I admit, when I saw the trailer for Mario Kart 8, I was wholly unimpressed. Mario Kart Wii had perfected Nintendo's Kart racing formula, and Mario Kart 7's "additions" were nothing truly fresh. For a kart racer that was aging so quickly, Mario Kart 8 didn't seem to be anything special. Until I got my hands on the E3 demo, that is.
Mario Kart 8 is certainly a familiar idea: Mario and friends unite to have a friendly competition and plow through various race tracks based on Mario locales in a tournament for undying glory. Players glide along the tracks, drifting, boosting, and shelling their way to victory. This time, however, tracks have certain sections where racers defy gravity by turning upside down or racing on the walls. Mario Kart 8 also includes coins, a feature long absent from the Mario Kart series and reintroduced in Mario Kart 7. For those unaware, every coin collected speeds up the racers, but the limit unfortunately remains ten coins at a time, placing a sad cap on the game’s speed.
The one reason I truly see Mario Kart 8 as an impressive game, however, is that the track design is unique and inspired. Head past the jump to see why Mario Kart 8 could be exactly what the series needs.