Mario Kart 8 and its collection of Nintendo-video-game-inspired racers will soon be the featured “boy’s toys” in the McDonald’s Happy Meal. The toys, which feature Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Toad, Yoshi, Donkey Kong and Bowser, are all molded onto their vehicles taken directly from the hot new Wii U game. There is also an eighth toy which is an actual child-sized Mario visor that can be worn while playing with the new toys.
Mario, Toad and Donkey Kong are all racing in their classic race-car inspired karts, while Princess Peach and Yoshi are riding motorbikes first introduced in Mario Kart Wii. Luigi and Bowser are riding in classic karts. The new game play mechanic of magnetic hovering, which turns the wheels on the character’s vehicles horizontal and allows them to race on walls and ceilings, is also represented in four of the toys.
The Mario Kart 8 promotion is set to begin once the current promotion for How to Train Your Dragon 2 ends at the end of June. It will be partnered with Ty’s Teenie Beenie Boos, which is aimed more for girls. Offering different toy sets based on sex is a practice that McDonalds has done for years.
The Mario Kart 8 racers will each have the McDonalds McPlay Power abilities, which allows children–or lets face it, everyone–to activate special features via the Happy Meal Android and iOS app.
Mario Kart 8 has single handedly revived the struggling Wii U Nintendo game console, and the popularity of the game series, which began in 1992 on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, has never been stronger. The game mixes tense kart racing on themed tracks taken from the world of Mario and his friends with the fun competition of battle with weaponized power ups like red, green and the dreaded blue shells, speed up mushrooms, and even bombs and chomps. The last four versions of Mario Kart have featured multiplayer online play, allowing racers worldwide to compete against each other.
Mario Kart is the second Nintendo-themed toy promotion in 2014 following the popular Pokemon X and Y toys from earlier this spring. Mario is no stranger to fast food promotions having participated in previous promotions for Wendy’s, Taco Bell and Burger King.
If you find the usual Happy Meal box does not suit your dietary needs, you can purchase the toys separately from the Happy Meal for a $1 or slightly more, plus tax. Check your local McDonalds for their policy on purchasing the toys separately.