Review: Nintendo Rejoins The Race With ‘Mario Kart 8’



It’s been a while since Nintendo rolled up their sleeves, stuck their head under the hood and gave the Mario Kart series a much-needed tune up. The last few Mario Karts have added the odd new mode and gradually improved the series’ online component, but the core karting gameplay hasn’t significantly changed since Mario Kart: Double Dash over a decade ago. Aside from perhaps slight differences in course design philosophy Mario Kart DS, 7, Wii and Double Dash are all more or less the same when the rubber (and turtle shells) hit the road.

In terms of modes and features, Mario Kart 8 strips the karting experience to its bare essentials. Basically you have grand prix, time trials and online. Balloon Battle returns, but custom battle arenas have been replaced with futzing around on regular tracks, so honestly it may as well have been excluded. Really, the only new feature is Mario Kart TV, which allows players to share little highlight videos with other Mario Kart 8 owners, or post them directly to YouTube. It’s neat, although a more honest title for the feature might be “Hey, promote Mario Kart 8 for us for free, Nintendo fans!”



So yes, when you boot up the game and shuffle through its menus, a sense of disappointment may creep in. This is all there is? That feeling will quickly evaporate once you start your first race.

This is an all-new, supercharged Mario Kart. The game is absolutely gorgeous — from a technical standpoint it’s far and away Nintendo’s best-looking game ever, and from an aesthetic perspective, it can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with most of the stuff on the PS4 and Xbox One. The game also sounds great, with Mario Kart’s underappreciated catalog of backing tunes getting the live instrumental treatment. For the first time since the SNES original, Mario Kart feels like a premium, triple-A production.

Around The Web


How Learning To Play ‘Magic: The Gathering’ Changed My Life

When The Donald Trump Circus Comes To Your Small Town

25 Years Of ‘What About Bob?,’ An Ensemble Masterpiece Disguised As A Bill Murray Vehicle

‘Potato Chip’: The Behind-The-Scenes Story Of The Weirdest ‘SNL’ Sketch Ever

A Beginning Filmmaker’s Guide To Traveling The World Via Film Festivals

Sailing Across An Ocean Will Change Your Life — Here’s What To Know Before You Go

This 28-Year-Old Master Craftsman Has A Knack For Carving Out Works Of Art

By: 05.11.16

Meat Pies And Pubs: Experiencing The Insanity Of A Premier League Match

You’ll Tell Your Grandkids About Steph Curry’s Historic And Unforgettable Performance In Game 4

The Story Of Frybread — From Cheap Staple To Cultural Touchstone

A Fact-Soaked Odyssey Through Kentucky’s Bourbon Country

This Woman Is Fighting The Stigma Of Sex Work In America In Hopes Of Getting Her Child Back