I was really surprised when I learned that motor bikes would feature in Mario Kart Wii. Why, I wondered would they take a tried and well tested formula that is so popular with fans and change it. Now that I have played the game I can see why as it does not take anything away from the original Mario Kart experience it only adds to it. Mario Kart Wii is a superb game with lots of new inventive features that fans will simply love.
As usual the Grand Prix mode is the mainstay of the game with its thirty two courses all with their own particular sequences you will be hard pressed to be bored. There are eleven competitors in Grand Prix mode that the computer will put you up against, you can select your own engine size from three choices while with eight cups to win, with four statutory and four to unlock it’s a really exciting prospect. There is a fabulous mid air stunt you can perform also that is very tricky but fantastic when you get it right. I took some time to be able to fly off the ramp and spin in mid air landing safely but it’s fantastic when you can do it.
You can play other modes of course like for instance the Balloon Battle Mode where you can use power ups to hit other drivers along with a team mate you may be playing with. Each of the cars has three balloons for you to burst while each time you hit an opponent a balloon is popped. Your final score depends on how many balloons you burst on that level.
Some of the courses included in the game aren’t strictly new but for me there are enough great changes to satisfy my craving for something new. You have twenty five well loved characters to play with, twelve at the beginning of the game plus the rest that are unlockable as you play along. Among new characters to Mario Kart games are Baby Peach, Rosalina, Funky Kong and Dry Bowser so along with your Mii that will appear all over the place you have plenty to choose from.
You also have an added extra in this package as there is a small plastic Wii wheel included when you buy the game. I liked this inclusion but it took some mastering so you will need to practise to become proficient. I think because the steering wheel isn’t actually attached to anything it is a little disorientating, I got used to it but my friend doesn’t like it at all and prefers to stick to the Wii remote which is fine.
There are all kinds of things you can do to eliminate your adversaries in Mario Kart Wii. It isn’t just a matter of racing round like mad to win, you can throw things at your opponents to make them spin off the track or use the fabulous Pow Block that enables you to freeze them on the spot so they can’t beat you, its enormous fun.
Online play is phenomenal as you can find yourself playing alongside people worldwide from Europe, Asia or Africa, anywhere is possible while you will probably be up against eight players at a time. If you win online you get extra points which is great but doing badly will affect you overall single player score so just watch out for that.