Launching exclusively for Wii U on 30th May for the first time in HD, Mario Kart 8 introduces original course designs that highlight the game’s new antigravity feature, which allows players to race upside down or up vertical surfaces. Racers will also enjoy a variety of series-favourite features including the return of 12-player online competitive play, four player local multiplayer, hang-gliders, underwater racing and motorbikes.
New features include:
- Spin Turbo: While racing upside down or on walls, players can bump into other racers or certain course obstacles to get a speed boost. Spin Turbo fundamentally redefines the way that players compete, and makes antigravity racing even more exhilarating.
- Returning characters: In Mario Kart 8, players can race with returning characters Metal Mario, Lakitu and Shy Guy. These newly revealed returning characters join a host of previously announced favourites including all seven of Bowser’s minions, who are playable for the first time in Mario Kart history.
- New items: Two new items join the fray in Mario Kart 8. First, the Piranha Plant attaches to the front of the players’ kart and chomps at other characters, banana peels on the course or even shells thrown by other characters. Each time the Piranha Plant lunges forward to bite, the player receives a brief boost of speed. The second new item is the Boomerang Flower. After acquiring it, racers can throw a boomerang at opponents to stun them, and its arc allows players to strike multiple opponents with a single toss. The boomerang can be thrown three times, forward or backwards.
- New courses: Remixed classic courses make a return in Mario Kart 8 with favourites such as Moo Moo Meadows from Mario Kart Wii, Toad’s Turnpike from Mario Kart 64 and Donut Plains from Super Mario Kart, among others. The graphics and layout of these courses have been redesigned and reimagined. For example, Toad’s Turnpike now allows players to drive up certain walls in antigravity mode. The game will include 16 new courses and 16 remixed classic courses.
- Live recorded music: For the first time in the Mario Kart series, select courses in Mario Kart 8 feature music recorded by live performers.
- Control scheme: Mario Kart 8 will support a variety of control schemes including the Wii U GamePad, the Wii U Pro Controller, the Wii Wheel, and Wii Remote and Nunchuk. The game can also be played in off-TV mode using just the Wii U GamePad.
These features give the tried and tested Mario Kart franchise a nice face lift, making the update worthwhile and buyable. The new Spin Turbo feature is a really cool feature that, personally, I’ve not seen on any other game, and in antigravity mode, who knows what new mechanic it’ll bring to the classic racer.