I bought a Wii U because I knew the day would come when there would be a game I couldn’t live without. That day was last Friday and that game was Mario Kart 8.
Mario Kart 8 incited something in me that I didn’t remember. We’ve all played a lot of racing games. I am no exception. I had one for my original gray Game Boy that I played more than freakin’ Tetris… unfortunately I can’t remember its name. Super Mario Kart was one of the most played games of my childhood, most of my memories involving yelling while racing my brother. Aws. Despite my love of Super Mario Kart, I never thought of myself as a fan of racing games. I didn’t even own MK64… which I know is weird. But really, because my brother and I were so close in age and our parents always wanted us to play together, we did play a lot of racing games in our formative N64 days. The first two games we got were Wave Race and Diddy Kong Racing. I absolutely love both of them. So why then, did I not realize how much I would love MK8? Maybe because DoubleDash was ehh, or because I enjoyed MK7 but not enough to create any sort of fanfare.
I knew I wanted MK8. I was excited about it, but it far exceeded my expectations. The courses literally made my jaw drop. I play alone, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the way I talk to my TV while playing. I’m Peach, as always, and I audibly cheer on my dear Pesca. This game is so, so fun! And I’m happy to report I don’t suck!
I was able to unlock all 14 unlockable characters on Friday. All you have to do is win a grand prix in any class or cup to get a new character at random. Combined with the 16 you start with, the game has 30 characters total. Some of the unlockables include the adorable Rosalina, your Mii, and all 7 Koopalings! Another new unlockable is quickly becoming a favorite: Pink Gold Peach! Her voice sounds like Peach underwater; think: the female form of Metal Mario (also an unlocakble!). I like the rose gold color of this character and that she’s the only other metal character, whereas you’d think Luigi might have beat her to the punch. I think pink, gold, and peach might be my new color combo of the summer. Pretty, no?
Other unlockables include vehicle customizations. You earn coins to unlock these. I’m not noticing a whole lot of differences in vehicles other than visually; handling seems great in general. I happen to love to motorcycle (or “standard bike,” I believe it’s called) because it’s easy to maneuver on my favorite courses, such as Toad’s Turnpike.
Another feature I never realized I’d love is the online play. I tested my skills on a regional scale, which is I guess, the US and Canada. I did way better than I expected here, able to place in the top few positions for most races. The only time I tried the worldwide races I was stuck spectating. It was nice to be able to play against people at will– you don’t need additional controllers or like, friends who want to play. After a lifetime of forcing my girlfriends to play Nintendo with me, I’ve given up on them.
In short: Mario Kart 8 puts me in a total state of euphoria. You should buy a Wii U for this game. It’s excellent, and I love it!