Mario Kart Wii

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

Then there are bikes. Four wheels good, two wheels bad? When we hopped on Peach’s scooter for the first time we thought Nintendo had seriously messed up. Steering a bike with the wheel was horribly unnatural, the rotation motion completely at odds with the handlebar twist you’d expect from a bike. Squeeze the waggle stick out of the shell and the problem is solved.

Bikes differ in two key areas. For one, they’re equipped with a wheelie capability that offers a slight hike in speed at the expense of steering stability. Flick the remote up and the front wheel lifts up; flick the remote back again and the wheel lowers as full control returns. It’s a tad mechanical - a wheelie will naturally last around five seconds - but the extra speed boost it affords is a genuinely sneaky treat, especially when applied to overtake on the final stretch.

So the two vehicles are unbalanced, then? Nintendo would say no. To compensate for their crafty one-wheel antics, the bikes’ drifting capacity is curbed at blue flames. No matter how long you powerslide a bike for, you ain’t going to milk a speedy red flame from its engine. Is it enough? Maybe not. The difference in speed between a blue flame and red flame boost isn’t really great enough to warrant labeling the kart’s extra drift reward as compensation.

The same old difficulty-balancing tricks rear their ugly heads: heavy characters magically upping their acceleration to apply some final lap pressure and a constant flow of blue shells for Mr. Rubbish in 12th position. That’s a constant flow of blue shells subsequently spammed by the still moronic AI.

An extra four karts - Mario Kart traditionally uses eight - ramp up the chaos within the lower ranks, but the ease with which you can glide away means you’ll only ever spy the congestion on the map. And an extra four karts means an extra four loads of items chucked about - so thanks, Nintendo, for a remote speaker alarm and onscreen warning for approaching items. Seeing exactly where an item is traveling improves avoidance odds, though DS fans will miss the comprehensive map the bottom screen offered.

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

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  • 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,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