Mario Kart Wii Review

“I feel like this game is the only thing we’ve sold today.”

That’s what the sales guy at Game Stop said to me on Sunday afternoon. Sunday, mind you, was more than two weeks after the game’s release date. So yeah, Nintendo is again selling huge with another first party title.

But is Mario Kart Wii any good, or is it living off the success of its predecessors?

The great news — this game is just as easy to pick up and play as ever. Nintendo didn’t lose sight of the fact that the biggest asset this game has is that accessibility.

It’s just as much fun for Mrs. Sportsdork and I to play when we have some friends over as it was to play while downing Bud Lights in the dorm years ago.

Mario Kart Wii

The wheel only takes a race or two to master. It responds wonderfully to you, and the important buttons fall right into place as you grasp the wheel. Oh, and when you show it to anyone who hasn’t seen it you always get a cool reaction.

And that, of course, is the beauty of this for Nintendo. Gamer or not, everyone wants to give Mario Kart Wii a try as soon as they see that wheel. That’s what is making the execs at Sony and Microsoft so mad, and that’s what this new term “casual gaming” is all about.

There are some other things that are nicely done. The new tracks are exciting, rich in detail, and an absolute blast to race on. The older, “remastered” tracks don’t compare.

The online interface is easy to understand as well. You can play your Mii friends, random regional opponents, or choose to go global. Online play has been reliable and it certainly adds to the replayability.

Some things weren’t done so well. As I said before, the older tracks you are used to are pretty boring now. I’m also don’t really understand what the new characters (baby Princess?) bring to the table other than the vital 10 year old female demographic. Then again, I’m almost 30 and reviewing a video game in my free time, so I’m not in a position to nitpick on this particular detail.

The game itself, under no circumstances, has enough single person playability to give me the urge to sit down alone (the series never really has). That’s pretty much the story of the Wii, with a few exceptions (Metroid Prime, Mario Galaxy, Twilight Princess).

But in conclusion, if you take the game for what it is — an easy-to-play multiplayer party game — there isn’t anything better. That’s what I’ve always loved about the series, and Nintendo hasn’t screwed it up at all. If $60 for that kind of game doesn’t appeal to you, you probably don’t have a Wii anyway.

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