Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TECH - Mike Wil­cox Email mike@hy­per­ac­tiveg­


RRP: $ 89.95

( Re­viewed on Nin­tendo Wii U)

MARIO’S lat­est kart racer de­liv­ers much the same thrills this hit fran­chise has done so well for more than two decades and, for fans like my­self, that’s a re­lief.

The core game­play still cen­tres around high- speed ar­cade an­tics, in­volv­ing drift­ing per­fectly around race tracks, fir­ing as­sorted weapons at your op­po­nents, and get­ting that per­fectly timed power boost at the start­ing line.

New to the se­ries are the anti- grav­ity ar­eas on each course. Dur­ing these sec­tions, collisions with other racers are re­warded with a speed boost rather than both play­ers crash­ing and los­ing valu­able time.

While this doesn’t ex­actly rein­vent the game­play, it does make you re­think your tac­tics.

In ad­di­tion to new cast mem­bers and tracks, the game also fea­tures fun new weapons.

A boomerang serves as a short- range weapon that can hit nearby racers on both the way out and on its re­turn.

The new pi­ranha plant reaches out to at­tack racers who get too close as well as re­mov­ing haz­ards from your path. There is also the horn, which trig­gers a mini shock­wave pow­er­ful enough to pro­tect against an at­tack from the dreaded blue shell.

The race modes on of­fer are rem­i­nis­cent of past games.

Work­ing through the main Grand Prix mode grad­u­ally un­locks all 16 new and 16 re­turn­ing tracks. You can try to beat your own and your friends’ fastest laps in the Time Trial mode, and rac­ing friends both lo­cally and on­line re­mains one of the game’s stead­fast fea­tures.

Where Nin­tendo has stum­bled is with the shake- up of the pop­u­lar Bat­tle mode.

In­stead of try­ing to pop bal­loons on op­po­nents’ karts in a spe­cially de­signed arena, the ac­tion has been moved to reg­u­lar race tracks, where each round in­evitably turns to a frus­trat­ing hunt for the last racer stand­ing.

Like so many long- run­ning video game fran­chises, Mario Kart 8 in­tro­duces lit­tle in the way of knockout new fea­tures or in­no­va­tion, yet it is wel­come ad­di­tion to the se­ries, a must play for Wii U own­ers, and eas­ily the best- look­ing in­stal­ment to date.

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