Mario Kart Wii is the latest iteration of the beloved franchise starring Nintendo’s favorite mascots. The core gameplay concepts have remained unchanged over the course of the past fifteen years; drive around ridiculously designed courses while obtaining various power-ups which can either hinder your opponents or benefit you.
As with most Wii titles, Mario Kart Wii adds motion controls in guise of the Wii Wheel. The wheel ships with the game and makes what would simply be another fantastic racing game into entirely new levels. The beauty of the wheel is simple. Casual gamers now can do away with the concept of learning controls since what they’re experiencing is already intuitive, while seasoned gamers can leap into the other control schemes which include the wheel, the Gamecube controller, the Wiimote/Nunchuk combination, or the Classic Controller add-on.
Motion-controls are not the only 21st century addition Mario Kart Wii introduces to the series. For the first time, online multiplayer via the internet is available and its flawless. At the time of this review, I’ve raced well over 100 races online and never once experienced any type of lag. Unfortunately the console itself lacks voice chat and Nintendo is still choosing to employ the cumbersome Friend Code system. Like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Mario Kart Wii employs a SEPARATE friend code specifically for it. This has been unacceptable since the system launch, but it doesn’t appear that Nintendo will be making any changes.
Mario Kart Wii, as history has shown all Nintendo first party titles, is a must purchase. The single player ladder alone is enough of a challenge; add in downloadable Ghost times from friends & top racers around the globe, online 12 player race & battle modes, and Nintendo sponsored tournaments and you have a title that will offer replayability until the next iteration of Mario Kart is released.