Mario Kart 8 Released: Here Are The Best New Features

The much-anticipated Mario Kart 8 hit stores yesterday, and it’s is already seeing tons of high praise. The latest installment, which is only available on the Wii U, includes 32 racetracks (16 brand new, 16 repurposed classics), 30 different drivers, and 26 vehicles to choose from. This 8th version of the game most definitely expands the Mario Kart universe, including new items and an anti-gravity feature, but doesn’t stray far from its roots.

“Ever since the launch of the original ‘Super Mario Kart’ on the Super NES more than 20 years ago, the words ‘Mario Kart’ have represented the gold standard for unpredictable and competitive racing fun,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo’s vice president of Sales & Marketing. “[‘Mario Kart 8’] doesn’t represent a great evolution from 1992’s ‘Super Mario Kart,’ but Nintendo has never been a company that tried to fix things that aren’t broken,” adds Yahoo! Finance.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of Mario Kart 8 are its stunning high definition graphics. “It’s the first iteration in the series where we feel like the game is living up to its full potential. The HD quality will likely even have PS4 and Xbox One gamers gawping,” says The Inquirer. “You’ll see sparks fly off tires as you drift around corners, the grimace on your opponent’s face as you bash them with a red shell, and even water drying on the camera lens as you reemerge from the watery depths of Dolphin Shoals.” Check out a trailer of the gameplay below!

The game also upped its difficulty in Grand Prix mode, making the computer challengers in its 150cc cup much more difficult to beat. There’s also a neat new “Mario Kart TV” feature, which highlights the best moments from each race. Players can edit, rewind, and slow down their highlight reels, and even share them on their Miiverse channel.

In addition to the classic red shells and bananas, players can also find the long-range boomerang, which can be thrown and used to attack three times, and the piranha plant, which attaches to the player’s cart and bites other players that come too close. Nintendo also brought coins back to Mario Kart, which help increase your top speed.

Mario Kart 8 retails at $59.99, but there’s also a Wii U bundle available, that includes the console, a Mario Wii Wheel, and the game for $329.99.

Image via YouTube