Mario Kart 8

mario kart 8 wii u box art review
9.0 Overall Score
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 9/10
Controls: 9/10

Fun game that can be played quickly

Always could have more courses, very little innovation

Game Info

Game Name:  Mario Kart 8

Developer(s):  Nintendo EAD Group No. 1

Publisher(s):  Nintendo

Platform(s):  Wii U

Genre(s):  Racing

Release Date(s):  May 30, 2014

ESRB Rating:  E


Get in gear and start racing!

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines!  Mario and his friends are back and taking on all new courses along with some of his old favorites.  Grab your turtle shells, your invincibility stars, and you banana peels and get driving!  Choose your vehicle, your driver, and set out to win!

Mario Kart 8 (マリオカート8 or Mario Kāto Eito) was released for the Nintendo Wii U on May 30, 2014 (with a premiere on May 29 in Japan) as a follow-up to the Nintendo 3DS Mario Kart 7 from 2011.  The game was well received by critics and fans and set sales records for the system.  The initial release was followed by downloadable content on November 13, 2014 and April 23, 2015 which expanded the race track and playable characters.  A free download in May 2015 added a 200cc mode and a Mirror mode to the racing difficulties.


Luigi proves he’s not such a nice guy…with his patented “Death Stare”

I love Mario Kart.  The game was a must have for the Super Nintendo and it still is a must have for the Wii U.  Although the format rarely changes, the fun does…with little tweaks, Mario Kart 8 does show improvement from Mario Kart Wii.

The game’s controllers are back to “normal”.  Mario Kart Wii made a lot of use of the Wii’s motion control for steering.  Here, Mario Kart returns to the traditional controller for its steering…I prefer this.  The Wii-mote steering was a nice novelty, but it feels much more responsive here…you can move your arms and hands just like you were steering and it has the same effect.


Because you demanded it, the Tanookie Mario! (if you buy the downloadable content)

The selection of levels is also decent.  Nintendo began “recycling” courses for Mario Kart games and I don’t know that I love that, but this version of the recycled levels is much cleaner than Mario Kart Wii…if anything, Mario Kart 8 suffers from looking too good in that you can’t really “explore” the levels as you are moving at high octane levels.  I particularly like the non-“oval” course where you are going on a madcap straight line dash…it changes the format and makes replaying fun.

The only problem that I’ve ever had with Mario Kart games is the characters/karts.  I don’t really care about customizing the cars because it really feels pointless.  If you pick a bad car, you won’t get far, so why make a bad car?  In early versions of the game, the character selection made a bigger impact than it feels it does here…you still have big characters, medium characters, and light characters, but it doesn’t matter which one you use…you just need to get it done.  It also goes into “unfair mode” in that you can be leading all of the race and the game gets revenge on you by hitting you repeatedly until you end up 4th or 5th.


Call your friends for some multiplayer fun!

The game features a number of courses and modes (for single and multi-player) which helps keep it relevant and the two downloadable bonus packs are definitely worth purchasing since you can run through the first courses in a half-a-day.  I don’t love downloadable content, but this is one of the better packs.

Mario Kart 8 is a good, solid edition to the Wii U.  It is sad that the Wii U isn’t performing as well as hoped because it is a step up from the Wii.  If you go to Mario Kart 8 expecting big changes, be prepared to be disappointed.  The game doesn’t change much up, but it does feel fresh and fun…and I’m sure with record sales, Mario & Co. will be racing again (in fact Mario Kart 8 received a revamped version for the Nintendo Switch called Mario Kart 8 Deluxe).

Related Links:

Super Mario Kart

Mario Kart DS

Mario Kart 7

Mario Kart Wii

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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