There are few Nintendo games that excite me quite like Mario Kart. These days, it's not often you get the opportunity to sit down with three friends and play a fun local multiplayer game, which as I've rediscovered lately with Super Mario 3D World, is still one of the funnest experiences in gaming. As Mario Kart 8 approaches this upcoming May, it's time to review what we know about the game, and the features we'd like to see incorporated. Read on!
Mario Kart 8 will see the return of a full 12 player roster, with online and local multiplayer available. It features elements from past Mario Kart games such as the motorbikes introduced in Mario Kart Wii and the hang gliders and underwater vehicles from Mario Kart 7. Coins, an addition from the Super Mario Kart era that was also present in Mario Kart 7, will also be coming back, allowing racers to once again unlock mechanical parts and create their custom kart. New to the series is anti-gravity, sending Mario and the crew up walls and ceilings. Miiverse integration will also allow players to upload clips of their races through a service called Mario Kart TV.
What we already know about MK8 is exciting enough, but as a long time fan, I also have a few things I'd like to see added to the game. For instance:
Choose Your Power-Up
Some might argue that the inability to carry more than one power-up at a time is part of Mario Kart's identity and part of what makes it so fun. But what if you could save ALL your powerups instead of losing them when you choose a new one, then cycle through them on the Wii U GamePad, a la Super Mario 3D World? Or what if the player could use the stylus to tap on the box as it rotates through power-ups, so they can attempt to get the one they want? That could be enormously fun and a nice refresher on the classic MK formula. One rule though: NO BLUE SHELLS.
Bring On The SMG
Since gravity is going to be a major theme in this one, I'd like to see some Super Mario Galaxy throw backs. Sure, Mario Kart almost always includes references to other games within the Mario universe, but I specifically want to see Super Mario Galaxy world elements interplaying with gravity. It's among the most beautiful and creative Mario games ever made.
Moar Customization Please
In Mario Kart 7, you could custom build your own vehicle from mechanical parts, a great addition but a slightly incomplete one. What about skins and decals? There might be extra incentive on getting first place on all tracks if decorative pieces could also be won. Or how about a track editor mode so you can design your own tracks and customize existing ones? This could especially be fun if the tracks or vehicles could be shared via the Miiverse.
More Environment Interaction, Inter-Player Sabotage
With the Wii U GamePad, it'd be nice to see some player interaction with the courses' environmental elements, especially to sabotage other players. What if you could use your stylus to trigger an avalanche, or loosen a coconut from a palm tree?
While elements of weather have somewhat existed in previous installations of Mario Kart, they need some environmental effects shake up the courses: heavy rain with slick puddles, crashing waves, gusts of kart-rattling snow, blinding sand storms.
Interactive Course Map On The Wii U Pad
Imagine if when you paused the game, the Wii U GamePad would bring up a 3D interactive map that you could examine and rotate with the stylus, with named checkpoints and hazard warnings. What if you could check the racing stats and rankings mid-race from the same screen? In general, I really want to see what they can do with the Wii U GamePad. The mic could be used to enhance the environment, like blowing on windmills to open paths or on hang gliders to boost their speed, for instance. Sure, any major features would only be fair to use in a two player race (as the Wii U only can support two Wii U GamePads) but I'd buy another Wii U GamePad just for the opportunity to use 'em. Provided that Nintendo ever sells the Wii U GamePad separately at some point, which I don't think they'll ever do. But still, a girl can dream can't she?
Our imaginations may not be as amazing as Nintendo folks' but I think these would put a fresh face on a well established IP, now in its 11th iteration. What would YOU like to see in Mario Kart 8 when it debuts this upcoming May?