Mario Kart 8

Moby ID: 65975

Description official description

Mario Kart 8 is the 8th installment of the Mario Kart series, for the Wii U console.

The gameplay includes thirty-two circuits (sixteen brand new ones and sixteen retro ones) on which the characters race riding a variety of vehicles like the returning motorcycles from Mario Kart Wii or the karts, which can be customized.

The game offers six play modes featuring a new mode called Mario Kart TV in which you can create your own pictures and videos. The roster includes thirty characters from the Super Mario universe, twenty-one are returning from previous games and nine are new: Baby Rosalina, Wendy O. Koopa, Iggy Koopa, Larry Koopa, Pink Gold Peach, Morton Koopa Jr., Ludwig Von Koopa, Roy Koopa and Lemmy Koopa. Twenty-one power-ups are included in this game featuring new ones like the Boomerang Flower, the Piranha Plant, the Super Horn and the Eight-crazy.

Spellings

  • マリオカート8 - Japanese spelling
  • 마리오 카트 8 - Korean spelling (Hangul)

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Credits (Wii U version)

259 People (234 developers, 25 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 88% (based on 44 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.3 out of 5 (based on 26 ratings with 1 reviews)

The Blue Shell Shuffle

The Good
I’ve always enjoyed the Mario Kart series, but I’ve never loved them enough to call myself a fan. In my younger days, it was something my family could always beat me at, so my fragile ego caused me to keep a distance from the earlier titles. Since then, I’ve played every entry in the long-running franchise, but never truly committed myself to any of the titles. Mario Kart 8 has finally broken through my apathy, and for the first time since F-Zero GX, I’ve finally found a racing game I can sink my teeth into.

If you’ve played any of the most recent Mario Karts, you know the drill. It’s a cartoony mix of arcade racing and car combat as you fight to win races using a combination of slick driving and dirty tricks. You’re provided with thirty-two tracks; sixteen of them brand new, and sixteen updated remakes of older courses. Gliders and submersible propellers make a return from the seventh entry, as do interchangeable kart components. New to the series is an anti-gravity mechanic that allows karts to traverse inverted portions of track, and while it doesn’t add anything tangibly different to the formula, it does allow tracks to get pretty whacked out, and some feel like they could have been ripped straight out of F-Zero.

The most impressive upgrade to this version – and I feel plenty of shame for saying this – is the presentation. Simply put, Mario Kart 8 is mad pretty. From the karts and characters to the tracks and lighting, everything is damned impressive. The attention to detail is almost astonishing, with track backgrounds sporting wondrous fantasy vistas and drivers exchanging glances at each other as they drive by. All of the tracks have their own look and feel, and even the new rainbow road’s dangerous looking space highway has a completely unique appearance compared to the remade N64 rainbow road, which floats high above the Mushroom Kingdom’s version of Paris. I found myself peering beyond the track’s horizon to take in the little details sprinkled beyond.

Yet while the art style is largely superficial, it ties into the game’s polished feel. As I mentioned previously, I’ve been lukewarm on just about every entry in the series, and this is the first one that I’ve actually felt any enthusiasm for. It’s because it just feels good. Controls are responsive and for what seems like the first time since Double Dash, the karts feel like they have some weight behind them. The sound design is a little more even, and I’m happy to report that the cacophony of screaming that erupts in a four player session from the various high-pitched kart drivers has been reduced to a more tolerable level. Not only that, but there’s more grandeur to the music that was once so easily drowned out by the chaos. All around, Mario Kart 8 just feels terrific.

I find myself going back to it constantly, even all these months after its first release. I just had to get all the gold trophies and I’m still making attempts to get the stars awarded for flawless grand prix victories. I even went through the time trials and defeated all the staff ghosts, something I haven’t attempted since my days with F-Zero GX. Even when that dried up, I went and played online multi-player, which is another rare activity for me. Everything about the game excites me, and I haven’t felt this way about a racing game in a long, long time.

The Bad
It’s unfortunate to see a return of the rubber-band AI that has long plagued the Mario Kart series. While perhaps not as noticeable this time around, computer controlled racers gain a boost in speed the further back they fall behind the lead player, which essentially means that the better you do, the faster they go. It’s a horrible system that cheats the player and provides leniency to a system that doesn’t even have the capacity to appreciate it, all for the sake of artificially increasing the game’s difficulty. This is most vexing in multi-player, where the top AI racers will stick to the fastest player, so if one human player isn’t as skilled as another, they may end up forced into a lower rank as they struggle to keep up.

Even without rubber-banding, there’s no getting around the random nature of the game. While a skilful racer can defeat an inexperienced opponent without much difficulty, close races are often decided by who the universe has bestowed the best item upon. Blue shells are still the game changers that they’ve always been, but at least now you can escape their wrath by using the new horn block item or by activating a mushroom at the very last second. Items can also be turned off in online matches for those who want race results to depend entirely on the driving skill of the individual.

It’s a petty disappointment, but it mystifies me that so much of the driver roster for Mario Kart 8 is taken up by baby versions of characters. There are five babies in total in the driver count, which seems excessive. I’m sure these appeal to some players out there, but I’m just not sure why characters like Birdo were cut in favour of someone like Baby Rosalina. It doesn’t make any difference to me, I suppose. No matter what characters they could have added, I’d never race as anyone other than Luigi.

The Bottom Line
Let’s be honest here; there isn’t much that Mario Kart 8 does to differentiate itself from prior games in the series. Yet despite that, I’ve played it far more than any other entry in the series, or perhaps any racing game since the last F-Zero. While I’m used to Mario Kart sequels feeling like they’re merely in a holding pattern, Mario Kart 8 finally takes everything that’s been built up over the years and refines it into one of the tightest games I’ve ever set my hands it. It feels like a payoff, like all the pieces have dropped into place. It’s an absolutely AMAZING game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo has difficulty topping it when it comes time for yet another sequel.

Wii U · by Adzuken (836) · 2015

Trivia

Gimmick

A neat little touch appears at the beginning of every race at the starting line: if the player honks their horn during the countdown it will startle the other racers!

Sales

According to publisher Nintendo, Mario Kart 8 sold 5.87 million copies worldwide (as of September 30, 2015).

Awards

  • The Game Awards
    • 2014 — Best Family Game — Won
    • 2014 — Best Sports/Racing Game — Won

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Mario Kart DS
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Mario Party 8
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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: Booster Course Pass
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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: Booster Course Pass
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Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
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Mario Kart 64
Released 1996 on Nintendo 64, 2007 on Wii, 2016 on Wii U

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  • MobyGames ID: 65975

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Zaibatsu.

Additional contributors: Havoc Crow, CalaisianMindthief, Grandy02, Rik Hideto, Victor Vance, BlueWind SSK.

Game added June 10th, 2014. Last modified November 28th, 2023.