Mario Kart

Take a step back in time with the new Mario Kart Wii – everything you know and love on a new console.

Mario Kart



First up I have to say I’m biased towards the Wii – just the whole notion of getting physically active whilst playing a console game immediately piques my interest. Granted few games on the Wii have taken this element of the console and run with it – but with the Wii Fit gaining a foothold in the console market, that’s all about to change…

Ok now I’ve told you my Wii bias, let me also explain that I’m a big fan of Mario. So Wii and Mario together… definitely whet my appetite.

Mario Kart marks the first instalment of the famous franchise on the Wii platform and no doubt many more will follow. The game comes bundled with a Mario Kart steering wheel (though you’ll find your regular controller works just as well) and after a few minutes you’ll become accustomed to manoeuvring with the wheel – although it does seem a little twitchy and sluggish to respond at times particularly when you’re rounding the curves, pulling up for a jump or trying to stick a wheelie.

Anyone who’s been playing Mario since the SNES and N64 knows this franchise like the back of their hand and honestly there’s very little here to surprise fans. The game offers a few tweaks on the standard Kart game – there’s new courses, of course; the addition of motorbikes but everything else is familiar territory. It’s a proven formula – and Nintendo are gonna stick to it.

As usual there you’re competing for a series of Cups. Will you take out the Grand Prix? That depends on whether you can survive the races avoiding your increasingly annoying competitor’s trickery in a good enough time to gain ranking… Racing skill seems to have taken a back seat to shenanigans in this game – race to win and you’ll spend most of the time being targeted by your opponents and dodging bombs. Hang at the back and you can most likely catch a bullet that will push you to the front and allow you to take out a bunch of karts along the way… Although one good thing (according to my friend, Leigh) is that annoying snaking cheat whereby other players could weave side to side and build up speed to snake past you – seems to have been banished from the game play.

So back to the gameplay – as I mentioned before, there are motorbikes – and yes you can race on bike instead of the ubiquitous karts but there is very little in the handling to differentiate between them and frankly you’re more likely to get wiped out when on the bikes so it’s probably better to steer clear of them.

There’s no denying Nintendo have spent considerable time mapping out this game

So what of the landscape?
There’s no denying Nintendo have spent considerable time mapping out this game – the environs look absolutely schmick. You wish you had more time to explore rather than hurling yourself through a track as fast as you can – it all looks so gorgeous. Colour and definition in this game is great.

This time around there are the ubiquitous four cups – Mushroom, Fire Flower, Star and Special – with a lot of the courses having a very familiar feel… But let’s face it Mario Kart has always been strong on nostalgia and you’ll see lots or familiarity between this game and the DS version.

As with previous versions of the game, the more you play the more features you can unlock – from extra characters to more vehicles – which now come grouped as light medim or heavy, meaning you can really define your vehicle for the game terrain. Feel inclined to a bit of drift racing – then go for it!

Fuzzy childhood memories aside Mario Kart for the Wii is still a great game – particularly if you’re trying to entice your non gaming friends into having a bash. It’s simple enough for non gamers to get a grasp of quite quickly while expert players can have fun blasting them with trickery…

By Cec Busby

Stay tuned for part two – taking Mario Kart Wii on line – with Leigh.