Hello everyone, Bloo52 here with Bloo's Reviews. The game I will be reviewing today is Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U. I got this game as an early birthday present the day after it came out, and besides Mario Kart DS, it is the only Mario Kart I own. Now, let the review commence!
Since this is a Mario Kart game, there isn't really a plot since the game focuses on gameplay. There are five game modes in all, Grand Prix, Time Trials, VS Race, Battle, and Online. In Grand Prix, you race in one cup (composed of four race tracks) and try to win all the races and get the trophy. In Time Trials, you can either try to see how fast you can complete a course or race against a staff ghost and try to beat their time. In Vs race, You set perimeters for the races (like teams, engine class, item selection, etc) and then race. In Battle mode, you do balloon battles on certain courses (more on that later). And in Online mode, you race online. The gameplay is very simple for GP, TT, VS, And Online, you just race, but Battle mode is a little different. In Battle mode, you get three balloons and you have to pop other peoples balloons using items such as the green shell or the mushroom. The difference this time around is that instead of fighting on battle courses designed for battle mode, you fight on unedited racing tracks like Dry Dry Desert or Moo Moo Meadows. I don't think this was a good idea because in the old Mario Kart games, it was easy to find someone to take balloons from, but now you have to drive around a giant course to find people to fight. Sometimes, they can even hide in shortcuts or behind a ramp. This isn't a big issue for me since I never played battle mode in the other Mario Kart games anyway, but i can see how this fact could make a lot of people mad. I apologize if I'm not going too much in depth with the game modes, but there is a lot to talk about in this game.
The racing courses are split into two categories Nitro (new) courses and Retro (returning) courses. Each type of course has four cups of it's type, so there are four retro cups and four nitro cups, with four races per cup. That means there are 32 races in all, 16 per type of course. The new courses are fun to play on for the most part and they all use the zero gravity mechanic well, as well as gliding which returns from Mario Kart 7. The retro courses are courses from previous Mario Kart titles that have been revamped to work with the new mechanics in Mario Kart 8. The courses all have a certain theme like Mount Wario is reminiscent of a ski course and Electrodrome has a nightclub theme going on with the techno music playing and the Koopa Troop dance party shown on the monitors throughout the course.
The game controls great, steering feels precise and the cars and bikes control as they should. Personally, I didn't like the ATVs very much because they turn slowly and they have poor speed, but that may just be due to the characters and vehicle parts I chose when I used them. The graphics are bright, colorful, and in HD. Everything has a unique texture from the serene water in Toad Harbor to the glaring lightning in Cloudtop Cruise. This game may be one of the best looking Wii U games of the year! The racing is still the fun, fast-paced action you would expect from a Mario Kart game. The items are back and are still satisfying to use on other racers. My personal favorite is the new super horn which emits a shockwave that makes other racers spin out and destroys red, green, and even BLUE shells. It doesn't come up very often though, so use it wisely! Speaking of coming up often, the item rotation in this game is improved from the other Mario Kart games. Items like the blue shell and the bullet bill don't come up as often as they used to, but I think lightning has become more common than the other powerful items (which is a pain for courses with big jumps like Royal Raceway or Sunshine Airport).
There are many things to do after you unlock all of the tracks. You can complete the time trials for stamps, you can unlock vehicle parts by collecting coins during races, and you can collect stamps of the characters by finishing a grand prix with that character (i.e you finish a grand prix with mario, you get a mario stamp). You can also race or battle against others online and try to score the most points. The online mode rarely has slowdown issues, so don't worry about any lag while you race.
In my opinion, Mario Kart 8 is an amazing game. I really enjoyed the tracks that employed zero-gravity and hang gliding (Toad Harbor and the N64 Rainbow Road are my favorite courses). The music is outstanding, especially in Dolphin Shoals. I really like the new jazzy nintendo tracks and I hope they keep doing some songs in this style. The only complaints I have with this game are the ATVs having poor control and the brand new battle mode, but those complaints are very minor, since you never have to do battle mode or control an ATV.
This game gets a 10/10 score and, once again, if numbers aren't your forte(or if you don't want to be reminded of math class next month), you should buy this game. See you guys next month with another review!