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Games : Highly Recommended
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Release Date: May 30th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 2014

Mario Kart 8

Overview -

Nintendo, keen to keep its home console alive, has gone back to the well with an installment of the faithful 'Mario Kart' series for the Wii U. 'Mario Kart 8' throws anti-gravity karts into the mix, while grabbing at the 3DS incarnation, 'Mario Kart 7,' as inspiration for both the online offerings and increased kart customization. Topping it all off, this is the first Mario Kart to go beyond SD. With HD visuals and modern sharing features, this all-time party series makes its case for the Wii U's continued survival.

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
Audio Formats:
5.1 LPCM
Release Date:
May 30th, 2014

Video Review


The visuals aren't just crisp and 60 frames-per-second smooth, they're absolutely voluptuous in imagination and color. This is Nintendo's most glorious realization of the Mushroom Kingdom yet, absolutely exploding and dense with charm, bright-eyed fantasy and impeccable precision. The diversity is there too. You'll zip by head-bouncing piranha plants in the rave-happy Electrodome and essentially ski down Mount Wario in a track broken up by segments instead of laps.

And it's not just the sprawl of the environments that gets you, it's the detailed and often hilarious character animations that draw you ever closer to the experience, especially in the mega slow motion replays tailing each and every race. You might've seen the Luigi death stare online by now, his furred eyebrows dangerously peering to his opponents as he menacingly drifts by, but every character, even the seemingly drab koopalings, is wildly emotive. That you can capture these small moments in the Mario Kart TV replays is a testament to both Nintendo's confidence and desire to show off the beauty of this game to the masses. It turns out Nintendo can do HD quite well.

Audio Review


On par with the visuals in both imagination and diversity, the music and sound effects present in each and every moment bring 'Mario Kart 8' to vibrant life. And it's not just the matching of an appropriate tune to a track, or tracing an incoming green shell into a pained yelp somewhere off-screen, it's Nintendo's desire to engage the action on-screen with the sounds coming out of it. Tunes are sped up and modified in the final laps, even completely changed to a 'Super Mario Galaxy' reverence in the previously mentioned 'Cloudtop Cruise,' halfway through.

The thunderous smack of Rock Bowser's fists in Bowser's Castle reverberates throughout the entire track, while the piano keys in 'Music Park' play to the tune of your wheels just as they did in 'Mario Kart 7.'

And the theme music marks the furthest in Nintendo's trend towards jazzy-remixes for the Mario brand, alleviating any and all tension and seriousness in the opening acts of your experience. Avid viewers of 'Saturday Night Live' may even feel a twinge of deja-vu as they turn the game on for the first time.

Final Thoughts

Considering that the majority of this review is spent going over the many marginal changes that accumulate to a massively entertaining whole, the bottom line is that 'Mario Kart 8' is 'Mario Kart,' just better, so the worst thing about 'Mario Kart 8' is it doesn't strive to reinvent much of anything. But then that's how the series has been ever since odd dog 'Double Dash' did its own thing.

As a bona fide Nintendo staple, coming off its most successful home console release in the Wii version, refinement has ever been the call, and now on the Wii U the series has arguably reached its most polished state while boasting both HD visuals and a robust set of online capabilities.  Somehow both frantic and balanced, lovers of the series will find the absolute best the series has ever offered, and newbies are lucky enough to still have 'Mario Kart' in such remarkable form.