Mario Kart Wii - updated impressions

Take every previous version, add 12-player online races, multiply by new tracks and give us... motorcycles

Nov 8, 2007

The more we see of this, the less it seems like it should be limited to the Kart name. Perhaps a better title would be 'Mario Racers' or something like that, as the many vehicles available for each character will also include motorbikes.

Flat-out speed seems to be the big advantage to using a bike, with a turbo boost function that hoists the front wheel off the floor and cuts through traffic at a blindingly fast rate. Bikes can still use the normal weapon set available to the cars, karts and home-made soapbox vehicles in the game, so the trade-off would have to be in terms of stability around corners.

Mario Kart Wii definitely looks quicker than the GameCube and N64 versions all round, no matter which two- or four-wheeled vehicle you're controlling. Blasting aroundbarriers and hopping across corners, it seems to be the ideal response to everyone who ever complained that the pace of the games can be a little sedate. Now it's as nippy as can be.

With a selection of courses taken from previous versions, as well as a set of brand new efforts that will take full advantage of the new steering technique on Wii, there's something for everyone. We're particularly looking forward to the downhill luge track, which combines slippy-slidey ice with a steep incline and wide half-pipe corners.

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