Mario Kart? Weee!!
One of Mario's most profitable other professions is no doubt, kart racing. Since it's inception in 1992, the Mario Kart franchise has roughly sold over 19 million copies in the North America alone and has made numerous improvements over the years. When the group started their engines for the first time, the graphics were two dimensional. The cast has changed, the items have changed and new tracks were added but the fundamentals have always been the same. These are, after all, racing games. You press a button to go and you try to beat everyone else. How do you improve on that? Mario Kart Wii, like it's predecessors, did it by adding new content.
When you pick up your copy of Mario Kart Wii from the store, you'll notice it's quite a bit thicker than what you would expect. That is because Nintendo has graciously packed a shiny new Wii wheel with your purchase. They threw the first one in free in hopes that you will buy some more. The clerk at the game store even tried to upsell some extra wheels when I picked up the game. Nintendo sure is trying to hauck their crap on us. How many Wiimote accessories do you need anyway? It's a good thing that the motion detection of the Wiimote is not the only way to control your vehicle. You can grab your Nunchuck and do away with the white, circular piece of plastic. Have a few Gamecube controllers lying around? Hook'em up and go for it. Would you rather be nostalgic and use a d-pad? If you have a classic controller then your dream can come true. The many ways to control of this game makes it versatile so those who may not be particularly good at steering with a Wii wheel can hook up other methods of input.
Mario Kart is an old dog that doesn't seem to have the capacity to learn any new tricks. By throwing in some new bits they hope to satisfy the appetites of it's fan base. The main addition is that of the two-wheeled cousin of the automobile, the motor bike. Besides the new rides, Mario Kart Wii features some new characters, new items, and many new tracks. Something I liked was that they added new tournament cups that exclusively feature tracks from previous Mario Kart games.
Gameplay is exactly what you would expect from a Mario Kart title; It's a time-honoured classic! Race your opponents around the track while using various items to attack and slow them down. It really offers some chaotic racing. For me though, the chaotic fun can turn into ultimate frustration. To many times have I been on the verge of victory when I get slammed by various shells and lightning. These times made me want to pull out my hair and also turned me off of the game. Otherwise, the tracks are fun to play and it's always fun to be on the giving end of a barrage of red shells.
One significant new feature that comes with Mario Kart Wii is the online play that is offered through the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection. Mario Kart has it's roots in multiplayer so it's only natural that it extend it's roots over the entire globe. I was skeptical initially but after playing a few matches, my skepticism was brushed away. I have not experienced any lag and the menu's are easy to navigate and use. You can check your time trial records against your friends or people on the other side of the world. It offers a simple and quick way for you to race against friends or strangers alike but those who desire a more in-depth way to interact or communicate with opponents will probably be disappointed.
Overall, the game isn't much different from it predecessors but that isn't
important. If you liked any other of the Mario Kart games then you will feel right at home with this game. With a basket full of new content and some online multiplayer, you will have a good time with this game however; don't be surprised if this game causes you to throw your wiimote across the room.