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Mario Kart Wii review

AT A GLANCE
  • Risky drifting
  • Fantastic online play
  • Wheel or joystick - both work
  • Weak offline multiplayer
  • Still dumb, cheap AI
  • Imperfect vehicle balance

The brothers Mario clash on the racetrack. As their karts grind together, the combined mach speed threatens to tear the lip warmers from their very faces. The scene seethes with venom - never has Nintendo dredged up such ferocious rivalry. As an opening FMV? It’s a killer. As an indicator of the day at the races to follow? They’re being a little liberal with the truth.

Entering our first race - Luigi’s Circuit in Mario’s 50cc banger - the ‘stache-flapping wonderment of the intro is dispelled instantly. It’s a dull loop - roughly shaped like Patrick Stewart’s head - far too wide; a sea of tarmac that denies you anything close to a satisfying racing line. It makes the bloated tracks of Double Dash look super-skinny. It’s hardly the best opener.

Then you hit the accelerator aaaand… not a lot happens. Yes, the 50cc Grand Prix has never been the speediest of events, but this feels wind-up car slow. A piddling trickle of movement, it’s particularly jarring if you’ve recently played Mario Kart DS. Why the wimpy pace? It’s likely due to the wheel peripheral - speed and new controls are going to take the precious ‘expanded audience’ time to grasp.

While it’s hard to write passionately about a plastic wheel, the control it offers, although alien at first, is soon warmed to. Smooth to the touch, it’s certainly a nicer ‘thing’ than the sandpaper-rough Ubisoft wheel. Also, with its special IR sensor porthole, you don’t have to remove the remote to navigate menus - the first shell to let you do so. But as a tool for Mario Kart it has its flaws. The remote sits too high in the wheel, adding a weird weight to the floaty steering. Shaking for a trick is easy, but the light flicks of a shell-less remote are swifter, and the only right way to do a bike wheelie. It’s not long before you’re translating the minimal analogue tweaks that got you through Mario Karts of yore to the wheel, though seasoned Kart-heads will probably stick with the tried-and-tested analogue stick, especially for the bikes.

More Info

Release date: Apr 27 2008 - Wii (US)
Available Platforms: Wii
Genre: Racing
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Nintendo
Franchise: Mario
ESRB Rating:
Everyone: Comic Mischief

13 comments

  • Haxorz - September 20, 2009 9:10 p.m.

    In all actuallity, you can remove the Ai's, there is a button to do so, or option in this case.
  • TiTE - June 8, 2009 5:30 a.m.

    What are u guys talking about this game is incredible the way it is games radar should have given a 10.
  • Haxorz - July 23, 2009 3:10 a.m.

    Eh,I agree with the last part. Miss the old battle system and duel Grand Prix. Also the whole 12 AI gets anonnying. But the Online play makes up for it in a sense. Just will never play battle again...
  • rolyat14 - September 4, 2008 12:26 a.m.

    this game is just like what justin321 says it is, a blast on online! but i would take wii speak for an online speaking system, hey its better than nothing.
  • adrenaguy - October 19, 2008 11:09 p.m.

    wii speak sounds like a great idea, and the headset might plug into the nunchuck slot and then be a wirless reciever while the nunchuck plugs into a slot on sed reciver
  • yaanyfizzle - October 25, 2008 1:36 p.m.

    I cant believe i actualy spent 50 euros on this game and a further 20 on another steering wheel,its just aweful....like,unbelievably aweful.At least its taught me not to believe every review i read, thanks for that at least
  • sonymon - November 12, 2008 5:53 p.m.

    It is worth to spend for MARIO.
  • justin321 - August 30, 2008 8:07 p.m.

    online is a blast but like brawl in needs voice chat in headset and im not saying wii speak it also needs to take the crappy friend codes
  • justin321 - September 6, 2008 2:44 a.m.

    well ur right we need at least somthing like wii speak be implemented into future or past games and then third party developpers would make a headset not licisenced by nintendo a few months after wii speak
  • yaanyfizzle - October 25, 2008 2:16 p.m.

    i still love this site though
  • kazzleh - October 2, 2009 7:46 a.m.

    Love Mario Kart. Hate the wheel - you're much better off with just using your Wii controller!
  • guiarherodrummer1998 - December 12, 2009 3:39 p.m.

    insane game. no doubt. except for the fact that i beat it already. I still give it a 14 of 15 for Longevity.
  • CMG - December 21, 2009 3:17 p.m.

    Mario Kart Wii is one of those games I enjoyed playing. Even though I have basically finished the entire game I just cant get enough of it. 10/10

Showing 1-13 of 13 comments

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