in Review

Mario Kart 8

What better way to mark my return to the blogosphere than with a dear old friend by my side? Mario Kart has delighted and flustered young slurpee-swilling gamers for over 22 years and even in its eighth installment, has yet to hit a road block. Rarely a series that takes any leaps of faith from game-to-game, Mario Kart instead makes minor tweaks and adjustments to a series that was essentially perfected from day one. Though I hadn’t seriously played an installment in a while there were features in MK8 that I simply couldn’t resist. The polished graphics, anti-gravity, playing as Bowser’s little shits, getting all the items all at once? As a Wii U owner this was something I had to have, and there’s been no regrets.

My initial reaction to MK8 was taking in the graphics. The game has never looked better in a fresh coat of Wii U paint and I especially took pleasure in revisiting the past stages retooled for the new game. After this I took notice of the challenge. The challenge of the game on its highest difficulty can be infuriating at first but rewarding later. Getting to know the courses and the art of drifting are key essentials to success and after practicing those I started to enjoy the hard mode. What’s even more interesting is how the game seems to actually be harder when playing on a lower difficulty with friends. I don’t know if there’s more venom when playing alongside your “friends” but it certainly adds a more chaotic, unpredictable slant to the courses. I love playing the game both single-player and with friends and am glad you can go through “story mode” in either form.

As far as I know, the Koopa Kids are the newest additions in the character department. I prefer to play as Lemmy, considering he’s the least disgusting, but for the most part none of them are particularly memorable. I’m not sure what’s new in the vehicle selection but I’m a fan of the variety and customization. My fav combo is to play as Yoshi riding the Yoshi-Cycle, there’s something eerily satisfying about riding a motorcycle that has your face on it. The weapons are as solid as ever, though I’m particularly a fan of the ability to receive every item at once. So much chaos. So much anger. So much fun.

My biggest complaint is the complaint I have with all Mario Kart games. Too short. It’s easy to beat the game in a single night if you’re competitive. I’d love more unlockable stages but I suppose that’s what downloadable content is for… Bastards. Speaking of stages, “Battle Mode” is a real disapointment. If I recall, previous installments featured stages specifically for battling friends but this time it’s just the same stages you use for races. If it isn’t hard enough to find the other character it’s too time consuming and lacks the tension and overall satisfaction. That aside, there’s plenty to like about this game. If you like to compete with friends, or just compete alone because all of your friends are dead, this is the game for you!