

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  21. maybe its just my love for racers but i played this game last week at target and i must say people are just hating or scared that this game might actually do better than anything ps4 has to offer untill you get the full game and experience the full game dont go by reviews because i missed out on a shit load of good games that recived 5/10 and played shitty games that were so called 10/10 try the game out for your self and see you on the race track i hope

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    1. Well said. Unless the reviewer has the same tastes in games as you do, they aren’t the best person to decide for you if this is a game you will like to own. Even then, you should still at least rent the game, if possible, to see for yourself. If you’ve played the game & you agree with everything the reviewer said, then buy the game if the reviewer gave it a positive/high score or don’t buy it if they gave it a negative/low score.

      Like

  22. It will be my first Mario Kart that I own. I’ve played others, but they were all lent by friends..
    I’m so excited for this game, my bf and I even bought a external HD, because it had only 3gb in our WiiU memory.

    Like

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    Like

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