Thursday, June 05, 2008

Review Day: Mario Kart Wii

In my lifetime, I have played at least seven million games, some of them great and some of them horrible. Despite this, the number of games with enough appeal and lasting power to still be played over a year later can be counted on one hand, even if I were involved in a tragic industrial wood chipper incident: World of Warcraft, DOOM, Starcraft, and Super Mario Kart for the SNES. (Diablo II would be the runner-up finger that ended up in the mulch).

I played Super Mario Kart for years as a kid, and it was one of the only games I was actually good at for quite some time, but was greatly disappointed with the version for the N64. Because of this background, Mario Kart Wii had a massive sense of nostalgia to live up to.

The game comes with a plastic shell that wraps around your Wiimote and turns it into a very responsive steering wheel. It's very intuitive for new users, but may lead to hilariously bad crashes for people with an old control scheme embedded in their reflexes. Up to four players can play locally (though any more than 2 will require a huge TV screen to see anything), and 2 local players can play online with 10 others.

The Lows:

  • Having to play the game to unlock pretty much all of the features is the second worst videogame paradigm ever invented, after unskippable cutscenes.
  • Unescapable items in Grand Prix mode replace much of the strategy with luck, and there are too many items in play at any given time (not so bad with a few friends).
  • There are only 16 original maps -- the other 16 are remakes of classic maps from other versions.
  • The Highs:

  • Multiplayer is painless and fast, and much more fun than you'd expect it to be. This is where the game shines. "Just one more race" becomes addicting.
  • The original maps are easy on the eyes, fun to play, and varied.
  • The game is very easy to control, even for a novice.
  • Final Grade:
    B+, best with friends

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    tagged as reviews, games | permalink | 3 comments


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