Mario Kart 8
Publisher/developer Nintendo (EAD) Format Wii U
It’s been a long time since the launch of a Mario Kart has truly felt like an event. Sure, MK7 was great, but its handheld exclusivity subdued the buzz around it, at least in the west. MK8 was in danger of suffering a similar fate given its host platform’s struggles, but despite Wii U’s prospects, EAD has produced a game worth shouting about.
Those gorgeous visuals mark the series’ exploration of HD for the first time – a superficial upgrade, perhaps, but one of particular note given Nintendo’s swing to luddism in recent years. And behind all that fresh paint, MK8 builds on the many excellent ideas put forward by its 3DS predecessor while taking some brave steps forward of its own, the most pronounced of which is a meaty handling model that, together with a power-up capable of destroying Spiny Shells, makes racing feel a great deal more about skill than it does luck – for the most part, at least.