Mario Kart Wii
Mario Kart Wii is a multiplayer-oriented racing game from the Mario Kart franchise for the Wii console, developed by Nintendo EAD. Mario Kart Wii retains the traditional item-based weaponry familiar with the franchise, where players can select a Mario franchise driver and themed vehicles. As with most racing games, the overarching goal is to place first among other competitors, through the usage of such items and taking the fastest routes to secure the leads. Several new key elements introduced to Mario Kart Wii include increasing the number of racers to 12 racers from 8 racers from previous entries in the series, as well as introducing a new type of vehicle to the franchise: bikes. The game takes advantage of features unique to the Wii, most notably its motion control capabilities. 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. Additional game modes are also present such as the traditional Grand Prix, Versus, Battle, and Time Trial modes.
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. This makes it the only game in the Mario Kart series where data cannot be transferred between consoles. 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.
The game supported Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection for online multiplayer play until it was terminated by Nintendo on May 20th, 2014.
Mario Kart Wii retains most of the elements from previous Mario Kart games, especially Mario Kart DS. Players select a racer from a cast of Mario characters, who are all divided into size categories in relation to their stats, and they need to select a vehicle from the class they belong in, all with their own stats. All races start with players at a line corresponding to their proper position, where Lakitu signals the countdown time. Once the time is finished, players race three laps around a race course in an attempt to be first of the pack. Once the third lap is completed, players are ranked points depending on how well they placed in the race. 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 Grand Prix and VS mode, player characters always start out on the latter positions; once they finish the race, their position is saved as they move on to the next race. Like Mario Kart: Super Circuit and Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart Wii shows a rating of how well a player performed after the trophy presentation: ★★★, ★★, ★, A, B, C, D, and E (E being the lowest ranking and ★★★ being the highest).
Integral to the Mario Kart series is the usage of Mario-themed items to use as weapons against other racers in the track, either directly benefiting the player or hurting another player's progress. Players can receive these items at random from Item Boxes scattered around the track. The quality of the item received depends on the position of the racer: racers who are further down the line receive stronger items to help compensate their poorer performances. For examples, lower racers receive Mushrooms as speed boosts, Stars for faster invincibility, etc. while higher-placed racers receive weak items such as Green Shells and Banana Peels. When players receive an item, they can stop the item roulette faster by pressing the corresponding item button.
Several advanced techniques are retained in Mario Kart Wii from prior Mario Kart titles, although several tweaks have been made to them. Players can drift through tougher curves to maintain speed; players can perform a Mini-Turbo when players receive color-coded sparks from drifting, which depends on how long players can hold the button for drifting and the angle at which they drift. Introduced in Mario Kart Wii are two drift modes: Automatic and Manual. Automatic drifting allows players to automatically drift when turning very sharply, though players cannot perform Mini-Turbos regardless of how well they drift. Manual mode requires players hold down a button to drift, but releasing the button may release a Mini-Turbo, the strength of it depending on the color of the sparks. Players are now able to perform tricks when they driver over specific types of ramps. 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.
Motorbikes are introduced in this game, alongside having a wider variety of karts to select from. Motorbikes can perform wheelies to increase top speed on straights, though motorbikes cannot perform the most powerful Mini-Turbo that karts can. Motorbikes also come in two classes: drift type and hang-on type. Drift type bikes drift in a similar way to karts, while hang-on type bikes commit to the turn instead.
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 from 10/8/6/4/3/2/1/0 points for first to eighth place respectively to 15/12/10/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1/0 points for first to twelfth place respectively. Also, 4th and 5th place are not losing positions. The following chart shows the difference of the point spreads from previous games to this installment.
Mario Kart Wii takes advantage 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
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.
Mario Kart Wii introduces a new mode for the Mario Kart series, entitled "Tournaments" (known as "Competitions" in the European version). Tournaments are somewhat similar to missions in Mario Kart DS. Tournaments are played on the Mario Kart Channel, as long as the Mario Kart Wii disc is in the Wii. Tournaments require an Internet connection and WiiConnect24 to be turned on before they can be played. After a while, a tournament is retired to make room for a new one. However, the rankings of older tournaments can 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 the following:
Licenses replace normal save files. It is the first Mario Kart game to feature more than one save file.
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 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 second game in the Mario Kart series after Super Mario Kart 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:
Miis are also featured as an unlockable character with two different costumes to unlock – a racing suit and an outfit that varies depending on the gender (males wear Mario-style overalls, while females wear a Peach-styled short dress). The color of the outfit and the Mii's voice depends on the Mii's favorite color, while their size class is determined based on their height and weight.
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.
Additional enemies, obstacles, and species
These characters and features may either aid the player or act as obstacles and other intractable objects that impede racers if bumped into.
These characters appear as part of the audience or do not affect the character, being part of the course scenery served for world-building purposes.
There are thirty-six total vehicles in this game. There are 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). As with the Standard vehicles, each kart and bike varies in color scheme depending on which character drives them. 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 turns when the player attempts to drift (Drift = the vehicle drifts; Hang-on = the vehicle commits to the turn) 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 italics are names from the British English version.
Note: Vehicles with an Off-Road value greater than 50 can drift on normal off-road terrain.
There are 20 different kinds of bonuses, which increase a few statistics of the vehicles:
The vehicles have 31 stats. 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.
This is the first game in the series to have different track names in the American and PAL versions; this applies to DK Summit/DK's Snowboard Cross, Chain Chomp Wheel/Chain Chomp Roulette, and Galaxy Colosseum/Galaxy Arena.
Wii Grand Prix
There are sixteen new courses in Mario Kart Wii.
Retro Grand Prix
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 second most retro Mario Circuit courses of any Mario Kart game, behind only Mario Kart Tour, which currently has four.
This game has the most battle courses of any Mario Kart game, and no two courses 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
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 (all three of which are absent from Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8). 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. 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.
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.
Consistent with the rest of the console Mario Kart series, Mario Kart Wii is developed by Nintendo EAD. Shigeru Miyamoto is the general producer of the game, with the producer being Hideki Konno, who had been consistently involved with the Mario Kart series since the first installment, except Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and the executive producer being Satoru Iwata. Yasuyuki Oyagi directed the game, having co-directed the series since Mario Kart 64 barring Mario Kart: Super Circuit, though Mario Kart Wii was the first installment he was the sole director of and the last installment he directed, becoming a co-producer later on. Mario Kart Wii was the debut of Kosuke Yabuki as a planner; he would later become key staff and serving a director role in later Mario Kart installments.
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."
Mario Kart Wii won the "Favorite Video Game" award at the Nickelodeon 2010 Kids' Choice Awards, beating out The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, Wii Fit, and Wii Sports Resort. The game won the Best Online Multiplayer Game from IGN in 2008. In the Guinness World Records 2010 Gamer's Edition, Mario Kart Wii won the "Best-selling racing game" accolade.
In the week of May 4, 2008 in Japan, Mario Kart Wii became the best-selling game for the Wii, having sold over a million copies in Japan, less than a month after its release. In the UK, Mario Kart Wii was the 8th biggest selling video game in British history and the single best-selling Nintendo game in history. In the United States, at the month's release, Mario Kart Wii was the second best-seller at 1.12 million copies, being beaten out by the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV, but outselling the PS3 version of Grand Theft Auto IV. Mario Kart Wii currently is the second best-selling game on the Wii, beaten out by Wii Sports, and in turn the best-selling Mario game on the system; the game has sold a total of 37.38 million units as of December 31, 2020, and was originally the best-selling Mario Kart game and the best-selling racing video game of all time, before being overtaken by Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in September 30, 2021.
Trading cards were released to celebrate the release of Mario Kart Wii. Trading card packs additionally included tattoos called FunTats.
For the marketing of Mario Kart Wii in the United States only, Nintendo of America did a series of three commercials starring Cowboy Jed, primarily to promote their slogan for this game: "Get Behind The Wheel!". The slogan focuses on the Wii Wheel, Nintendo's targeted gameplay control, as stated earlier in this article.
Pre-release and unused content
Note: All names are conjectural unless otherwise specified.
Blue Fake Item Boxes in a Solo Race
If the player selects a team race or battle mode first and chooses the blue team, then exits and plays solo Vs. mode, the Fake Item Boxes will be blue instead of red.
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.
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. It is also the first and currently only game that cuts off the tracks' intros in the final lap.
The soundtrack was created using Best Service's Advanced Orchestra and Gigapack, EastWest's Stormdrum and Quantum Leap Brass, E-MU Systems' Proteus/3, Korg Triton Le, ILIO's Synclavier Essential Percussion and World & Orchestra, Roland's D-550, Fantom X7 and Sound Canvas SC-8850, Spectrasonics' Distorted Reality and Supreme Beats, Ueberschall's House Essentials and Zero-G's Jungle Warfare.
An official soundtrack was released in 2011 by Club Nintendo as a Platinum reward featuring 43 songs from the game itself.
References to other games
References in later games
Names in other languages