The classic tracks could have done with some more polish
The classic tracks could have done with some more polish

The classic tracks could have done with some more polish

As with Mario Kart games over the years, you've once again got the usual 50cc, 100cc and 150cc races, although this time the latter mixes bikes in with the karts. 50cc isn't going to be much of a challenge to experienced players, but 150cc can be extremely tricky and quite infuriating. It's the plethora of unlockables that will keep you plugging away though, with vehicles, characters and reverse track layouts to race for. Each character is classed according to weight, which in turn gives them differing Acceleration, Top Speed and Off-Road stats. Your vehicle choice will also affect handling and performance, so it's not just a case of picking the kart or bike you think looks the nicest.

The track choice in Mario Kart Wii is likely to divide opinion. With 32 tracks in total it's by no means short on content, but half of these are remastered versions of tracks from Mario Kart on the SNES, Mario Kart 64, Double Dash on the GameCube and Super Circuit on the DS. For fans of those tracks they're a great addition to the game, but others will be left asking where their favourite tracks are - Koopa Trooper Beach on the N64 for example.

Visual quality also varies wildly, with the SNES remakes looking basic in the extreme, while the brand new tracks are full of detail. Running at a fairly consistent 60 frames per second during the single-player game, Mario Kart Wii isn't ugly by any means, but there's a definitely lack of cohesiveness between the tracks. Audio is largely what you'll expect from a Mario Kart game, with many tunes carried over from previous titles. At times the gleeful music can be quite maddening, but it's Mario through and through.

Multiplayer is really the biggest draw of any Mario Kart game though, and Mario Kart Wii is no exception. As always, you've got basic four-player split-screen support for solo or team races (no two-player support in Grand Prix mode sadly), although the frame rate is slowed considerably with the screen split into four and the graphical quality is reduced significantly. While disappointing it's not a huge problem, with the game remaining more than playable. Aside from racing you can compete against others in a classic-style balloon bursting battle mode or play in teams to collect the most coins. Balloon burst doesn't feel as good as it did in the SNES or N64 incarnations of the game, but it's still fun for a few wasted minutes here and there.

Bikes handle quite differently to the traditional karts

Bikes handle quite differently to the traditional karts

Online you can race against a maximum of 11 other players (including a friend playing split-screen on the same console), and the overall implementation is far and away the best Nintendo has ever done. You're still going to have to put up with the game specific friend codes and invites, but once you've got all your friends listed it's not a problem. In fact, playing with randomly selected players isn't bad either, primarily down to the lack of voice chat - the one thing that often ruins online games on other systems. The Mario Kart Wii Channel is icing on the cake, with leaderboards and downloadable time trial ghosts. The functionality isn't up to par with something like Forza 2 or PGR4, but it's more than good enough for what is essentially a fun arcade racer made for everyone.

Mario Kart Wii is an excellent return to form for the series and tremendous fun when played with friends in split-screen or online. The often infuriating Grand Prix mode is likely to polarise gamers though, with some loving the unpredictability of it while others will simply give up after being taken down at the last minute by yet another Spiny Blue Shell. Other than online play, which to be honest isn't anything over and above what the majority of racing games include these days, Mario Kart Wii is pretty much more of the same fun gameplay, with the addition of a brilliant wheel that will do wonders to encourage newcomers to give the game a try.

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User Comments

topgamer's Avatar

topgamer@ Fish Babe

I found a fault with that. My friend L*d*a B*s*e*l, and I were playing and we couldn't connect. But impressed with WFC, however.

TG!!!
Posted 14:45 on 15 July 2010
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topgamer@ jj91011

I don't know if I've replied to you before, but yes.
Posted 14:43 on 15 July 2010
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topgamer@ CheekyLee

You idiot. There are millions. Check out cheathappens.com sometime. Or check ourt the 'Cheat' section.
Posted 12:57 on 08 May 2010
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topgamer@ Chris

You discribe your screen better. That's what you do.
Posted 12:56 on 08 May 2010
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topgamer@ mastermind

Ding Ding! You have won mastermind again.
Posted 12:55 on 08 May 2010
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topgamer@ jj91011

Ya.

Topgamer
Posted 12:54 on 08 May 2010
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tashie55

mario carts is so fun to play. i used tolove goin on the live untill every one got the cheats and there is just no point in playing when you get blue shells every time you infront. gota get me these cheats lol.
Posted 13:02 on 14 November 2009
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topgamer

I love this game.
I played it while my mum went over to her friends house.
Posted 11:43 on 14 November 2009
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topgamer@ jj91011

YES!
Posted 11:42 on 14 November 2009
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee

There are no cheat codes for Mario Kart Wii. You're just gonna have to get better, Bloo!
Posted 00:28 on 19 January 2009
BLOO's Avatar

BLOO

how do i put in cheatcodes on mario kart wii
Posted 22:01 on 18 January 2009
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Chris

I av just completed 50cc and got a bike for it but i i dont no how to race in it it is just a ?mark what do i do peeple please help me out
Posted 12:54 on 31 December 2008
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Big G

The best racer on the Wii, easily. The Wii wheel is ace, and performing stunts to gain a speed burst is cool. Personally I'd give this 10 out of 10 - we have played it almost every day since buying it 8 weeks ago, especially 2-player. The reviewer is right about 4-player though, the screen is too cramped and not worth bothering with. Oh, we've just unlocked the ability to race as our Mii characters - great fun!
Posted 23:09 on 14 October 2008
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Fish Babe

Love the game.. am addicted to it Looking forward to playing with friends
Posted 15:47 on 02 September 2008
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POOK

addicted....... unlockable characters and karts, and great online.
Posted 17:59 on 10 June 2008

Game Stats

Mario Kart Wii
8
Out of 10
Mario Kart Wii
  • Great fun
  • Some depth to the racing
  • Online is brilliant
  • Infuriating at times
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 11/04/2008
Platform: Wii
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Racing
No. Players: 1-12
Rating: PEGI 3+
Site Rank: 1,004 260
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