Mario Kart Wii

Micah Kolding

Nintendo Editor

It's only fair that I give you warning right up front: any time spent reading a review of Mario Kart Wii would be better spent playing Mario Kart Wii.

Yes, in the grand tradition of Mario Kart, Nintendo's iconic little plumber once again provides us with the only racing game we ever need.  When you can hurtle yourself through the cartoon landscapes of the Mushroom Kingdom, bombarding your opponents with a comical arsenal of inane weaponry, how could one ever settle for the humdrum circuits of any other Grand Prix?  Funky Kong would never approve..

Another step up for the franchise, this game features many of the stronger aspects of past versions while at the same time bringing some new material to the table.  Religious Kart fans will be glad to see a return of the drafting feature from the DS version, a more balanced drifting system then we experienced in Double Dash, and a wide selection of "classic" races in addition to all of the colorful new ones.  The motorcycles are a great new addition, offering a new style of driving to select from, and the ability to perform "stunts" off of ramps grants us an engaging new way to milk every crucial bit of speed out of our laps.  There is also fun selection of new playable characters, which is good to have in case somebody else already selected Funky Kong..

Of course, there were also a few attributes of this game that Funky Kong and I were somewhat less pleased with.  Firstly, Mario Kart Wii made the unfortunate mistake of fixing what ain't broke in the form of its battle mode.  What was once a small and focused melee of up to four cars has been turned into a massive brouhaha between a full complement of racers, one that is frequently reduced to launching weapons in all directions and hoping you're not aiming at someone on your team (there is no option to not be on a team).  When you find yourself as one of a mob with limited capacity for actual teamwork, it's easy to feel like a worker ant picking off your share of a roast beef sandwich.  Further, while the steering wheel remote has an initial appeal to it, it proves to be a broken mechanic with frustratingly poor response and limited control.  I'm fairly sure I speak for both Funky Kong and myself when I sincerely recommend making exclusive use of the Gamecube controller.

In short, if you enjoy a good Kart game you should definitely pick up a copy of Mario's latest batch of races.  The sooner the better, if you ever hope to engage in the online matches without receiving a thorough lesson in what the back of Funky Kong's head looks like. Practice up, keep those games spinning, and I will see you in Bowser's Castle.

And don't you dare try to use Funky Kong against me

About the author:

Micah Kolding is a teacher, writer, and cartoonist from Davis, California. His sharp and satiric edge has appeared in the likes of The California Aggie and The Sacramento Book Review, as well as on stage.


copyright 2006