Mario Kart Wii Review
Mario Kart Wii box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: Nintendo 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Nintendo 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: April 27, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 (12 Online) 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The classic kart racer is back, and it's as good as ever! Maybe it's even better than ever. The addition of the motion controls and the online functionality are absolute boons to a series that already completely rocked. Moreover, the inclusion of great retro tracks to a primo list of new courses has created a ton of variety for everyone to enjoy.

Mario Kart Wii screenshot

There are only a few minor problems in the entire title, but they are worth mentioning. First, the battle modes, though excellent, are too few with a scant number of customizable options. Second, the emphasis on equalizing item pick-ups takes a good deal of skill and strategy out of the title. Despite these two flaws, the game is an absolute blast! Players of all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds will love this title for the sheer joy and excitement it produces. Good show, Team Mario!

Mario Kart Wii is chocked full of fun tracks both new and retro. The retro list reads like a Rolling Stones' greatest hits album and the new courses are so good that I was blown away by their creativity and playability. The same can be said for the Battle arenas: unlike the GameCube's mostly unimaginative battlegrounds (don't worry...I still loved them), these arenas do a far better job of testing your ability. In addition to the staggering amount of great environments from past and present, there are a number of game modes including Grand Prix, Time Trial, VS, Battle, and the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection to keep you busy indeed.

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Grand Prix is a great single player mode that has gamers challenge eleven A.I. opponents in a series of cup races. Should you finish in the top three overall after four races you will be awarded with a shiny trophy, a mark on your Mario Kart Wii Driver License, and sometimes a new, more challenging cup will open up. Furthermore, the cups are divided into difficulty classes of 50cc (karts only until you beat it), 100cc (bikes only until you beat it), and 150cc (karts and bikes). Players have the choice of playing the sixteen new courses or the sixteen retro tracks divided between eight cups. If you finish first in certain cups, you will also be able to open up new characters (including your very own Mii to use both at home and online), new karts and bikes, and even the challenging mirror mode. After fully completing the Grand Prix on every setting and difficulty you should be more than ready to take on the world!

Time Trial mode allows you to set personal records on a series of tracks. This was always a bit dull as you were just beating your own scores, but now you can save your records, send them to friends or even have the world challenge your scores. The inclusion of ghosts from friends, rivals, and world champions makes Time Trial an amazing addition to Mario Kart!

Mario Kart Wii screenshot

VS mode has you take on your friends or the CPU in Solo and Team races. The Solo races simply have each individual accrue points over the series to see who ends up on top. Team races uses the same concept except that total points for the entire team are tallied to see who the champions are.

Battle mode offers two solid options to be played locally or online. Balloon Battle has you pop the other team's balloons with shells and other various items. The team with the most points at the end wins. Coin Runners has each team member try to accumulate as many coins as possible. If you are hit by the opposition, you will lose some portion of your coins. The team with the most coins at the end wins. Both Battle modes are timed and team-based. Unfortunately, there are no individual free-for-alls.

Gameplay in Mario Kart Wii is fast, fun, and often cruel. This is an excellent combination that puts the experience into an elite group. I've had as much enjoyment out of this title as I've had with Call of Duty 3 and 4's online multiplayer, Resistance's Co-Op campaign, and Madden's online component. I'm serious; it's been a long time since I have had so much fun from a video game. That being said, you may pull your hair out while opening up all of the tracks, karts, and features, and while accruing points online.

Mario Kart Wii screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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