Mario Kart Wii (Wii, 2008)
I played a lot of Mario Kart Wii when it first came out on the Wii in 2008. This was the first home console version of Mario Kart in 5 years and it really delivered on every level. From the online play and tournaments to the tracks to the addition of bikes, this game really pulled everything together in one nice package.
The big addition here was the emphasis on doing tricks to gain mini-turbos which hadn’t been seen before. This complemented the drifting well and made Mario Kart Wii more strategic than the rest. There are plenty of jumps to do tricks off of and if you miss one, it could be the difference between winning and losing.
This game was notable for having many different ways of controlling your character due to the diversity of Wii controllers available. You were able to use a Gamecube controller (on Wii’s that supported it), the Wiimote, Wiimote and Nunchuck, Wii Classic Controller, or the Wii Wheel. I don’t know if there’s any other game in history that could be controlled that many different ways.
Mario Kart Wii introduced new ways to play that have made the series what it is today. They finally brought in true online multiplayer with support for up to 12 players in a single race. This was huge and I personally spent many nights playing this game in the years after it released. It added a level of competition that you never had in your living room before.
In addition to tournament mode, players could now race against ghosts from players around the world. These were actual game records that would allow you to see just how good of a racer you actually are.
Battle Mode remained relatively the same from the DS version, but added Coin Runners instead of Shine Runners with players grabbing coins rather than sprites.
- Grand Prix (1 Player)
- Time Trial (1 Player)
- Vs. (1-4 Players, Up to 12 Online)
- Battle (1-4 Players, Up to 12 Online)
- Ghost Race (1 Player, Online)
- Tournament (1 Player, Online)
There are 24 characters included in the game making up the biggest character roster in the series at the time. There are also 2 versions of your Mii that you can use.
|Mii – outfit A||(Medium)|
|Rosalina – with Luma||(Large)|
|Mushroom Cup||Flower Cup||Star Cup||Special Cup|
|Luigi Circuit||Mario Circuit||Daisy Circuit||Dry Dry Ruins|
|Moo Moo Meadows||Coconut Mall||Koopa Cape||Moonview Highway|
|Mushroom Gorge||DK Summit||Maple Treeway||Bowser’s Castle|
|Toad’s Factory||Wario’s Gold Mine||Grumble Volcano||Rainbow Road|
|Shell Cup||Banana Cup||Leaf Cup||Lightning Cup|
|GCN Peach Beach||N64 Sherbet Land||DS Desert Hills||SNES Mario Circuit 3|
|DS Yoshi Falls||GBA Shy Guy Beach||GBA Bowser Castle 3||DS Peach Gardens|
|SNES Ghost Valley 2||DS Delfino Square||N64 DK’s Jungle Parkway||GCN DK Mountain|
|N64 Mario Raceway||GCN Waluigi Stadium||GCN Mario Circuit||N64 Bowser’s Castle|
There are two ways to play Battle (Balloon Battle and Coin Runners), and there are 10 stages to battle on. 5 are new stages, and the other 5 are retro stages.
|Wii Stages||Retro Stages|
|Block Plaza||SNES Battle Course 4|
|Delfino Pier||GBA Battle Course 3|
|Funky Stadium||N64 Skyscraper|
|Chain Chomp Wheel||GCN Cookie Land|
|Thwomp Desert||DS Twilight House|
For the first time in the series, Mario Kart Wii included bikes in addition to karts. The addition of bikes added a whole new element to the game. They became my go-to vehicle to use when playing as I enjoyed the extra maneuverability.
Three new items make their debut in Mario Kart Wii. The Mega Mushroom allows you to squash other racers as you become a mega size version of your characters. The Pow Block spins out every racer ahead of your racer and causes them to drop their items. The Thunder Cloud makes you drive faster until it eventually shrinks you as the lightning strikes. To avoid this, you can transfer it to someone else by bumping into them.
|Mega Mushroom (New)|
|Fake Item Box|
|Triple Green Shells|
|Triple Red Shells|
|Thunder Cloud (New)|
|POW Block (New)|
I loved Mario Kart Wii. I still consider it the best game in the series despite the fact that it’s no longer playable online due to Nintendo’s Wi-Fi Connection shutting down in 2014.
On to the latest handheld Mario Kart title, Mario Kart 7!