320×180, 494.73MB, 1 hour and 45 min.
UPDATE 2: Added links to each individual course if you just want to skip right to one, links are right below under “Course Rundown”.
Be gentle, this was my first time playing the Wii version, I’m a lot better now… honest.
Anyway, The video above covers all 32 levels on 150cc. I first started out playing 50cc and it was WAY too slow, then I switched to 100cc (motorcycle only) and I had a hard time maneuvering Yoshi’s bike (turned too tight), so I said F’ it and went right for the 150cc. Hell… I’ve been been playing Mario Kart since the SNES days. I did alright.
I tried the Wheel at first and it worked well, but there was no way I’d be able to drift and compete in the 150cc class using the wheel option. The video above is with me playing with Wiimote and Nunchuck.
OK, lets get into it.
– In short; AMAZING!
– In Long;
Course Rundown (Click on a course to see video of entire level):
I’m going to hop around a lot in my following rant/pseudo review, it’s 4am and I just have random thoughts going on. I’d love to elaborate on any questions you have, just leave a comment. OK GO:
Mario Kart to me was perfected the very first time on the SNES. It has gone through 6 or so iterations and since the SNES version (which held its own for many years) I’d have to say that the N64 and the DS versions of the game nailed it. This is what makes Mario Kart Wii so good. It felt like the DS version on steroids, from the thumping nostalgic soundtrack, near perfect level design, to the online flawlessness.
The Mii integration was pretty smooth on Nintendo’s part. It was funny as hell to see my Hitler Mii try and run me over in a car and my Mitch Hedberg Mii on a poster in the Coconut Mall. From toll booth operators to a stadium of chanting Mii’s they sprinkled the Mii’s perfectly throughout the levels. This attention to detail is another example of how the “eye candy” in their level design is supreme. There are so many goodies all over the place (more than half I didn’t even notice the first time around).
I thought the graphics were good (not great), I was hoping to see a Mario Galaxy polish to the characters. You’ll see the polygon count come through on a few things, you’ll see hard edges where wall meets ground, and you’ll see low textures on certain materials, but the atmospheric feeling you get leaves those high detailed complaints behind. I first noticed how rich and detailed the game was during Wario’s Gold Mine level, just looking into the distance and beneath you made you feel deeply engaged. The pipes in particular were really nice. It’s also great to see that they didn’t skimp on the draw distance. You can clearly see background elements far off into the distant and when they’re not clear the blur effect works great. Don’t get me wrong about the graphics, they’re great, I’m just holding them up to Mario Galaxy. It’s also worth pointing out that it runs in full 16×9 and a steady 60fps (as far as my eye can tell).
Regarding the gameplay, I mentioned before that for the experienced/returning user, the Nunchuk/Wiimote will be the setup. I liked the wheel and it worked great, I just think it will take me a lot more practice to compete online with it or in the 150cc Lightning Cup. It’s also nice that you’re score/time/records will indicate when you use the wheel (sort of like SSBB). You also have an option to use the GC controller. It took me a few races to find the kart I wanted. I experimented with some motorcycles, but found their handling was too tight for me, I keep going into a drift too early and hitting a wall. I then went with what I think is the equivalent to the Yoshi egg kart in the DS version, which was Yoshi’s nostalgia 1 kart. I think it’s great for beginners and advanced users. I thought I may want a kart with a higher speed, but if your in the front you get bombarded by items (blue shells, red shells, lightning bolts, etc…) and I found that having a kart with good acceleration was more useful for me. I have been trying out the dirtbike recently and I’m starting to see the advantages of the bikes. For one you can pull back and do a wheelie to gain a little speed. While doing a wheelie you don’t have much control of your ride (left/right) unless you hop out of the wheelie into a turn. Timing wheelies nicely really take advantage of straight aways.
I’m sure you’ve heard that they removed “snaking” from the game this time around. “Snaking” was in the DS version and allowed you to drift back and forth while moving your finger quickly on the D-Pad left and right. Even though it’s gone, there were a few places where I managed to do mini snaking. I’m sure with more practice I’ll be able to control my drifts/boosts better and I’m positive some kid online will already have this perfected when you race him and you’ll wonder why his/her kart hops around erratically while moving twice as fast as you. During my night of playing I found some short cuts (some known, some not). You’ll see a perfectly timed jump during the Rainbow Road where I clear a gap. It was on accident, but I’m sure more shortcuts will be found and taken advantage of. Like any MK game, once you get more familiar with the course the more you’ll be able to find shortcuts and now when to start drifting.
Red Shell – Heat seeking shell
Green Shell – Shoot at opponent, bounces off walls
Banana – Spin out if ran over (you seem to recover faster on the Wii version)
Blue Shell – Targets the player in the 1st position and blows them and surrounding riders up.
Lightning Bolt – Shrinks all players
Squid – Leaves ink blotches on all riders screens for 10 seconds or until they hit a speed marker or use a mushroom speed boost
Mushroom – Boost of Speed
Crowned Mushroom – 10+ boosts of speed in a row
Question Mark box – Fake item box
Bullet Bill – Turns you into Bullet Bill and shoots you ahead for about 5 seconds
Cloud – Not sure, It strikes you with lightning if you do something wrong… I think if you get an item while its above you
Mega Mushroom – Turns your kart into a Mega Kart almost the size of the screen for 4-5 seconds where your invincible and can flatten others
Star – Immune to everything and speeds you up
It’s the small things too, like the character animations when you through a turtle shell in front or behind you. The way you get to balance out your kart when coming off a jump (Excitebike style), or the ability to do tricks with the motion controls (shake up, down, left, or right). The game is packed with subtle, but effective enhancements to the series. Another thing to note about doing a trick off a jump is that you get a boost when you land, so it’s worth your while to swing that Wiimote when jumping.Download Windows Media version
500×278, 102.11MB, 20 min.
The game is setup much like the DS version as far as getting a grade A-F or a star/double star for supreme driving. Getting Gold cups will open unlockables like new karts, characters, and levels. Keep in mind that you don’t have immediate access to the Star Cup, Special Cup, Leaf Cup, and Lightning Cup (as seen in the video). I believe just placing in one of the other cups unlocks them.
I’m going to leave my impressions/review of the other parts of the game: Nintendo WFC, Battle Mode for later. I want to play a little more first to see how it holds up. Real quick though, the Battle Levels are really fun, I played 3 of them and was extremely impressed with the level designs on them. They also have 6 or so old school levels. Online has been flawless for me (about 50 races). You can race up to 12 players, each person votes on a course, or chooses random, then it randomly picks one of the courses. I didn’t notice ANY lag at all. You start your WFC career with 5,000 points and if you place in the upper half you’ll get positive points and if you place in the lower half you’ll get negative points all of which are tallied up with your original 5,000 (I’m up to 6,000 now). Beyond straight racing online you can share and post your ghost data. You get to see a top racers in your region, your friends, and the whole world. It’s pretty fun to get the fastest ghost and race it. Even if you lose you can get some tips on who they use and how they move through out the course.
I know I missed a bunch, I’ll probably add to this as I think of things, but feel free to ask questions. I really think Nintendo nailed this version of Mario Kart. They took what worked and ran with it. Only complaints were that at times it felt that your kart could be quicker, even at 150cc it seemed sort of slow paced. The other would be the rendering of the characters, I think a little more detail would have really made this game unbeatable. I’m going out on a limb now and say this is the best Mario Kart to date. Buy this game.