I know that Mario Kart 8 has been out for quite a while now but I feel (especially) with a game like “Kart” one has to let it “sit around” for while before the perfect critique can be made. It is obviously a great game. From the moment I first played it I knew I had to own it. The graphics are amazing! I never really understood why Nintendo was so reluctant to go to an HD format because it makes all games look great and Mario Kart 8 is no exception. In fact, this game (because of the graphics style that is implemented by Nintendo) accentuates HD capability—making for a visually stunning game that is just pure eye-candy.
The game-play itself is phenomenal. It is pure mayhem out on the track. No lead is ever safe and comebacks on the last lap are always possible. I know this is expected from any Mario Kart game but Mario Kart 8 just adds more chaos. I also like how the buttons are always the same so anyone who has played the series can pick it up and play right away, and for those new to the series, the buttons are simple, making it easy to grasp.
There are three new items: the Boomerang Flower (which actually looks like a Nipper Plant from Mario Brothers 3), the Piranha Plant, and the Crazy 8 item. The boomerang is pretty self-explanatory. You simply throw it at enemies ahead of you and if lucky enough it can hit someone when it comes back. The Piranha Plant is one of my favorite items because as you use it as a boost and he will bite enemies and collect coins. The Crazy 8 item (which will probably be only available in this game specifically) is a random selection of eight of the game's items that you can use at your disposal, which can be really handy if you are in the back of the pack. There are also the three bananas and mushrooms as well, but these, like the red and green turtle-shells, now spin around you so be careful that nobody steals you mushrooms.
The tracks are probably the best new addition to this game. Nintendo became really creative with the design of the new tracks and the older tracks as well. There are 16 brand-new tracks in the game and there are four cups each. There are also 16 tracks from older games which are also separated into four cups making for a total of 32 new tracks. Mount Wario is one of the best “tracks.” I put tracks in quotes because it really isn't a track per se, because you race down a mountain which is cut into three segments—with each segment representing a lap. As for the older tracks they look really nice and are done very well. I was really surprised to see that Nintendo redid Donut Plains 3 from the SNES. The mud puddles look so real! Also, it was great to see that Grumble Volcano made a comeback because it was one of my favorite tracks on Mario Kart Wii and is even more difficult this time around.
There are a ton of new characters and karts in this game too. One can also pick different wheels and gliders for the karts as well. These change the specs of the car giving the driver more customization and more freedom to race the type of kart that suits that specific style of play. One thing that Nintendo maybe should have kept was the option to race with automatic but I can see why they did away with the option as it evens out the playing field.
The Wii U doesn't have a lot of great titles but this is definitely a gem. It is a must-own game for anybody who has a Wii U. That being said, before you run out and buy one, Nintendo still needs to add more games to its very slim library. And with Super Smash Bros coming out this holiday season things are surely looking up for Nintendo but it all starts with the glory and mayhem that is Mario Kart 8.