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Mario Kart 8 review

Drives us up the wall and sets our hearts racing

Mario Kart 8 is the first Wii U game. Before you swing violently around to look, aghast, at your last 18 copies of ONM, wondering what twisted hell-verse they sprung from, we mean to say that it's the first of Nintendo's next generation that feels as though it needed the new console, and the new outlook that's come with it, to exist.

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Super Mario 3D World was a sumptuous thing, so rich in cartoon terrain, built from such shapely HD parts that you felt as though a solid punch through the TV screen would land you arm-deep in cake-turf, but its playstyle came from any number of older sources, like 2013's most entertaining patchwork quilt. Nintendo Land used the GamePad to create events - both in-game and out - we couldn't possibly have had without that new round-edged circuit-brick, but its mini-game menagerie was born out of Wii-era thinking, prioritising moments over the solid experiences the developer's truly best at.

This, however, feels like a release, a screaming, gleaming rush of impulses, improvements and innovations that producer, Hideki Konno, and his team seem to have been itching to introduce for years. From its looks to its approach to online interaction, even the refinements it makes to the series' signature style, Mario Kart 8 is a very new game for Nintendo. Let's get this out of the way: it's quite probably the best Mario Kart ever made, and it's certainly the best game on Wii U.

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There's every chance you could come to that conclusion within a few scant prods at the A button. Press A to start, enter single player, choose Grand Prix mode, select the Mushroom Cup, choose a racer and their kart, see opening track Mario Kart Stadium appear, rippling with fanfare and fireworks, and, finally, press A to accelerate. What follows isn't the sedate test track we've come to expect from the opening course to each game, rather a rush of neon light, blacktop arcing away into a fizzing sky as drivers abandon their usual standoffish personas and career into one another, hoping for a boost.

It's literally overwhelming. Almost every first-time driver we've played with has crashed catastrophically at least once because they were distracted by what was going on around them. The tracks, tightened after their unnecessary widening for Mario Kart Wii, buzz with activity almost constantly (not least because we're back up to 12-kart races, with the four grid spots jettisoned by Mario Kart 7 reintroduced), while the graphical boost the Wii U offers helps make backdrops almost as busy. Sunshine Airport's terminal boards glimmer with new departures (if you look closely enough, they're all trips to other tracks), themed adverts flicker by on the scuffed sidings of Toad Harbour, and you'll be fascinated by the shaky science of kart drifts carving out strings of marshmallowy cumulus during the course of Cloudtop Cruise.

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Yet while those tracks act as the glitzy chassis Mario Kart 8 parades around, it's the dynamics of racing itself that feel like the fuel that pushes the new game feeling along. Drawing heavily on ideas from both Mario Kart Wii (hopping drifts, bikes, trick boosts) and 7 (transforming karts, a more precise handling style), it's a compromise at first glance, but in time-honoured style, the game only truly reveals itself when that glance becomes an hours-long stare.

Drifts are now incredibly sensitive, moving from boost-building crescents into screeching scimitars, perfect for claiming a quick racing line, at a nudge of the left stick, and slipstreaming now only comes after seconds of close-quarters tailgating, making it as dangerous as it is useful. Outside of the racing itself, the return of bikes within MK7's weighty customisation menus raised some eyebrows, especially in our office, where using one in the old days became akin to war crimes. Luckily, Nintendo's rethought its style, actually helping offer the game a new-found extra layer of pre-race intrigue.

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  1. ploiper Thursday 15th May 2014 at 09:33

    still think its totaly unnecessary to have so many baby characters though, and that pink peach thing. whats wrong with having characters like petey pirahna, e-gadd, diddy kong, king boo, nabbit or even toadsworth in it instead?. its really the only gripe i have with this game, all these interesting chartacters to choose and nintendo goes for pure filler.

  2. lminett Thursday 15th May 2014 at 09:36

    Looking forward to sinking hours into this game. From all the reviews I've read, the fact that battle mode is poor is disappointing. Every game that they make I still hope for the battle mode to return to its glory of the SNES original.

  3. pedrolarmie Thursday 15th May 2014 at 09:41

    The time of the Wii U has finally arrived.

  4. tim453 Thursday 15th May 2014 at 10:11

    Every Mario Kart is the best Mario Kart at the time of its review and 96% is only 2% above the Wii Mario Kart score.

    The lack of Wii u titles has generated a lot of hype around Mario Kart 8 and 96% has brought expectations down to earth. Its just another good Mario Kart game, as was Mario Kart 7.

    Saying that playing it is like having a new console suggests that Nintendo should have pulled out all the stops with its previous releases and now two years later we are just getting the HD quality we paid for.

    Reading between the review lines and even though we will all get a copy of Mario Kart 8 (and the free game), it seems as though the hype was over done.

    Let's hope this is not repeated with Smash Bros. But I think it has already started, something has to fill the magazine pages I guess.

  5. MatthewONM Thursday 15th May 2014 at 10:22

    Every Mario Kart is the best Mario Kart at the time of its review and 96% is only 2% above the Wii Mario Kart score.


    Simple: ONM overscored Mario Kart Wii back in the day. NGamer gave it 88, which is closer to what the current ONM team think about the MKWii. MK8 is a masterpiece and the best game on Wii U. Don't start being insane about scores again. We're not in the mood.

  6. Jonuffy Thursday 15th May 2014 at 10:29

    Very well written. I was already excited for this and the review has just added relative time to the release. I shall be counting down the hours now. Battle mode is a nice bonus anyway. Its the core game I'm excited about. The game just looks so gorgeous. Loving the look of the replay feature and the look and design of the signature track, shy guy falls and Mount Wario in particular. Now to find another job for the end of summer and resign this one now to buy some time to play it. Looking forward to the tournaments on offer too. Nintendo have really started mastering and learnt to program HD now.
    I truly believe this game will start the snowball effect. Racing/party fans hooked. Smash bros will hook the fighting genre fans, Bayonetta action/fighting and then my personal future highlight X (Monolithsoft) the rpg fans not to mention Zelda. Ninty has a good WiiU future ahead of it. I can feel it in my dry bones. WiiU is about to truly lift off! Anyone who owns one knows how good it is and its potential. These titles are going to make the general public see it and make alot of the unsure jump off the fence. . Ninty a..d..v..e..r..t..i..s..e these titles. I understand they are going to with Mario Kart 8 all year. Its all set up for E3. If they can just deliver there with some big announcements and near future release dates to keep the hype machine going and we will have ourselves a long console life to enjoy. I've enjoyed it so far but its only getting better. :D

  7. TrubbishForMayor Thursday 15th May 2014 at 10:30

    Every Mario Kart is the best Mario Kart at the time of its review and 96% is only 2% above the Wii Mario Kart score.


    Simple: ONM overscored Mario Kart Wii back in the day. NGamer gave it 88, which is closer to what the current ONM team think about the MKWii. MK8 is a masterpiece and the best game on Wii U. Don't start being insane about scores again. We're not in the mood.


    It was a different score system too.
    Still, the score is nothing but a number.

  8. King Slazo Thursday 15th May 2014 at 10:31

    This review has confirmed all I wanted to know, whether it'd be using the handheld MK's handling style. It is, and so I'm sold.

  9. DstryrEU Thursday 15th May 2014 at 10:38

    Great review. Just over 2 weeks to go....

  10. Time-Bomb Thursday 15th May 2014 at 10:42

    I've been absolutely baffled by the Mario Kart 8 battle mode since it was announced! Who's idea was it not to use any arenas?! That guy needs to be fired :P How much extra development time would it have taken to put in a couple of N64 style arenas? Barely any at all!

    And yeah, the character selection is really poor. You basically get the choice of your standard Mario characters, baby characters, or koopalings. I don't care about characters that much, but a bit of diversity wouldn't go a miss.

    Still very excited for this game though! The tracks ands racing elements look phenomenal!

  11. carnivine chaos Thursday 15th May 2014 at 10:43

    Every Mario Kart is the best Mario Kart at the time of its review and 96% is only 2% above the Wii Mario Kart score.


    Simple: ONM overscored Mario Kart Wii back in the day. NGamer gave it 88, which is closer to what the current ONM team think about the MKWii. MK8 is a masterpiece and the best game on Wii U. Don't start being insane about scores again. We're not in the mood.


    Dat salt.

    Wow...

  12. tim453 Thursday 15th May 2014 at 10:46

    Every Mario Kart is the best Mario Kart at the time of its review and 96% is only 2% above the Wii Mario Kart score.
    Simple: ONM overscored Mario Kart Wii back in the day. NGamer gave it 88, which is closer to what the current ONM team think about the MKWii. MK8 is a masterpiece and the best game on Wii U. Don't start being insane about scores again. We're not in the mood.
    The idea of a forum is to express opinions, is it not. Or has this changed since you sat in editors seat. We readers buy the magazine not the team. Teams come and go. It does you no favours putting down the previous team.

    You come across as arrogant not moody.

  13. Komodo_Wolfgang Thursday 15th May 2014 at 10:51

    it's the first of Nintendo's next generation that feels as though it needed the new console,

    What about ZombiU and Wonderful 101?


    Anyway. This is the 1st Mario Kart game Ive actually been excited about. Usually Im just kinda meh about it. However, as many have said, its a wasted roster of characters.

  14. Lazara the Last Thursday 15th May 2014 at 10:52

    Every Mario Kart is the best Mario Kart at the time of its review and 96% is only 2% above the Wii Mario Kart score.


    Simple: ONM overscored Mario Kart Wii back in the day. NGamer gave it 88, which is closer to what the current ONM team think about the MKWii. MK8 is a masterpiece and the best game on Wii U. Don't start being insane about scores again. We're not in the mood.


    Yeah, something big must have happened to your point system. I remember New Super Mario Bros. U got a lower score that NSMB2. The 3DS game sucked IMO (overreacting a bit, but you get the point), while NSMBU was one of the best since Mario World!

    This game looks great, I cannot wait for it! Just ordered another Pro Controller for it, I have two now. Additionally , I have a Wii Classic Controller Pro, 4 Wiimotes+Nunchucks, and the GamePad, of course. The controller options are great!

  15. carnivine chaos Thursday 15th May 2014 at 10:53

    Simple: ONM overscored Mario Kart Wii back in the day. NGamer gave it 88, which is closer to what the current ONM team think about the MKWii. MK8 is a masterpiece and the best game on Wii U. Don't start being insane about scores again. We're not in the mood.


    The idea of a forum is to express opinions, is it not. Or has this changed since you sat in editors seat. We readers buy the magazine not the team. Teams come and go. It does you no favours putting down the previous team.

    You come across as arrogant not moody.


    Ouch. Even I felt that one a little bit... Gave me a bit of a buzz.

    Sickburn.

  16. MatthewONM Thursday 15th May 2014 at 11:09


    Dat salt.

    Wow...

    I'm salty as hell and don't care who knows it.

  17. M1TCH-80 Thursday 15th May 2014 at 11:15

    Some people like to complain about everything. I thought the review was fair, and i cannot wait to play it.

  18. carnivine chaos Thursday 15th May 2014 at 11:18


    Dat salt.

    Wow...

    I'm salty as hell and don't care who knows it.


    Would you like some chips? :3

  19. alexjones94 Thursday 15th May 2014 at 11:39

    A few thoughts before score-moaning kicks in proper:

    - Joe's written 1000's of really nice words about MK8 before slapping a score on the end. That number is the least interesting part, and it must be so disheartening to have your work to reduced to a percentage in people's minds.

    - HOLY MOLY MARIO KART IS NEARLY HERE! Be excited about that instead of wasting time squabbling.

    - As they've mentioned at least a gazillion times before (actually a gazillion, I counted), since MK Wii was launched, there's been a huge reshuffle in the team, and the "new" (they've been in place for ages now, guys...) team introduced a harsher scoring system. They're not disrespecting the previous team by doing so, just not being bound by their work.

    - Reviews are essentially opinion. Sure, there's an element of objectivity, but fundamentally, it is the view of one person, or sometimes one team. You might agree, you might not. The point is neither you, nor the reviewer is 'right' - although, right now, considering none of us have played the game, ONM are the only ones able to make a reasoned judgement on the quality of the game.

    - This is the one I want to emphasise the most: It's so damn tedious to argue over review scores. Just imagine he'd wrote "it's bloody good" instead of 96% if it bothers you.

  20. Maxz Thursday 15th May 2014 at 12:01

    Here's a more interesting fact about the score; if you turn your head up-side-down, it's the same number! Isn't that amazing!? It's just as good, even if you're stuck to the ceiling! Let's talk about this instead! ?*????*\(^O^)/*????*?

  21. Benjy3DU Thursday 15th May 2014 at 12:07

    If this game doesn't sell Wii U's and turn things around… then I'm just going to go with the conclusion that the Wii U isn't what's wrong, it's the general public.

  22. toffeeman30 Thursday 15th May 2014 at 12:10

    defo getting it as everyone else seems to be

  23. martynm Thursday 15th May 2014 at 12:20

    Let's face it. A lot of people rushed to the first page to see what the score was before reading the review..
    EDIT: i've just read some of the above comments but I guess it shows that more people are obsessed with scores over the impression of the game. I don't own a Wii U but I do have another reason to own one.

  24. liveswired Thursday 15th May 2014 at 12:36

    Every Mario Kart is the best Mario Kart at the time of its review and 96% is only 2% above the Wii Mario Kart score.

    The lack of Wii u titles has generated a lot of hype around Mario Kart 8 and 96% has brought expectations down to earth. Its just another good Mario Kart game, as was Mario Kart 7.

    Saying that playing it is like having a new console suggests that Nintendo should have pulled out all the stops with its previous releases and now two years later we are just getting the HD quality we paid for.

    Reading between the review lines and even though we will all get a copy of Mario Kart 8 (and the free game), it seems as though the hype was over done.

    Let's hope this is not repeated with Smash Bros. But I think it has already started, something has to fill the magazine pages I guess.

    As times change - scores change. The old ONM could not be trusted. If you quit being so lazy and check EVERY OTHER review site you will see THEY ARE ALL giving MK8 TOP marks - even Edge gave it 9. MKWii received mainly average scores across the board and MK 7 received a mixed, but generally favourable bag. Mario Kart 8 is without a doubt the best Mario Kart ever by the sounds of it.

    If you have an issue with your Wii U, sell it and move on. I had many issues on the first year of release which I complained about ferociously at the time - but Nintendo slowly made the improvements and began updating and maintaining their OS and online services which was being demanded by like minded, core gamers - Nintendo have wholeheartedly won me back round and they have shown they are making large strides to finally join the 21st Century.

    It's even more pleasant now; since Super Mario 3D World that we can see the Wii U is; under the hood; a massive leap in power over the last gen and that all the 'scaremongering' by multiplats and Digital Foundry is completely incorrect and unfounded. The best kart racers even on PS3 (MN and LBPK) struggled at 720p30 with half the effects and details Nintendo have thrown on screen into MK8 at 1080p60.

    I don't see a lack of titles on Wii U, the Indie scene is cruising with many interesting titles - I have 8 bluray games which I haven't even finished - and I'm still yet to pick up the likes of Deux Ex, Mass Effect 3, AC Black Flag, Rayman, Lego City, Donkey Kong et all.

    I see a thriving gaming platform with too many people jumping on the Wii U 'hate bandwagon'. The Wii U does not need the likes of EA to succeed. With more quality games on the horizon - X, Smash Bros, Bayonnetta this year I see a very promising future indeed.

  25. thenintendoer Thursday 15th May 2014 at 12:48

    might pick this one up, the main problem ive had with the recent ones is the balance of items which has been pretty poor in my opinion so it should be nice to do some racing without the constant worry of a barrage of items at the end of a race, im just a bit sad about the battle mode, while im glad theyve gotten rid of the format used in wii and 7 i wish theyd used arenas instead of tracks but given all the other good scores from critics this might be the best version since the ds one :)

  26. Zabba 2 Thursday 15th May 2014 at 13:21

    Can't remember the last game I hyped as much as this. Nintendo finally swayed me to buy a Wii U because of this game and the free digital title up for grabs only makes it sweeter.

    The change to battle mode is strange and disappointing, but it's not really a mode I played very often in past Mario Kart games anyway. I just wish Double Dash's Bob-omb Blast would return!

    still think its totaly unnecessary to have so many baby characters though, and that pink peach thing. whats wrong with having characters like petey pirahna, e-gadd, diddy kong, king boo, nabbit or even toadsworth in it instead?. its really the only gripe i have with this game, all these interesting chartacters to choose and nintendo goes for pure filler.

    I have to say I agree with this. While MK8 has the biggest roster by far, 5 baby characters is excessive and Pink Gold Peach is just...lazy. I mean, of course I can't complain too much given how MK8 looks phenomenal and has so much carefully crafted content, but it would have been nice to have seen a more inclusive roster. Did Nintendo ever rule out DLC with this game?

  27. imbusydoctorwho Thursday 15th May 2014 at 14:18

    Wow, knew it was going to be brilliant but that is a massive surprise.
    Bar some really baffling character decisions (baby Rosalin wtf!), I'm really looking forward to it.

  28. Nintendoofus Thursday 15th May 2014 at 14:31

    At least Pink Gold Peach will look shiny in hd...I guess.
    But yeah I'm looking forward to this, gonna be some fun times had.
    Based on this review and others you could say that the game is gr8.

  29. Miguel Sanchez Thursday 15th May 2014 at 14:41

    Only 6% higher than Red Steel? Disappointing. :lol:

  30. JEANFDZ Thursday 15th May 2014 at 14:51

    Why MK devs still flood the character chart with the same characters versions, like babies and metal versions?? Damn, Nintendo's characters are so rich, so many options and they keep doing this. Anyways, can't wait to play this one!

  31. SupaWaluigi Thursday 15th May 2014 at 15:14

    Let's face it. A lot of people rushed to the first page to see what the score was before reading the review..

    I expected myself to do exactly that, but got lost in the stream of positive goodness written by Monsieur Skrebels. Just goes to show that there are some people out there who enjoy reading the view point of a reviewer rather than seeing a cold, numerical score.

    And to those of you bemoaning the character roster, I agree, although I kind of like the inclusion of the Koopalings. It's just strange that Bowser Jr is not included :?

    On a final note, May 30th can't come soon enough!

  32. IRNBRU64 Thursday 15th May 2014 at 15:45

    Was this in their magazine? Or will it be in the next one?

  33. Yoshiller Thursday 15th May 2014 at 16:03

    Was this in their magazine? Or will it be in the next one?

    It'll be in the next one, the review embargo set by Nintendo just lifted today which is why the review has now been posted.

    Here's some hype for y'all, 15 DAYS TO LAUNCH!!! :D

  34. tim453 Thursday 15th May 2014 at 16:18

    If you have an issue with your Wii U, sell it and move on. I had many issues on the first year of release which I complained about ferociously at the time .

    .....funny, that with your issues you did not consider taking your own advice and sell and move on. :D

  35. Argenthor Thursday 15th May 2014 at 16:36

    Every Mario Kart is the best Mario Kart at the time of its review and 96% is only 2% above the Wii Mario Kart score.


    Simple: ONM overscored Mario Kart Wii back in the day. NGamer gave it 88, which is closer to what the current ONM team think about the MKWii. MK8 is a masterpiece and the best game on Wii U. Don't start being insane about scores again. We're not in the mood.


    Blasphemy!

  36. Shannenvdb Thursday 15th May 2014 at 17:17

    I want to play this SO BAD! :( I hope this saves the Wii U a bit... It's definitely a good console with a lot of potential, I don't want to see it dying already.

  37. garywood Thursday 15th May 2014 at 18:06

    I understand it's important to get ad revenue from a site. But 5 pages? C'mon guys. Taking the p**s a bit!

  38. laughingjumpman Thursday 15th May 2014 at 18:54

    Only 6% higher than Red Steel? Disappointing. :lol:

    I did wonder how long it'd take. I bet being reminded of that never gets old for Matthew. Never.

  39. smikey666 Thursday 15th May 2014 at 21:34


    The idea of a forum is to express opinions, is it not. Or has this changed since you sat in editors seat. We readers buy the magazine not the team. Teams come and go. It does you no favours putting down the previous team.

    You come across as arrogant not moody.

    To be fair some readers do buy the magazine based on the team of writers or in some cases don't buy it I know 6 people who started buying the mag again when Chandra returned as editor and stoped again as soon as he left so the team can have an effect on the purchase of the mag.

    I myself haven't bought the mag since Chandra's last issue & I bought every single issue since the early 90's but since I often disagreed strongly with the reviews of most of the other writers didn't seem much point in continuing and the extra monthly cash all goes on games.

    I still check this site about once a week but there are a lot of places to get up to date Nintendo info.

    As for the review I didn't read it on here & won't be doing so just checke the score (out of interest) & it does seem in line with most other places so it is pretty accurate scoring anyway.
    Mario Kart wii probably was scored to high before in all honesty but like I said I like so many disagree with so many review scores it's better to just read a cross section of reviews & watch a few trailers or game play videos then make up your own mind.

  40. Miguel Sanchez Thursday 15th May 2014 at 21:50

    I myself haven't bought the mag since Chandra's last issue & I bought every single issue since the early 90's but since I often disagreed strongly with the reviews of most of the other writers didn't seem much point in continuing and the extra monthly cash all goes on games.

    What stopped you reading pal? I've been fondly following Matthew's mishaps from the old NGamer days (every new issue was an absolute joy to read, especially the mag's ability to turn boring sales numbers and other news into ridiculous jokes) so I've welcomed his new reign of terror with open arms.

    As for MK Wii's score, I think I can summarise the 'issue' as:

    1) MK Wii was a very good game (mi opinion)
    2) The reviewer at the time of writing had a blast with it, likely more so than others.
    (?)
    Conclusion: 94%. Just one of gazillions of opinions.

  41. liveswired Thursday 15th May 2014 at 22:33

    .....funny, that with your issues you did not consider taking your own advice and sell and move on. :D

    Funnily enough...I didn't lol. I just hung on - but...I feel Nintendo have taken the steps required and have a clear focus and view to move forward! They didn't when I picked up the Wii U, though to be honest if they hadn't changed their ways after their first 6 months I wouldn't have stuck around! Credits due, were credits due - it took Ninty time enough!!! :mrgreen:

  42. mariomafia Thursday 15th May 2014 at 23:41

    Lol 96 % is a bit high really, Whilst good it has several flaws but its a nintendo site so obviously they are going to embellish it a little :) with its still gimped online features. with something so crucial why why why why are they still going all nanny state online ?? They just never learn and still give with one hand and refuse to give with the other, and the roster has too many reskins . Hopefully some DLC and a future patch will remedy the obvious flaws, and give us a Battle mode that doesn't suck, more varied roster etc. And give us a season pass of some sort of different tracks/racers/cars, no excuse not to since Golf has it now.

    Saying that game looks a real proper step up from Funky Bike Wii, The quality you would come to expect from nintendo and hopefully they will hold some sort of weekly/monthly league or something for competitive players.

    ad revenue? adblocker is your friend if you are worried about that.

  43. DaleBiederbeck Friday 16th May 2014 at 08:20

    still think its totaly unnecessary to have so many baby characters though, and that pink peach thing. whats wrong with having characters like petey pirahna, e-gadd, diddy kong, king boo, nabbit or even toadsworth in it instead?. its really the only gripe i have with this game, all these interesting chartacters to choose and nintendo goes for pure filler.


    I don't mind Pink Gold Peach (aside from the name that is), I like the idea of Peach having a Metal Mario equal. I do agree, however, with the overabundance of babies. I'd rather have E. Gadd or Lubba or pretty much anyone.

  44. MatthewONM Friday 16th May 2014 at 08:24

    Lol 96 % is a bit high really, Whilst good it has several flaws but its a nintendo site so obviously they are going to embellish it a little :)


    Thanks for the review Guy Who Hasn't Played The Game Yet!

  45. Time-Bomb Friday 16th May 2014 at 10:15

    Lol 96 % is a bit high really, Whilst good it has several flaws but its a nintendo site so obviously they are going to embellish it a little :)


    Thanks for the review Guy Who Hasn't Played The Game Yet!

    Ha!

  46. mav Friday 16th May 2014 at 10:31

    Lol 96 % is a bit high really, Whilst good it has several flaws but its a nintendo site so obviously they are going to embellish it a little :)


    Thanks for the review Guy Who Hasn't Played The Game Yet!


    Why can't I like this post??

    :D :D

  47. mav Friday 16th May 2014 at 10:34


    I have to say I agree with this. While MK8 has the biggest roster by far, 5 baby characters is excessive and Pink Gold Peach is just...lazy. I mean, of course I can't complain too much given how MK8 looks phenomenal and has so much carefully crafted content, but it would have been nice to have seen a more inclusive roster. Did Nintendo ever rule out DLC with this game?


    my daughters can't wait to play as the babys - so while I would love to see more char choice (and those choices meaning something) I think you are taking your personal preference a little far.

  48. Johny G Friday 16th May 2014 at 12:15

    I love the Wii U and I truly believe it is an excellent console but the sales have been absoluetly appauling from Day 1. The Official Nintendo Magazine has not mentioned many new games for the Wii U in quite some time and I have not seen a 2014 release schedule for the Wii U. It's sad but Mario Kart 8 is going to be the make or break game for the Wii U and the future of our beloved console is desparately depending on this game as a matter of life or death. It's hard to believe that we are actually up to the 8th Mario Kart game in the series and none of these games has ever failed to deliver - In fact I would say they have been the best games on the indvidual consoles. We also have to remember that it was Mario Kart 7 amongst others that turned around the fortunes of the 3DS. If anything can save the Wii U now, it has definhately got to be Mario Kart 8. Bring on 30th May 2014 - It will be a historic day, that's for sure.

  49. dumpandchase78 Friday 16th May 2014 at 12:19

    This game can't come soon enough.

    Is the reason for having Pink Gold Peach to add a female option to the heavier kart class?

    Whatever the reason I like the look of PGP, and my daughters will probably be fighting over who uses her!

    PGP FTW :)

  50. george2v Friday 16th May 2014 at 13:38

    I have played Nintendo consoles for about 10 years now, so I haven't had as much experience as some other people. But I think it is absurd how some people seem to think they know better than the actual reviewers of the game, the 'Official' Nintendo Magazine. The guys who write this magazine don't just do this for a hobby. It's their profession, and they know what they are talking about. If they say the game is 96% then I am very excited indeed ;) Bring on May 30th!

  51. Donkey Kong Jr. Friday 16th May 2014 at 16:17

    Matthew stop being a diva, this is going down the road of the super guide...

  52. tim453 Friday 16th May 2014 at 16:31

    To be fair some readers do buy the magazine based on the team of writers or in some cases don't buy it I know 6 people who started buying the mag again when Chandra returned as editor and stoped again as soon as he left so the team can have an effect on the purchase of the mag.

    I myself haven't bought the mag since Chandra's last issue & I bought every single issue since the early 90's but since I often disagreed strongly with the reviews of most of the other writers didn't seem much point in continuing and the extra monthly cash all goes on games.

    I still check this site about once a week but there are a lot of places to get up to date Nintendo info.

    As for the review I didn't read it on here & won't be doing so just checke the score (out of interest) & it does seem in line with most other places so it is pretty accurate scoring anyway.

    I have bought every copy of N64 (and its name changes) until Future dumped it. And every issue of the official magazine since about 1996 so I have seen 'teams' come and go and come back again.

    I agree the Nintendo information and reviews are instantly on line to view and magazine days seem numbered. My pervious post was about the hype Mario Kart 8 has been given and not the score. We all knew it would get a least 9.

    The other Nintendo magazines all fell when Nintendo games started to dry up. Their last half dozen issues were full of anything except game reviews. I wonder is it matters if we don't have a Nintendo magazine anymore. I am finding that I don't read mine, just flick through it. The next issue may have the Mario Kart 8 review in it and my bet is that will be at least 8 pages.

    You might be right the cash could be better spent.

  53. smikey666 Friday 16th May 2014 at 18:11

    I have played Nintendo consoles for about 10 years now, so I haven't had as much experience as some other people. But I think it is absurd how some people seem to think they know better than the actual reviewers of the game, the 'Official' Nintendo Magazine. The guys who write this magazine don't just do this for a hobby. It's their profession, and they know what they are talking about. If they say the game is 96% then I am very excited indeed ;) Bring on May 30th!

    It's true they don't write the magazine for a hobby it is a job but lots of people have jobs and that doesn't automatically mean they automatically know everything about that job or that they automatically know more than someone who works somewhere else.
    I can promise you the current team are not the best in the world when it comes to Nintendo knowledge or journalism thats not especially meant as a criticism (though it will probably be taken as one anyway) I don't claim no be the biggest expert on all things on Nintendo either but I can promise you I own more Nintendo games & products than Matthew & Joe put together & in general disagreed with past reviews while over 90% of Chandra's matched my feelings or thoughts.

    in the end a review is a personal thing to the player everyone is different & we all look for or want different things.

    @Tim453 It sounds like I found a good time to quit buying the mag the extra cash will at the very least buy youa nes game on wii u once a month or 2 full wii u retail games a year if you shop around & depending what you want.

    The magazine industry in general is in decline this website has never been that good on breaking stories ect though I guess they have to save something for the mag unlike places like Nintendo life ( recommend their reviews by the way)

    Despite it all though I wish ONM well for the future and if it makes it to the next Nintendo home console (xmas 2017/18 ) maybe i'll start buying it again.

  54. laughingjumpman Friday 16th May 2014 at 19:51

    It's interesting to hear some people went off the mag when Chandra left, as my reaction was basically the exact opposite, I started buying it more regularly again, and now subscribe.

    Makes it sound as if I had something against him, but in truth I couldn't put my finger on what was putting me off the mag when he was ed, maybe just a style thing I suppose.

  55. bones0898 Friday 16th May 2014 at 23:40

    It really annoys me that some people want to write the wii u off when games like this come around. Think about it Wii u is going to get baynoetta 2,Smash bros,X and maybe a new Zelda this year. And that doesn't include some of the line up they will have for us on the 9th of June. Also Smash bros for 3dds and the new pokemon will help nintendo's money troubles. I think Mario Kart 8 sounds really good too,

  56. tim453 Saturday 17th May 2014 at 10:37

    @Tim453 It sounds like I found a good time to quit buying the mag the extra cash will at the very least buy youa nes game on wii u once a month or 2 full wii u retail games a year if you shop around & depending what you want.

    The magazine industry in general is in decline this website has never been that good on breaking stories ect though I guess they have to save something for the mag unlike places like Nintendo life ( recommend their reviews by the way)

    Despite it all though I wish ONM well for the future and if it makes it to the next Nintendo home console (xmas 2017/18 ) maybe i'll start buying it again.
    My magazine subscription works out at just Ł2.17 a month I had it for so long. So although I would save I have been reluctant to give it up, in the hope the magazine will improve. There seems very little substance to it any more and what there is can be, as you say, read first on Nintendo Life. It is made up of 'fillers'.

    Re. Scoring system. That is a moan of mine. If I did not moan about it I would moan about the weather or something. N64 and its other names and ONM seem unable to use the 100% score. Instead they deliberate over whether this game should get an extra one more or one less point than a previous game. That's way the out of 10 score is more realistic.

    If its not good enough for 10 it gets a 9. If its the best to date it gets 10. 96% being indecisive.

  57. mattym727 Saturday 17th May 2014 at 15:47

    Just wondering if someone who has played the game could comment on is it true that in 1st place you tend to get the new 'coin' item which ruins the expeirence of trying to hold 1st place?

  58. Time-Bomb Saturday 17th May 2014 at 16:02

    When you're in first, you do tend to get the coin item quite often. So yeah, defending 1st place is a bit trickier in that respect, but apparently there are less blue shells and things so it's all swings and roundabouts I guess.

  59. CAF223 Sunday 18th May 2014 at 11:14

    For those of you complaining about the review score, put it this way. It has achieved higher than any other Wii U game and 3DS game (except TLOZ Ocarina of Time, which is overrated anyway).

  60. The Sir Sunday 18th May 2014 at 17:02

    Looking forward to Mario Kart 8 regardless of it's generous review score.

  61. bigterence Monday 19th May 2014 at 09:26

    Two copies on order, plus one red wheel plus one green wheel . Bring it on !!!!

  62. ShadowofPain Thursday 22nd May 2014 at 07:38

    This is an excellent review. The focus was clear and it was eloquently written. The paragraph after the one about the Battle Mode really caught my attention. I remember watching the review by WiiFolderJosh and how he mentioned the game lacks replayability due to its lack of modes and underwhelming Battle Mode yet surely high replay value should stem from excellent core gameplay and (in the case of Mario Kart) track design? That's the case with every game as far as I can tell. Extra modes and the like are bells and whistles that add to the game's content, but if you nail the core gameplay you'll be playing that for years.

    I don't care much for the scoring system (this isn't a personal jab at you guys more at the system in general). I feel it's arbitrary and detracts attention from the review itself in an attempt to standardise a complex opinion which, in my opinion, shouldn't really be standardised. Look at a bunch of the comments here. How many have commented on the score as opposed to the quality of the review?

    It's clear a lot of thought went into writing this review and honestly it's probably the best review I've seen from you guys in a long time. Good stuff!

  63. mav Thursday 22nd May 2014 at 15:41

    Regarding the game - I have not looked forward to a non Zelda game this much ever!

    Regarding the score - I look and think, WOW he rates that highly.

    Regarding the Mag, I have only been buying regularly since Chandra was ed, since he has left has been the best run I have read and I really liked Chandras input, I just like the way it is more now.

  64. Yell-Darb Friday 23rd May 2014 at 07:08

    I myself haven't bought the mag since Chandra's last issue & I bought every single issue since the early 90's but since I often disagreed strongly with the reviews of most of the other writers didn't seem much point in continuing and the extra monthly cash all goes on games.

    What stopped you reading pal? I've been fondly following Matthew's mishaps from the old NGamer days (every new issue was an absolute joy to read, especially the mag's ability to turn boring sales numbers and other news into ridiculous jokes) so I've welcomed his new reign of terror with open arms.

    As for MK Wii's score, I think I can summarise the 'issue' as:

    1) MK Wii was a very good game (mi opinion)
    2) The reviewer at the time of writing had a blast with it, likely more so than others.
    (?)
    Conclusion: 94%. Just one of gazillions of opinions.


    My man I totally agree on both issues. I think Matt is even better then Charndra, I think hes the kind of guy who you can trust to give his honest opinion and I look foward to my subsciption every month, even if I know there are no new games I want to buy.
    Joe's review seems fair to me and can't wait to get my copy now.
    To everyone at the mag, keep up the great work. Cheers

  65. mariomafia Saturday 24th May 2014 at 15:45

    I felt 96 was too generous considering the shortcomings like online restrictions and poor battle mode and too many cloned characters, but still a solid 8.5-9. But What I can't understand is how people expected this to be 1080p whilst the meatier machines have been struggling. Digital foundry confirmed this was indeed at the standard 1280x720 and that Eurogamer were full of nonsense , but the baffling thing is there is NO Anti aliasing in ANY shape or form! No excuse for that really pretty much all computers do it.
    At least older games had some form of jaggie reduction, noticed in some videos the lower quality textures, the pixelated bits, I mean really? Something that was meant to be one of the most important titles and they don't even attempt to push it visually, but cover it up with smoke and mirrors instead? I guess Nintendo were thinking people would be satisfied with ' good enough' than really try to get the most of it.http://i.imgur.com/2d0I6ud.jpg


    So instead of 1080p and 60fps it's 720 and 59fps( some is still 60 but things like vs CPU there are drops, and the copied frame maybe to do with hardware ) with no aa so there will be tearing in prace ans. Yea it is going to be fun regardless , the lighting is good and the track design, whilst some are nothing more than as drive through pretty scenery are technically sound and pretty smooth performance wise, but it just comes off as Nintendo devs and the hardware being inferior on a developing level as other companies when it comes to the technical details, and those harping on about the power of the u and what its capable of really starts to paint a picture of its limits and that it can't do the things Nintendo evangelicists claim and it really is far removed from the graphical arms race and is closer to ps3 360.

    Games going to do gangbusters at least for the short term anyways it looks a blast and probably the closest thing we are going to get to F Zero on U. Just dissapointing but not surprising.

  66. 1singie Friday 6th Jun 2014 at 18:54

    what drives me up the walls is i can't race online, even after putting the wiiu in the dmz it still won't work!!!!!! very very annoying

  67. sidezr Monday 9th Jun 2014 at 10:17

    I am loving the game and enjoying online multi-player much more than the Wii or 3DS predecessors. And the graphics are simply mind-blowing.

    The only thing I really don't like is the track and racers displayed on the Wii U tablet screen instead of the in-game screen. Playing with the tablet controller or not, I cannot take my eyes off the TV to look at the track or places and back without having to re-adjust my vision and often messing up my race in the best case, or eventually getting headaches in the worst case :cry: . I wish they had the option to display the track, at least, on the screen. If such option exists, then forgive me and can anyone direct me to it?

    Other than that drawback, I'm enjoying the game, and is just as good as described in the article.

  68. ninelevendo91 Thursday 10th Jul 2014 at 23:05

    Looks great, rather disappointed about the character roster though... I mean, how many Babies do we need?!? Pink Gold Peach has a little bit of a Cool aspect to her, the Female heavyweight, but the rest were a bit dull. The Koopalings, while cool, replaced many other better possibilities and fan favourites, such as Bowser Jr., Diddy Kong, Birdo, Dry Bowser and Dry Bones (Who some are still a little skeptical about), King Boo and Petey Piranha, and not to mention many more other possibilities. A male and female Metal character seems like a good idea, as long as Nintendo doesn't overdo it.

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