Sunday, April 6, 2008

Gear Up for Mario Kart Wii

While every self-respecting Wii owner is no doubt knee-deep in Super Smash Bros. Brawl these days, it’s important to remember that another tent-pole Nintendo franchise, Mario Kart, will be making its way to the console later this month on April 27.
Mario Kart Wii promises to continue the fast-paced, balanced gameplay of previous entries in the series, this time introducing motorcycles into the fray. Like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Nintendo will allow players to use one of four controller options, including the Gamecube Controller for those not yet comfortable with using the Wii Remote with or without a nunchuk attachment. While I understand that Nintendo is trying not to alienate gamers who have yet to embrace the Wii’s motion controls, this option is somewhat ludicrous given that the Wii’s controller innovation is what attracted most people to the console in the first place.
Speaking of innovation, each copy of Mario Kart Wii comes packaged with the Wii Wheel attachment to allow for more realistic driving controls. Pop your Wii Remote into the center of the peripheral and you’ve got yourself a steering wheel. I doubt the Wii Wheel allows for the precision controls of other configurations—which is probably why Nintendo is allowing competitive players to stick with the tried-and-true Gamecube Controller—however, it could be a whole lot of fun and a great way to get non-gamers into the swing of things provided you have some extra Wii Wheels ($14.99 on Amazon) for four-player driving action. There's also online play via Nintendo Wi-Fi, but as we've already seen with Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the service is fairly hit-or-miss at the moment. Regardless, local, in-person play is still where its at.
I'll be seeing you at the races when Mario Kart Wii hits shelves later this month.