Archive for May, 2014

Wii U review: Mario Kart 8

May 30, 2014


All revved up

I’ve played way, way too much Mario Kart this month. It’s easily my favorite videogame series of all time, and I was so amped about Mario Kart 8 that I played every single Mario Kart game multiple times over. I made myself a tiny bit sick of the series, honestly.

But Mario Kart 8’s here, and I really want to talk with you about it. Nintendo’s changed a lot with this most recent entry — there are larger, immediate changes, like the addition of antigravity, but there are also a lot of smaller systems changes and tweaking going on.

Because there’s so much going on, I’d like to make this review of Mario Kart 8 a little more in-depth than usual. Let’s-a get going.



Mario Kart’s all-time best (and worst!) racetracks

May 29, 2014


Celebrating 20+ years of go-kart coursework

There ain’t nothin’ like a Mario Kart track. Over the years they’ve gotten wilder and wilder, from Super Mario Kart’s modest “real kart racing with a twist” to Mario Kart 7’s manic, setpiece-laden jaunts through the air and underwater. And now with Mario Kart 8, Nintendo plans to turn those courses upside-down with antigravity sections that’ll see karts racing on the walls and ceiling.

Just before Mario Kart 8’s May 30th release, I’d like to run down my own personal list of the best and worst tracks in the series’ history. I’ve chosen to break things down by game — I want this list to represent the entire series, after all, and not just my own favorite Mario Kart games. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope these are some of your favorites, too. Here we go, starting with the most recent game and working our way back:


There will be waaah

May 8, 2014


Nintendo brings Mario Kart 8′s roster up to thirty racers with the inclusion of Baby Rosalina and Pink Gold Peach:

Hopefully they don’t continue down this endless spiral of creating metal and baby versions of every character. I have one question for you, Nintendo: where my Dry Bones at?

Which new or returning characters would you like to see in the next Mario Kart?

So Mario Kart 8’s soundtrack is totally incredible

May 3, 2014


Nintendo always does a great job with its Mario Kart soundtracks, but they’ve seemingly outdone themselves with Mario Kart 8.

Listen to that crazy bass and jazzy everything in Mario Kart 8’s main theme, plus the beautifully pastoral violin on the remixed Moo Moo Meadows theme. The orchestration here is more energetic, more lively, more like actual music rather than canned videogame compositions.

Here’s the entire song list, courtesy of NeoGAF user Neoxon and the folks at My Nintendo News.

Mario Kart 8 races onto shelves May 30th. Keep following Catstronaut Loves Games for more Mario Kart coverage as the month goes on!

A tribute to Battle Mode, with concern for its future

May 1, 2014


Super Mario Kart’s Battle Mode featured 3D multiplayer battle arenas, varied weapon types, precision movement, and x-axis aim a full year before Doom hit the PC scene. Even as a simple side mode, Mario Kart’s battles helped codify competitive 3D gaming as we know it.

But that historical garbage doesn’t define Mario Kart. Mario Kart is primal as hell; there’s the constant feeling that something’s about to come unglued, that all of a sudden the game will stop being fun by virtue of it ceasing to be fair. That unbridled craziness is what makes the series so damned fun — and unique — in the first place. And Battle Mode is Mario Kart at its most primal: four karts enter and one kart leaves in videogaming’s ultimate versus showdown.