First Impressions: Our first impressions of the newest iteration in the series.
Announced at last year's E3, Mario Kart Wii will be the sixth adaptation of the Mario themed racer and the first on the Nintendo Wii. Set for a release this April, we take a look at just how Mario Kart Wii takes advantage of the new hardware and see if come April, will we still be excited for it.
One of the key questions that came into our minds was how Mario Kart Wii was going to make use of the motion-controller Wiimote and Nintendo had just the answer ? the Wii Wheel. The Wii Wheel is just what you think it is - a steering wheel shaped peripheral that houses your Wiimote. The Wii Wheel will be packed in with Mario Kart at launch.
Controlling the racers will consist of pressing the 1 and 2 buttons to both accelerate and brake. This makes the best sense seeing as if you are planning on using the Wii Wheel those two buttons will have the best reach. Steering is done just as you would in a real car, however we are a little concerned about over-steering. We're still not sure how sensitive it is. Firing your shells and such will take place by pressing up on the directional pad to fire forward or holding down to fire behind you. For players that are not going to be using the Wii Wheel, there are other control setups at your disposal including ones for the Classic Controller, the GameCube Controller, and the Wiimote and Nunchuck.
It seems like every racer is getting motorcycles in some form or another and Mario Kart Wii is no exception. Instead of the speed demon crotch-rockets, Mario Kart Wii will be sporting dirt-bikes of destruction. From what we have seen, players will have the ability to do wheelies and such, but the bigger karts are still the kings of the track here.
Sporting 32 tracks (half of them are new additions) and eight cups (some of them vehicle restricted) this is shaping up to be the biggest Mario Kart yet. Battle mode and Mission mode make their way back into the fray to keep the fun going and hopefully will be making sure the experience does not become as stale as fast as Mario Kart 64 did.
The biggest feature that has us excited about this one is the 12 players online multiplayer. This will be the first console to use online multiplayer and unfortunately the one that requires those freakishly long friend codes. As in Mario Strikers Charged, you do have the option to join in random games without the need of codes. All the action will be centered on the Mario Kart Channel, which will be the place for players to meet, download ghost racers, and see who is king of the track. While not highly important, chatting to friends will consist only of pre-determined phrases via text chat. While this does dash our hopes of having weird NASCAR-like conversations, texting while racing probably isn't such a smart thing to do anyway.