Quantcast
Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD - Destructoid




Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android


Mario Kart 8  




Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD photo
Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD

2:01 AM on 04.03.2014

I haven't been this jazzed with a Mario Kart title in a long time


As an institution within the videogame racing genre, Mario Kart has always been an example of what arcade style racing is all about. Focusing on simple, pick up and play gameplay, while still offering high level skill based action, the Mario Kart series has been going strong for over twenty years; and it doesn't seem like it'll stop any time soon.

Now, the series is finally taking its first steps onto an HD platform, and after spending about an hour of playtime with it, I just don't see how they can go back after this. I'm just going to come right out and say it: Mario Kart 8 is one gorgeous game.

As the first full HD release of the series, the developers at Nintendo went the extra mile with creating a game that is visually spectacular, but also the most content rich game of the series.


Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: May 30, 2014

Picking up where Mario Kart 7 left off, and pretty much where all the others did too, the various characters, creatures, and other residents of the Mushroom Kingdom once again compete in a series of races to decide who's the best kart racer in all the land. Along with the returning roster, Bowser's Koopalings (from Super Mario World ) are all fully playable and help to expand the large and diverse lineup. Moreover, characters missing from the last title (such as Baby Peach and Baby Daisy) are also reintroduced.

As the first Mario Kart title on the Wii U, and in HD, the developers were able to take advantage of the new technology to really flesh out and expand upon the classic Mario aesthetic. As with Super Mario 3D World, the HD visuals here really make the familiar Mario art style pop.

The graphics are crisp, detailed, and very dense in design, and not to mention this game runs at a rock solid 60FPS and at 720p -- which not only benefits the gameplay, but also the visuals. While they are a wonder to look at, there were times the visuals felt a bit too busy and got distracting. Not too often, but there were moments where they might've went a bit overboard with the bloom and flashing lights. With that said, it still looks stunning in motion, and these screenshots don't do this title justice.

As seen in the previous entry, verticality played a big impact on races with the hang-glider attachment and how you could clear gaps and soar over other racers. In MK8, they've expanded upon this in a big way by including actual vehicle transformation to take advantage of new terrain and pathways on the courses. Each track features multiple pathways and routes, and some of these will call for a change of vehicle. Some tracks feature underwater routes, gliding, and the brand new anti-gravity tracks -- and there's even a few that throw in every possible option.



As you've likely seen from the various trailers and screenshots, anti-gravity is a big focus on the races, and many of the tracks will have racers swooping across the course sideways, upside down, and any other way you can think of. At first, it was a bit jarring transitioning to anti-grav mode, but I really got into it after a lap or so. Not only that, racing strategy changes up quite a bit.

During this phase you have to keep momentum, and knocking into racers is a great way to get a speed boost. Racers who aren't usually aggressive will learn quickly that you'll have to get mean to get ahead. As you can imagine, anti-grav tracks can get pretty hectic, as you're going through loops, twists, and other turns, racers are going with the flow while beating into each other to eek out a speed boost. It was pretty crazy, and these moments offer the most intense moments Mario Kart racing has ever been.



One of the most impressive features of Mario Kart 8 is the robust customization options. As in past games, you can deck out and customize each of the karts to fit your tastes and preferences. You can switch out to different karts and motorcycles that focus on speed, power, or handling, and can even swap out wheel types to fit whatever track you plan to race on. In MK8, they takes things a bit further by allowing players to mix and match different parts, chassis, wheels, and the like from different racers. Want to have Toad on a more level playing field with the other heavy hitters? Then deck out his vehicle with a heavy frame.

A staple of the Mario Kart series is having courses from previous titles return, and MK8 hasn't held out on fans one bit. Tracks such as Moo Moo Meadows, Mario Circuit, Cheep Cheep Beach, Toad's Turnpike, and Rainbow Road (N64 version) are playable in Mario Kart 8. To take advantage of the new visuals and gameplay, many of these courses have been altered -- for the better.



For instance, Toad's Turnpike now has anti-grav tracks, which presents interesting opportunities for players. During my race, I used the anti-grav tracks to overtake my rivals, while avoiding heavy traffic and hopping across a series of trucks to gain the lead. Many of these tracks feel new, and the gameplay additions make me curious what else has changed for the other retro tracks.

In addition to the new racing gameplay, Nintendo has also expanded player profile options and online play. As you can expect, MK8 features online races, leaderboards, and many other features to give players access to constant competition. In addition to this is the new Mario Kart TV feature. After the end of each race, your best moments are saved and shown to you in a highlight reel. And these aren't simple gameplay captures, your finest acts are shown in dramatic and epic fashion, with snazzy camera angles and fancy editing thanks to the Lakitu Bros., who man the cameras during every race.

Many of these moments feature quick shots of players performing cool stunts, epic takedowns with powerups, and last minute victories. Of course, if players are particularly proud of a moment or the whole highlight reel, you can save and share them with friends. While Nintendo was a bit tight lipped about what else MKTV offers, what I've seen so far looks to be very interesting, and should make online and co-op play even more satisfying.

One thing that I really appreciate is the attention to detail. Throughout each race, there were callbacks and references to everything in Mario and Nintendo lore. It felt like a giant, and pardon the cliche, love letter to the whole series. I'll be honest, I haven't been this jazzed with a Mario Kart title in a long time, and playing this title made me really look forward to seeing more.

It sounds like I'm gushing, I know, but I was completely taken with it. I'm not much of a racing fan, so I was always appreciative of the Mario Kart series for giving me something accessible. As brief as it was, this hands-on time showed that the series hasn't lost its touch one bit.

Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD photo
Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD photo
Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD photo
Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD photo
Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD photo
Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD photo
Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD photo
Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD photo
Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD photo
Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD photo
Mario Kart 8 is stunning and fierce in HD photo




Mario Kart 8 gets Mercedes update, pre-orders now live for DLC photo


Mashup! Mario Kart 8 DLC adds Link, Animal Crossing Villager photo


Mario Kart 8 update adds map display to the TV screen  photo


This Bowser Mario Kart toy had a major facelift photo


Luigi's death stare returns in new Mario Kart 8 TV ad photo


Luigi's death glare moves 885,000 US Mario Kart copies photo


Luigi's death stare is still strong with these Mario Kart 8 toy displays photo


These first Mario Kart 8 hacks are pretty benign photo


There's a commercial for those McDonald's Mario Kart toys now photo


None of these strategies helped me win at Mario Kart 8 photo


Mario Kart 8 Updates, Screenshots, & Videos







Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.



Review: Size DOES Matter photo
Review: Size DOES Matter
3:00 PM on 09.15.2014





timeline following:
Mario Kart 8



10:30 AM on 08.27.2014
Mario Kart 8 gets Mercedes update, pre-orders now live for DLC

Mario Kart 8 brings a small update today, and with it, the free Mercedes Benz DLC. Version 2.0 of the game is in tow, which comes with minor changes like an in-game DLC option. If you want the Mercedes DLC just head to t...more



4:40 PM on 08.26.2014
Mashup! Mario Kart 8 DLC adds Link, Animal Crossing Villager

[Update: Nintendo of America has released more details, mainly that both downloadable content packs will cost $7.99 each, or $11.99 if you buy them together. Pre-orders are now open and they grant immediate access to the...more



10:00 PM on 08.05.2014
Mario Kart 8 update adds map display to the TV screen

[Update: Nintendo has confirmed an August 27 launch for the update in North America as well. Find the full list of improvements below.] Welcome Nintendo to the modern age of gaming with downloadable content! Hey, at least th...more



5:30 PM on 07.28.2014
This Bowser Mario Kart toy had a major facelift

I've been covering these Mario Kart Happy Meal toys far too long now. I see them in my sleep sometimes. And despite having ventured to McDonald's a few days a week in the mornings before work to check the inventory, I've only...more



11:30 AM on 07.22.2014
Luigi's death stare returns in new Mario Kart 8 TV ad

Oh Nintendo, you sure do love your memes. Whether it's the readiness of one's body or feeling just like a purple Pikmin, the platform holder isn't afraid to poke fun at itself on occasion. The latest example of this playful ...more



8:00 PM on 07.17.2014
Luigi's death glare moves 885,000 US Mario Kart copies

C'mon, you're going to tell me that's not what's doing it? What, is it that Mario Kart 8 is fun? That it's familiar? That it's a Mario Kart game? Nope. All Luigi, baby. That's what you get in 2 anno Luigi. No matter the ...more



3:00 AM on 07.14.2014
Luigi's death stare is still strong with these Mario Kart 8 toy displays

Ever since I originally posted about those Mario Kart 8 toys at McDonald's, I've been meaning to get out to one and pick up one of them, but I have yet to do so. In the event you've been trying to figure out whether or not y...more



1:45 PM on 07.07.2014
These first Mario Kart 8 hacks are pretty benign

Through a browser exploit, a group has successfully managed to edit Mario Kart 8's memory on the fly, allowing, right now, custom Wii U menu fonts, renamed courses, and the alteration of which music plays when. Watch a demon...more



12:00 AM on 07.05.2014
There's a commercial for those McDonald's Mario Kart toys now

Remember those Mario Kart 8 toys McDonald's was teasing? Looks like it's about time to head to your local franchise and ransack their toy bins for the one you like the best. Or ask politely for one. Whatever. This commercial...more



4:00 PM on 07.03.2014
None of these strategies helped me win at Mario Kart 8

I've fought the urge to buy a Wii U specifically for Wind Waker HD for the better part of a year now. After a strong E3 by Nintendo and a convenient Mario Kart 8 promotion, I finally relented. Between flipping throu...more




Destructoid Originals

6:30 PM on 09.18.2014
Hardline 29: Destiny's lukewarm reception, first taste of Smash Bros., and the world is a vampire

Hardline is back! For this week's episode, Max filled in to speak with me and Bill about Destiny and how the game fails to live up to Bungie's pedigree in some areas. Super Smash Bros., on the other hand, is just plain great...more



9:00 PM on 09.16.2014
Playthrough: Destiny's Mars has cars, but not a single hot dog in sight

I've come down with a bad case of Dumpster Mono, and Max Scoville is terrified of germs, so he made me stay home so he could play Destiny and call it 'work'. But, without my responsible guidance, he got tricked into playing ...more



3:30 PM on 09.15.2014
Max and Bill must kill the Moon-Princes

Man, Destiny. I seriously can't remember the last game that I felt so ambivalent about, but was so completely hooked on. Here's me and Bill dicking around on the Moon and discussing our general thoughts on the game, and killing the Moon-Princes with a big dumb sword. Is it a "Let's Play?" I don't know. But we're enjoying ourselves, and maybe you'll enjoy watching our enjoyment.more



View all Destructoid Originals






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more