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A 2008 racing game developed by Nintendo Entertainment.

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Mario Kart Shows Its Age

  • Feb 7, 2010
  • by

Nearly two decades after the original Super Mario Kart for the SNES, with Mario Kart Wii it seems that the venerable kart racer showing its age. It doesn't help that its console predecessor, Mario Kart: Double Dash for the Gamecube was just about perfect. So what can Mario Kart Wii do to improve upon that? The easiest way is to use the Wii's technology. The Wiimote is used for steering, by holding the Wiimote horizontally. It's reasonably effective, but feels a little off-balance without the steering wheel accessories. It doesn't add much to the gameplay, and it's not quite as easy to pick up and play as perhaps Nintendo had hoped, as a few tests with non-gamers have shown.

Unfortunately, that's about the only place where Mario Kart Wii improves upon its predecessors in terms of the gameplay. Double Dash felt like a deeper game in virtually every fashion, from the pre-race character selection which had significant impact on in-race items, to a varied range of tracks to pick from. It even had a random track selector, something Mario Kart Wii is sorely lacking in single-player - Mario Kart Wii offers half new tracks and half old tracks, and it's something of a surprise to see how much more fun the older tracks feel, particularly those taken from Mario Kart DS and Double Dash (although Baby Park is sorely lacking).

Also severely lacking is a multi-player Grand Prix mode, an option which gave Double Dash some of its most memorable moments. Even worse, not only is the single-player mode is less fun than its predecessors, it also happens to take much more time and energy to unlock all characters and vehicles. In fact, the whole game has a somewhat stripped-down feeling, starting with its opening movie – it's like Nintendo felt compelled to release a Mario Kart for the Wii, so they did.

Where Mario Kart Wii shines is its multiplayer mode in with the Nintendo Wireless Connection. Finding matches is fast, easy, and fun, although it's a fairly shallow string of individual races with no Grand Prix mode or any long-term effects except for a consistently changing player's rating. Team races or Grand Prix's would have been a welcome addition. The multiplayer mode does pretty clearly demonstrate flaws with the single-player racing, as differences in skill levels are much more apparent, while the random chaos that makes Mario Kart so fun still occurs.

The underlying fast, easy, fun mechanics of the series keeps Mario Kart Wii eminently playable, but its shallow gameplay and apparent lack of ideas make it look like it may no longer be the king of the kart racers for much longer.


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More Mario Kart Wii reviews
review by . October 10, 2009
posted in The Gaming Hub
Since its inception in 1993, the Mario Kart Franchise has been a fun joyride for many a gamer. With 2005's Mario Kart DS being an incredible game, Mario Kart Wii has a lot to live up to. Unfortunately it doesn't live up.  In fact, Mario Kart Wii just might be one of the worst in the franchise due to its ability to make sure no skill can be used.  Yep, even Mario Kart has been subjected to making sure it's accessible to everyone (you mean it wasn't before?) but it's done in the absolute …
review by . March 13, 2010
Mario Kart Wii
   Mario Kart Wii is a very fun game. It is when you race against 12 people on it; it goes up to  4 players! Its for Wii and nintendo. With the wii one you move it side to side to move your cart. With the nintendo you use the pad. In Mario Kart Wii, you can unlock places. Example: Maple Treeway. You can also unlock characters. Example: Birdo. I think its a good game if you like car racing. I recommend it. I think its the funest game on the wii!
Quick Tip by . March 12, 2010
Controls could be better.
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Mario Kart Wii​ (マリオカートWii, Mario Kāto Wii?) is a racing game developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development and published by Nintendo for the Wii console. It is the sixth installment in the Mario Kart series (excluding the two arcade games) and the second Mario Kart title to use the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. The game was released worldwide throughout April 2008, but one year later in South Korea. Every copy of the game is packaged with the Wii Wheel accessory, which is designed to house the Wii Remote to allow more intuitive and conventional steering.

Changes from its predecessor, Mario Kart DS, include motorbikes and support for up to twelve racers online. Like other games in the Mario Kart series, it involves various characters from several Mario games racing each other on tracks themed from locations in the Mario series. Support for the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection allows racing against other players from around the world, and online competitions and results are available by installing the Mario Kart Channel to the Wii Menu.

Mario Kart Wii was first shown at E3 2007. It has been positively received by critics; while not revolutionary, the online capability and the large number of tracks, characters and karts has been praised. The game had a commercially successful launch in every region, and sold over a million copies in both Japan and the United States in less than a month.
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Number of Players: 1-4
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Console: Wii
Genre: Racing
Release Date: April 27, 2008
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