Mario Kart Wii
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Mario Kart Wii is a racing game for the Wii console. It is the sixth installment in the main Mario Kart series and the eighth overall. Mario Kart Wii includes new features such as new race courses along with other courses that appeared in past Mario Kart games, like its predecessor Mario Kart DS. It features both classic and new Mario Kart characters and items, as well as an increased number of players for the races. Mario Kart Wii also introduces the use of bikes that vary in capabilities along with the traditional karts. Game modes are also present such as the Grand Prix, Versus, Battle, and Time Trial, many of them made use of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection before its discontinuation for worldwide online play.
A Wii Wheel is included in most Mario Kart Wii packages, though the game is still compatible with other controllers such as a regular Wii Remote held sideways, the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, the Nintendo GameCube controller, and the Classic Controller and Classic Controller Pro.
This game requires 23 blocks of storage on the player's Wii system to save game data. Also, the game data cannot be copied onto another Wii. The game also includes its own Wii Channel, called the Mario Kart Channel, which allows players to play in special tournaments and trade their racing profile with other players around the world. This channel uses 74 to 88 blocks (depending on the game's region), but unlike the game data, players can copy the channel onto their SD cards.
Mario Kart Wii, unlike the preceding Mario Kart games, has twelve players present in normal races instead of eight. All twelve racers head to the finish in a multi-lap race around a given circuit. Along the way, players may employ items, utilize techniques, and take shortcuts to earn first place.
Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection was terminated by Nintendo starting on May 20th, 2014, therefore making it no longer available to play Mario Kart Wii (as well as Mario Kart DS and other games that support WFC) online.
While every previous Mario Kart game allowed for a maximum of eight racers on each course, up to twelve are on the course at a time in Mario Kart Wii.
In Mario Kart Wii, players can select twelve types of vehicles (six karts and six bikes) for each of the three classes. Vehicle selection varies depending on the character's size class, and color schemes for available vehicles also vary depending on the character selected.
A major departure from prior games is the change of the drifting system. Performing a Mini-Turbo depends on how long players can hold the button for drifting and the angle at which they drift. Drifting can be used strategically and involves managing the drifts to avoid losing speed. It is also unique that there are two drift modes (Automatic and Manual).
Players are now able to perform tricks as part of the gameplay. When drivers perform a trick and land successfully, they gain a momentary boost of speed. Tricks consist of mid-air acrobatics and are performed by shaking the Wii Wheel upward, shaking the Wii Remote in the Wii Remote + Nunchuk combo, pressing the on the Classic Controller, or pressing the on the GameCube controller.
Players can now look backwards while pressing the button.
Motorbikes are introduced in this game. Peach, Daisy, and Rosalina wear an alternate outfit while driving motorbikes, as opposed to their traditional dresses while riding karts, possibly due to the fact that it would be very difficult to ride a motorbike while wearing a dress. Although Wario does have a biker outfit of his own from the WarioWare series, he does not wear it when driving motorbikes and he still wears his classic outfit while driving motorbikes.
Special Items which were introduced in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, are not featured in the game. Overall, Mario Kart Wii is based heavily on Mario Kart DS and has some influence from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!.
Prior to discontinuation of online services, Mario Kart Wii featured a text chat in Online Multiplayer Mode when racing or battling against Friends. Users can send pre-written phrases to other users before the series of races starts. However, there is no facility for a user to type custom messages.
Another new change is the point system used for Grand Prix races. With twelve racers competing in each race, the point value has increased. The following chart shows the difference of the point spreads from previous games to this installment.
The main feature is the use of the Wii Remote's motion-sensing ability. By tilting the remote, players can steer their karts. Since the Wii Remote is designed to be inserted into the Wii Wheel for better grip, players can also play without the Wheel if they choose to. Mario Kart Wii can also be played by connecting the Nunchuk Controller or the Classic Controller, or using the GameCube Controller. Controlling the vehicle is divided up into two sections: Basic and Advanced.
Basic controls and actions
Advanced control modes
Modes of play
Grand Prix Mode initially allows only Karts in 50cc and only Bikes in 100cc; if all the Grand Prix's are won in a single engine class, the other vehicle type will become available for it. Mirror Mode is unlocked by scoring first place on all 150cc Grand Prix.
A list of Tournaments up to the most recent one can be found here.
Mario Kart Wii introduced a new mode for the Mario Kart series, entitled "Tournament Mode" (also known as Competition mode in the European version). Tournament Mode was somewhat similar to Mission Mode from Mario Kart DS. Tournaments could be played on the Mario Kart Channel, as long as the Mario Kart Wii disc was in the Wii. Tournaments required an Internet connection, and WiiConnect24 to be turned on before they can be played. After a while, a tournament was retired to make room for a new one. However, the rankings of older tournaments could still be viewed on the rankings table. The tournaments began in May 2008 and continued even after all WiiConnect24 services were discontinued on June 28, 2013. The tournament service itself was later discontinued on May 20, 2014, the date on which the Nintendo WFC servers shut down.
The varieties of tournaments include:
Licenses replace normal save files. It is the first Mario Kart game to feature save files.
Each license contains each player's data, their Mii, nickname, Friend Code, and a table including all categories and cups with an empty space. After a cup is won, the corresponding space is filled in with a colored square: gold for first place, silver for second, bronze for third. If at any time the Mii being used for Mario Kart Wii is deleted from the Mii Channel, the in-game Mii is also deleted.
Players can add different people around the world on to their Mario Kart Wii Friend Roster. Two people need to add the Friend Codes on their licenses. A player can have up to 30 people on their Friend Roster.
If two people are friends on a roster, one can open a room, which allows who is ever friends with the person to join that room. In the room, the players who joined can send messages. If a player who added the person who created the room, and another person joins and the player has not added them, they have an ability to do so. The host of the room can choose a VS Race, Team VS Race, Balloon Battle, and Coin Runners.
If a player joins a race when another player is online and friends with them, the player who added the player in the race can join that race and race with the friend.
Mario Kart Wii includes two new items: the Mega Mushroom and the POW Block, and brings back the Thunder Cloud (from the Mario Kart Arcade GP installments). Items can be earned by driving through Item Boxes on the courses, just like in previous games. Once a player has done so, an item will be selected via the Item Roulette. Players can use items by pressing . In general, players tend to obtain a weak item such as a Banana or a Green Shell when they are in first. However, if players are in a lower place, they obtain a slightly more powerful item such as a Red Shell or Lightning is more frequent. Usually, the lower the place of the player, the rarer and more powerful the item they get. Stars, Mega Mushrooms, and Bullet Bills are examples of powerful items as they provide speed boosts and invincibility. This is the only game in the Mario Kart series where the drivers do not vocally react to getting inked by a Blooper.
Items with an asterisk (*) signify this item's most recent appearance in the Mario Kart series (only appearance for the new items).
Mario Kart Wii features 12 starting characters, while 14 (if both Mii outfits are counted as separate characters) more can be unlocked for a total of 26 playable characters. Unlike with the past Mario Kart titles, however, the characters are categorized under a size class system, instead of the usual weight class system. Excluding the Mii, each size class has 8 characters, making Mario Kart Wii the only game in the Mario Kart series where the weight/size classes have an equal amount of characters, if including Shy Guy from Mario Kart DS.
The size classes are as follows:
All the characters in the game have their own set of bonuses that boost certain stats for their vehicles. Units are out of 80, so a stat bonus of 3 would make a stat three points better than normal. Baby Peach and Large Miis have the most stat bonuses, with a total of 15 each. Bowser Jr. has the fewest stat bonuses, with a total of 6.
There are thirty-six total vehicles in the Wii installment (all of them can be seen here: ). 18 karts, 18 bikes, each divided into the 3 size classes, making 6 and 6 available to each character, 3 and 3 to begin (thus making half of the vehicles unlockable). Each has 7 stats, which are shown during character selection:
The following table includes vehicles in order of class primarily. The last half of each of these six sub-sections is the way the vehicle drifts (whether it's an internal drift or an external drift) and the unlockable vehicles; the right-hand column describes the requirement to unlock it: if it is a single cup, it must be simply won. The stats are displayed with number values, with the units being out of 80. Names written in small text are names from the PAL regions.
Note: Vehicles with an Off-Road value greater than 50 can drift on normal off-road terrain.
The stats reported do not correspond to all the actual in-game stats.
There are 20 different kinds of bonuses, some of them divided in Standard bonuses (relative to when the vehicle is going straight or drifting) and in bonuses obtained While Steering:
The vehicles have 30 stats (31 for the karts) that don't always overlap with the character bonuses. Acceleration is divided in four stages, presumably depending on the actual speed relative to the full speed. In each stage, acceleration is determined by two factors, a stage-specific S factor which is affected by the character bonus and a general E factor. These factors change while drifting, that itself can begin once the vehicle has reached 55% of its top speed. Finally, some stats change depending on the drifting method used (either Manual or Auto) and depending on the fact that the vehicle is steering (While Steering) or not (Standard).
Race courses are divided into various Cups again: Mushroom Cup, Flower Cup, Star Cup and Special Cup for new courses and Shell Cup, Banana Cup, Leaf Cup and Lightning Cup for old courses. Notably, these are the same as Mario Kart DS.
All thirty-two tracks have three laps, regardless of length and difficulty. At first, only two Wii and two Retro Cups are available, but clearing the former two in first place unlocks the Star Cup, while clearing the latter two in first place unlocks the Leaf Cup; likewise, clearing the Star and Leaf Cups in first place unlocks the Special and Lightning Cups, respectively. This process only applies for the difficulty level the player is in, so it must be repeated for all others to have the secret Cups available in each of them.
There are sixteen new courses in Mario Kart Wii.
These are courses that appeared in previous Mario Kart installments, much like in Mario Kart DS. This includes two courses from Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart: Super Circuit, and four from Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Kart DS. These have been graphically updated and have some new details such as extra trees and ramps, new features such as jumps, pipe tricks, and even added shortcuts. These retro courses appear in the Shell, Banana, Leaf and Lightning cups. This game has the most retro Mario Circuit courses of any Mario Kart game.
This game has the most battle courses of any Mario Kart game, and each course does not share the same music.
Mario Kart Wii featured one course that was exclusive to certain online tournaments.
In Mario Kart Wii, there are Normal Staff Ghosts and Expert Staff Ghosts. Beating the normal staff Ghosts by a certain amount of time unlocks the Expert Staff Ghosts. Unlocking Expert Staff Ghosts can help unlock certain characters and vehicles in the game. Below are two tables: the first shows the Normal Staff Ghosts, while the second shows the Expert Staff Ghosts, and also shows the character and vehicle the Ghost used.
Normal Staff Ghosts
Expert Staff Ghosts
Differences in multiplayer modes
As in the previous games in the Mario Kart series, there are several small changes made to the courses in split-screen mode, most likely to preserve the frame-rate.
References to other games
References in later games
Bozon of IGN gave the game an 8.5 out of 10, praising the online play, the presentation, and the gameplay but criticizing the cheap AI in 150cc, the lack of voice chat, reliance on friend codes, and the random items. He finished off with, "Every player is going to have their own love/hate relationship with Mario Kart Wii, but in the end the game does so many things right that it'd be foolish not to give credit where due. Online seriously raises the bar for Nintendo, trumping even Smash in a big, big way. The sense of community you can get even with random racers online and ghost-supported leader boards is impressive, and the fact that you can head on to Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection solo, with a friend via split-screen, or hook up with buddies across the world without worry of lag and never-ending disconnect notices makes Mario Kart Wii a pure joy to play online. It isn't the best Mario Kart in the series, but it's a must-play experience on Wii, and standard-setting offering as far as online, channel support, and connectivity are concerned. Now if you'll excuse us, we've got some online stats to obsess over." Sammy Barker of Nintendo Life praised the game for its polished gameplay and being well-thought and brilliant. Though he criticized the presentation, he wrote, "Poor presentation should not be an issue in this generation of gaming, particularly with the other consoles doing it so well, but, thankfully for us (as Wii owners), this game is a living, breathing example of gameplay over graphics." He gave the game 9/10 stars.  Oli Welsh of Eurogamer gave the game a score of 8/10. He praised the presentation of the game, the use of the Wii Wheel, and the smooth gameplay while criticizing the Battle Mode and the single player exclusive Grand Prix mode (though this was revised after being informed by Nintendo that four sequences of races with friends is still possible). He wrote, "Ultimately, the sheer sensory pleasure of playing Mario Kart Wii - from the charming animations, to the bopping tunes, to the sugar-rush boosting, to the exquisite steering - far overcomes the few concerns we have about it. It still has to be docked a mark for the awkward structure and compromised battle modes - but it's still unreservedly recommended to anyone for whom Mario Kart is a gaming cornerstone. And really, that should be everyone."
Ryan Davis of Giant Bomb criticized the game for being safe. He wrote, "Mario Kart Wii is a good game stunted by its audience's apparently insatiable appetite for the exact same thing, over and over again. The addition of online play and motion controls are good, but they're also the most predictable choices possible. Personally, I'm completely tired of getting exactly what I expect." He gave the game a 3 out of 5 stars. Edge gave the game 6/10, criticizing the game's compromising local, splitscreen multiplayer for online play. They ended with "Undercutting local multiplayer to benefit the online movement is a grievous error. Of all the multiplayer franchises, we struggle to think of a title in which four friends sat side by side seemed more natural. Having sacrificed racing integrity in Double Dash to side with social silliness, Nintendo has turned 180 degrees into an awkward halfway house. It’s a residence from where it has attempted to regain time-trial credentials with the loosest racing yet, and sees the company finally find its online feet by betraying one of its great pastimes. Perhaps first place in Mario Kart Wii isn’t the least enjoyable location in gaming after all."
Pre-release and unused content
Unused graphics have been found depicting icons for a Hammer Bro, a Koopa Paratroopa, and Petey Piranha.
Note: All names are conjectural unless otherwise specified.
Thirteen players online
Rarely, when a player finishes a race and leaves the results screen, the top left corner will say, "The next match might have 13 players", although it should say 12. It is also possible, although unlikely, to say more than 13 players (i.e. "The next match might have 14 players"). The reason is, that during matchmaking the Wiis are counted, but not the players. A Wii with 2 players uses 2 racing slots of 12 total, but is counted only as one. The next match will never have more than 12 players, though.
Grumble Volcano rock lap glitch
If the player manages to get on top of the large rock to the left of the starting line in Grumble Volcano, each time they drive around it, the game will act as if the player completed a lap, and it will count a lap for the player.
Mario Kart Wii is developed by Nintendo EAD. Shigeru Miyamoto is the general producer of the game, with the producer being Hideki Konno and the executive producer being Satoru Iwata. Yasuyuki Oyagi directed the game.
Mario Kart Wii Trading Cards were released to celebrate the release of Mario Kart Wii. Trading Card packs additionally included tattoos called FunTats.
Music and Sound
Technically, this is the first game before Mario Kart 8 to feature revamped music for retro courses. In this case, the SNES and GBA tracks received revamped songs, as well as some of the battle stages. Tracks from the N64 and DS had their songs slightly enhanced in sound quality. The GCN tracks, however, remained relatively the same. This trait is also kept in Mario Kart 7 as well.
An official soundtrack was released in 2011 by Club Nintendo as a Platinum reward featuring 43 songs from the game itself.
Name in other languages