Before I even start, I need to clear something up: this is not exactly a review. This is more like random thoughts of an easily entertained gamer. Being easily entertained is very satisfying because it allows me to enjoy a wider range of things. But I digress, it’s not like you need to be easily entertained to enjoy Mario Kart 8
Mario kart has been one of those games that I know I’ll enjoy. It’s not a series that maks me wish I had the console or handheld it’s on, but if I have it, I’ll play it. Mario Kart 8, offered a couple of things that hyped me enough to be glad I owned a Wii U. The first little bit of information that drove me crazy was the return of the Koopalings
I was sad to hear that they are suddenly not Bowser kids, but excited to see them all playable, even if this makes 33.33% of the roster koopas. Fortunately, they are all scattered among different weights, so they don’t play the same like the whole baby set for example. The character selection is not exactly varied in the sense that most of them are either plumbers, princesses, babies or koopalings, and a lot of more unique characters didn’t make it into MK8, but there are still 30 characters to choose from once you unlock them all.
Then there is the fact that this game looks really nice and detailed. When I’m playing by myself, I find myself partly trying to pay attention to the background. Even the retro stages feel different (And they are a bit different too, since they were modified to include some of the most recent features, that were absent on their original games.)
The kart/characters unlocking process is a little bit different too. In previous games, you needed to complete specific cups to unlock racers and karts (or karts pieces), so you had to play every cup in every difficulty if you wanted to unlock everything. Mario Kart 7 offered a different approach by only having racers unlocked by cups, and everything else by collecting coins in races. This means that you would be able to unlock kart pieces in any mode, including versus mode or online. In Mario Kart 8, pieces are unlocked the same way, but characters are randomly unlocked by just getting gold on any Grand Prix Cup. This way you are not limited or forced to get gold on a specific cup or difficulty.
The game also feels a lot more forgiving. I still get hit by a lot of random items, but not like the ridiculous amount of times I did in MK7. In MK7, as soon as you crossed the finish lines, remaining racers would lock in the place they were when you did. MK8 actually allows them to finish by themselves. This is good because if you needed the racer behind you to lose by a larger margin, and you hit him with a green shell, even if you crossed the line . there will be a chance of that happening.
Another nifty feature are the Highlight Reels. After finishing a race, a highlight reel will be temporally saved. There is a new mode called Mario Kart TV, or MKTV, where you can watch reels for your last 12 runs. You can also favorite up to 6 reels, saving them from being overwritten by future races. You can edit this reels to either show the whole race, focusing on a specific racer, or do a 30,45, or 60 secs reels highlighting between 1 and 4 racers and focusing in either drifts, big hits, actions, items or simply a bit of everything. These reels can be then shared on Miiverse and even directly uploaded to youtube. So if you have a particularly awesome run, you can share it easily.
My racing skills are terrible, but here is a reel example by moi.
Anyway, there’s still a lot of things for me to try, but hopefully my easily entertained self will enjoy them as I try them. Now if you escuse me, I still have kart parts to unlock.