Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 14, 2014

Email: Mario Kart

“You know, you guys never sent me any Mario Kart reviews. What’s the verdict on that game?”

I thought you might be busy with E3 and not want to read it.  Here it goes.The game feels like a mixture between Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7. Bike are back and there are ATVs too, but there’s the flying/underwater and vehicle customization from 7.  I think the game is way better than 7.  The courses are certainly better.  I like the retro course selection, but that’s because I’ve always been fond of Mario Kart 64.  Nintendo at least made some of the weaker courses from that game more entertaining (Rainbow Road 64 and Toad’s Turnpike).

The racing portion of the game is fun.  It has been a bit simplified since Mario Kart Wii (you can only use/carry one item at time, no more wheelies), and some items seem less powerful from before (stars are underpowered, lightning bolts are rare and blue shells seem to hurt less).  Green shells, red shells and mushrooms feel way more powerful than before, sort of like Super Mario Kart.  So there’s a different balance to this game.  You no longer win because you got a crazy item (which I actually had fun with in Mario Kart Wii).  In fact, if you get into first place early on, you’ll probably win.The carrying-only-one-item thing is kind of nice and perhaps more balanced since that first place guy (or whoever is in front of you) can’t block your shots non-stop with tons of items.  However, when a person in second place gets three red shells, it’s totally game over for the person in front.

Anti-gravity stuff is ok.  It’s mostly just a graphical effect, but sometimes it gives you alternate paths (like driving on the walls in Toad’s Turnpike instead of staying on the ground).  So I guess I actually like that feature now that I think about it.  It gives me options.  However, when you drive on a wall the camera only tilts halfway, so it’s disorienting (the perspective is weird.  It should tilt completely to match you driving on the wall).
You can create tournaments and do team races.  That’s really fun.  There’s a lot of customization there such as disabling items.  You can even limit who joins your tournament, and you can make it last about as long as you want.Battle mode sucks hard.  I hardly saw anyone playing it.  The race courses do not make for proper battle courses and I spent most of the time trying to find people to hit.  There is nothing rational or coherent about the course designs.  Nintendo’s “creativity” has just flat-out ruined this legendary mode.I don’t know if Nintendo took out red shells in that mode, but I couldn’t get a single red shell.  Also, once I lost 3 balloons, I turned into a ghost or something.  I couldn’t keep playing it seems.

So Nintendo has ruined half of the game.  Battle mode is so terrible that Nintendo needs to remove the race course-battle courses and replace them with proper DLC battle courses – for free.  It’s THAT BAD.

If you like racing, the game is fun.  If you like battle mode, the game sucks.  Hard.

Overall, it’s better than Mario Kart 7 (that’s at the bottom of my list), but it’s not better than Mario Kart Wii or DS.  Mario Kart Wii and DS had better tracks, no question.  And it’s certainly no Super Mario Kart.


Racing side sounds interesting.

Can’t believe they screwed up the Battle Mode so much. Is it really that hard to put in a little arena and have a Bob-omb battle?





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