Mario Kart 8
Top Critic Average
Mario Kart 8 is a sterling example of Nintendo at their best as craftsmen, a game whose attention to detail and joy is mostly unsullied by some unfortunate misunderstandings about how people communicate online.
On the other hand, Mario Kart 8 is easy to pick-up, easy to enjoy, and no matter how good you are, there will be moments that make you smile. You don't have to spend hours perfecting your driving style, and memorising complex tracks; it's almost a 'Sonic Transformed lite'.
Mario Kart 8 stands tall among the kart racing genre once again and is a must-buy game for Wii U owners.
Mario Kart 8 represents the best game currently available on the three next gen consoles, and is the best reason to get a Wii U if there ever was one.
Ultimately Nintendo have again produced the goods and delivered another system seller. Many companies long for one true example of this in a console's lifetime; Nintendo now has two within a year of each other. The driving is exquisite, the track design is wonderful and the overall presentation is marvellous. We have here perhaps the finest Mario Kart to date, aside from battle mode, and an entry into the series which whilst being so special, only serves to highlight the series' flaw more prominently. Good job then that that flaw was never seen as one anyway as that's not what Mario Kart is about. This is what Mario Kart is about - wonderful, prolonged fun.
The game's 30-character roster has its pros (all hail Metal Mario and Pink Gold Peach) and its cons (too many babies, and the Koopalings aren't all that special either), but there's enough dissimilarity in weight classes that there's always a suitable option in any versus situation.
I have to admit that this is arguably the best game on Wii U. Mario Kart 8 brings all the frustrating fun and friendly chaos that has been expected from the series, but this iteration is much more refined and well-toned. The controls feel really great, no matter what configuration you use. If there is any reason to buy a Wii U, let Mario Kart 8 be it.
Mario Kart 8 is a great example of how to keep a 20-odd year old franchise relevant. It isn't shy to give you what you've already had before with it's predictable racing fun. But conversely it also offers up so much more with this latest installment thanks to brilliant track design, item tweaking, customisation and a strong online offering to keep you coming back for more for months to come.
Naturally every Wii U owner should pick this up but old fans should also consider it because it truly is the Mario Kart that you remember.
Much like Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8 shows that nobody makes games quite like Nintendo. A master class in design that shows how tragic it is that the Wii U finds itself in such dire straits. A sure fire system seller that everyone who owns the console should buy, and if you don't, now's the perfect time to buy one.