When talking about a videogame with such an illustrious past, it’s easy to overlook some teething problems by giving in to nostalgia. However, in Mario Kart’s case, there’s no false starts or botched pit stops. The newest edition really does seem as fresh as ever and boasts a great amount of depth.
With any Wii game, one of the first questions you need to ask is how well does the controller stand up, and in this case the answer is surprisingly well. As soon as you pop the Wiimote into the tiny white steering wheel, you’ll be power-sliding around corners just like the pros. For retro lovers, no worries, you can still use your Gamecube controllers; but my personal favourite by far is the Wiimote and Nunchuck combo.
The graphics are vibrant, sharp and to the greatest extent without framerate issues (except occasional slight slowdown when playing local multiplayer with multiple players). Motorbikes are a major addition to the series, and even though they take a little time to get used to, when you start stringing wheelies and stunts together you’ll be flying past those rusty old Karts.
In relation to Double Dash, there’s been a another change. It’s back to single character racing, folks, so no character switching for weapon hoarding or character specific super weapons. Boasting 32 stages, Mario Kart features a wide array of interesting and fun stages including old favourites from the N64, Gamecube, SNES and DS versions.
Mario Kart has a great online showing, if not the best on the platform at present. It allows either worldwide matchmaking or one based on geographic region e.g. Europe. Connecting to games is easy and fast. The framerate hardly ever drops below 60, and the online showing easily surpasses the single player experience.
I think one of the joys of the series and one which will never tire is the level of side-splitting happiness as you collect the bullet power-up and shoot from last place to first scabbing a win, or the controller smashing infuriation as you get blue shelled inches away from the finish line and come in last. It’s these moments which will keep the Mario Kart series in gaming history forever.