April 4th, 2014, 00:14 Posted By: wraggster
If ever there was a single game that could turn around the Wii U's fortunes and change its story from that of a GameCube-type disappointment to a 3DS-style revival, it's Mario Kart 8.
Smash Bros and Zelda may be the other games hardened Nintendo fans are keeping their eyes on, but Mario Kart is the one that transcends the hardcore/casual divide.
That's why, with an astonishing 35 million copies sold, Mario Kart Wii was the fifth best-selling video game of all time. It's why the latest 3DS offering, Mario Kart 7, shifted another 9 million units. And it's why the eighth game is the one that, if marketed as well as it plays, could finally be the Wii U's golden mushroom Nintendo is so desperate for.
Thankfully, after spending five hours with the game's Grand Prix mode in single-player and multiplayer, it appears Mario Kart isn't just back, it's back with its accelerator pressed right after '2' in the countdown.
The initial feeling when you start up Mario Kart 8 is one of familiarity, with an eternally overjoyed Mario hollering the game's name with unrestrained glee and a brand new version of that classic SNES Super Mario Kart title theme.
As well as your typical single-player and multiplayer, there are now two further options for online racing - solo or two-player - and Mario Kart TV. While the latter was unavailable to us at this preview stage, aspects of it find their way into the game's replays... but we'll come to that.
The character roster is as you would expect with a healthy selection of Mario characters to choose from. The headcount is expanded this time with the inclusion of the seven Koopalings (Bowser's kin from Super Mario Bros 3 and subsequent platformers in the series).
This may seem a little like a cut and paste job - particularly if you aren't a fan of the Koopalings and feel those seven character slots could have been taken up by more unique characters - but Nintendo has done a good job of ensuring each Koopaling feels different enough and brings their own personality to the fore.
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