Mario Kart 8 Review Roundup

The latest entry in Nintendo's beloved racing series is out now; find out what the critics are saying.

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Mario Kart 8 is out today, but how did the latest entry in Nintendo's beloved kart racing series fare with critics? We've rounded up a sampling of reviews from GameSpot and other sources to give you an idea about what to expect.

Reviews have been out for over a week, and the game is currently sitting pretty with an 89 on GameSpot sister site Metacritic.

Shacknews -- 8/10

"Although Mario Kart is on its eighth game across 22 years and eight consoles, this entry doesn't feel like it’s content to retread old ground. Instead, it shows how Nintendo can put its experience, even with some dips in quality, to use making a standout game. With the addition of new visual capabilities, stellar track design, and a continued slow march toward modern online functionality, this is the best the series has been since the GameCube era. If Mario Kart 8 is showing its age, it's a spry octogenarian if I ever saw one." [Full review]

GameSpot -- 8/10

"Nintendo has done an admirable job of keeping Mario Kart relevant. How many franchises can you think of that have remained in top form for more than two decades? Not too many. I do admit that my first impression of Mario Kart 8 was pretty close to a yawn. Mario Kart is one of my favorite franchises, but it's hard to get excited for the same old thing. But the more I played, the more I appreciated the many small changes, and grew to love my time in the Mushroom Kingdom. And now that yawn has changed to a shout of joy. It's more Mario Kart! I'm happy Nintendo still understands what makes this series so darn fun." [Full review]

GameTrailers -- 8.6/10

"Not everything is perfect, but Mario Kart 8's stellar visuals, tight controls, and improved online experience make it a great racing game that embraces Nintendo's lighthearted nature. It’s still one of the best in the business when it comes to multiplayer experiences, something we've all come to expect from the Mario Kart series. The overall high quality of the game is so impressive that it doesn't really matter that much that the zero-gravity gimmick barely adds anything that's truly new. Next time around, though, Nintendo might need to come up with new tricks if it hopes to keep us coming back for more." [Full review]

IGN -- 9/10

"Mario Kart 8 is the best kart racing game Nintendo has made in a long time. It strikes a careful balance between refining old ideas while introducing fresh new ones. Admittedly, its gorgeous graphics and jazzy orchestrated soundtrack bolster its presentation, but you're getting a lot more than just looks with this one-- although I spent an awful lot of time gawking at the details in slow-motion, the fast and furious pace of racing with friends both locally and online is what really kept me coming back." [Full review]

Polygon -- 9/10

"It doesn't bring massive innovations to the formula, but it's overflowing in that Nintendo magic that makes it so easy to forget about minor shortcomings. Its gorgeous looks and tightly developed sense of speed ensured that I was never left unhappy after a race, even when I blew it and came in near the end. What more could I ask for than a game that keeps me smiling even when I lose?" [Full review]

USA Today -- 4/4

"There's a reason millions of video game players have invested in Mario Kart. It's a satisfying social racing game, highly enjoyable regardless whether you play solo or with friends." [Full review]

Eurogamer -- 10/10

"Video game players are familiar with the law of diminishing returns. Even as new entries in a series tirelessly improve upon their predecessors, our interest nevertheless wanes; with games, improved is somehow less exciting than new. Mario Kart 8 is a rare thing, then: the best entry in a series and the most exciting yet." [Full review]

Destructoid -- 9/10

"Mario Kart 8 is my favorite series entry since Double Dash, and if it gets arena battle tracks at some point by way of DLC, it will be a near-perfect package. Its vibrant visuals will hold up for years to come, ensuring that the game will withstand the test of time, and it will be a staple in my household for a long, long while." [Full review]

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Discussion

284 comments
bunchanumbers
bunchanumbers

GOTY? Probably not. But its a excellent game. And I recommend it for anyone who likes a fun game. 

baral-o
baral-o

MK looks good but i will still wait for project zero (fatal frame in us) and monolith's x (if it's not an online game) Project Zero 2,  xenoblade and pandoras tower on wii where some of my favorite games last gen and will be a solid reason to buy a wii u right away, I really need some games with story, but when I buy one I will definitely buy MK 

jl9537
jl9537

I still wish they would add a cup to the 1 player grand prix where each of the 4 races are random, just to mix it up. That would be interesting.

richardclark19
richardclark19

"Simpler Is Better" Mario Kart 8 Is a Magnificent example of that.

JoInfo
JoInfo

I like how he didn't put the Gamespot score first.

wEEman33
wEEman33

I'd give this game a 7.5 at best.


-- Battle mode stinks. 

-- The baby characters and metal characters are dumb.

-- About half of the koopalings are interesting. The rest are meh.

-- The weapon spam is still ridiculous when you're in first place.

-- The track lengths feel too short.

-- The track space is really wide.

-- The anti-gravity stuff is more disorienting than it is fun.

-- 2-player split-screen is limited to vertical mode only.

-- After 8 Mario Karts, there's still no single player content besides Grand Prix and Time Trials.


I guess people are just easily impressed by the game's graphics and sound, which are admittedly great.


NagaSadow
NagaSadow

I went to a bunch of stores yesterday to pick it up. They where all sold out. I guess i finally see the point of preordering games. Thankfully new stock will arrive in a few days. Oh well XD

xolivierx
xolivierx

I just beat the game on 50cc...I was thinking this game would give me a reason to keep my wiiU, but it doesn't. The game is good, but it's not great. Graphics are amazing, but could be much better. A fine example is the Rainbow Race ; I felt as if it's very focused on the track, unlike Mario Kart 64 where you could stare at the ''universe''. Not to mention this track is supposed to be loooooooong, but in this game it's short.


They did go back to the original roots, but I have mixed feelings. So far the only items I'm receiving are coins, while others throw shells, fire, squids at me.


I will be selling my wiiu in the next month. Goodluck Nintendo.

xolivierx
xolivierx

I got a sweet sexy creature, my  babe , laying on my bed

that's right, a fresh out of the store, brand new copy of Mario Kart 8

Vodoo
Vodoo

Eurogamer a 10/10?!! Guess we know they're a reputable bunch. Oh... They're European, that explains it.

bizuit
bizuit

I will be purchasing the WII U Mario Kart bundle tonight, hope I'm not making a mistake as I haven't bought a Nintendo console since the Gamecube

pikachudude860
pikachudude860

Just got finished playing this game...Again. 


For an "Underpowered" console, the graphics are some of the best I've ever seen. Very awesome game.

xolivierx
xolivierx

@jl9537 that would be nice. incorporate the old tracks with the new ones.

xolivierx
xolivierx

@wEEman33 weapon spam? I only get coins, and single bananas. How many times did I recieve a blue shell, followed by a red shell, followed by a lightning and a squid!

gameroutlawzz
gameroutlawzz

@wEEman33 While I agree with most of your poitns it still doesnt stop me from enjoying the game online or with friends.. but yeah.. I tried Battle mode with a friend yesterday without adding any CPU and its truly horrible. I just cant believe they didnt make enclosed maps for the battle mode having it tacking place on the original tracks is plain stupid seeing how some are wayyy too vast like Yoshi valley. And I wouldve loved to see different characters than the stupid baby versions of the originals.

NagaSadow
NagaSadow

@wEEman33

Battle mode have usually sucked in all Mario Karts except Mario Kart 64. Why they cant recapture that magic is baffeling. But is seems most people are enjoying the main game, so it's still worth it i hope. Sadly i'll have to wait a few days to get it.

aroll1986
aroll1986

@NagaSadow


Exactly - Pre-ordering to me has really 1 purpose: To ensure you can get the game when you want to get it. Say you want to pick it up day one but don't want to wait for midnight releases or wake up at the crack of dawn to get to the store right away - with a pre-order your copy is ensured to be there.

I picked up my copy at 1pm at gamestop. Now, they, they still had 22 copies of the game left, and there were about 40 copies in the drawer left for pre-order folks, but the guy told me they started with a shipment of 300 copies. So, between pre-order pickups and in-store buys, they are low, and I wouldn't be surprise if they are sold out as of today.

All the MK8 Wii U bundles were sold out. Say what people will about the price point, but it didn't stop them from selling here. They only had 6 consoles, and they were gone within an hour of the store opening. Same was true at Walmart, though they sold out at 2am.

Not that MK8 will be hard to find for long. It is going to get regular shipments and reality is, the Wii U base is still small enough to make the game widely available after a week.

It was refreshing to me though. Normally when I go in looking at Wii U games, I am told I am the only person they've had look at them all week, but when I went to pick up MK8 the guy was like "no surprise, as literally every customer who came in today except one was getting MK8. They were really shocked at how many customers came in for it - and we're talking non-preorders. For a Wii U game it was pre-ordered well, but but even then it wasn't a huge number at that store.

But the number of non-preorder folks really surprised them. I am sure MK8 will  be the best selling Wii U game with Smash bros coming close too, but the real question is: How many folks bought a Wii U to play MK8?

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

@NagaSadow

There are only 2 instances when I preorder games:


- Nintendo games that I know will sell out

- Niche Japanese games that the retails will only stock according to preorders

pyosisified
pyosisified

@xolivierx 50cc... please tell me you're kidding... That's what my baby brother plays it on

ekolite
ekolite

@Vodoo The Europeans do have a naive upper class sprinkled on their humor I find funny.

padako
padako

@observer98 well, it is the release day so it seems appropriate for a review round up. useful for consumers considering a purchase today.

ekolite
ekolite

@bizuit Man I think Wii U is even better than the Wii and also Gamecube.  Most of it's titles are worth a play through at least.  Even most of their eShop games as well.

gameroutlawzz
gameroutlawzz

@bizuit I was just like you and went with the Wii U on last Black Friday. Has been my main gaming platform ever since. It FEELS just like the good old game cube. Underrated platform with beautiful,fun and unique games. Now Id love to see a REmake and Rogue Squadron sequel on it but thats probably just dreaming. Also the community interactions on Miiverse with other players who have the same games as you SHlTS on wtv the F xbox/PS ever came up with.

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

@bizuit take advantage of the Wii U and go back and play some of the Wii games. It had quite a few gems. 

Mario Kart Wii was not one of those...

darren2little
darren2little

@bizuit your mistake is not buying a nintendo since gamecube. Man have you missed out.

wEEman33
wEEman33

@pikachudude860 Take off your sunglasses, and then you might notice the frame stuttering and severe lack of anti-aliasing.

Dissentioncc
Dissentioncc

If these are some of the best graphics you've ever seen, you might want to get your eyes checked, remove the Nintendo goggles, or broaden your gaming horizons. These wouldn't even be some of the best a decade ago.

ekolite
ekolite

@xolivierx @Defender1978 It has multiple bananas it gives you up to three at one time.  I hated the fake item box myself, but to each their own.

ekolite
ekolite

@xolivierx @jl9537 That is a good idea.  There is a random feature in online mode.  Maybe in an update?

trugs26
trugs26

@NagaSadow @wEEman33 Maybe it's because you played battle mode as a child? It might be worth seeing if kids enjoyed battle mode in every MK game. Personally, I never liked Battle Mode in any Mario Kart game.

xolivierx
xolivierx

@NagaSadow @xolivierx why would it be a joke? I beat it at 50cc, then I beat it at 100cc, and next step is 150cc. If you can't understand the concept, maybe you should acquire a proper education

ekolite
ekolite

@wEEman33 @pikachudude860 I wear my sunglasses only when I play MK 8.  I take them off when I play only when I want to go to eye candy heaven.

Latiran
Latiran

@Dissentioncc This is the stupidest comment i have ever seen in the 5+ years i have been coming here.

pikachudude860
pikachudude860

@Dissentioncc  I've seen/played GTA 4 and 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, NBA, Fifa, Forza, COD Ghost, Battlefield, Infamous, Titanfall and more. 

Almost all of those games look the same...The characters and models at least. 


IMO, this game still looks better. The characters and environments are very bright, very colorful and very detailed. It's a beautiful game.


Just because their graphics are more realistic doesn't necessarily mean their better.

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

@Dissentioncc


First: "These wouldn't even be some of the best a decade ago," no it would have been ****ing amazing a decade ago... 


Second: Many people are talking about the visuals(this includes artstyle ect.) when talking about graphics so it is heavily opinion based. Now if we want to get technical of course these aren't the best, no console even holds a candle to a mid to high end PC this generation... But art style can make up a lot for what it lacks.

el_marto2003
el_marto2003

@Dissentioncc a decade ago? so what you're saying is that the PS2 (which was inferior than the gamecube and xbox graphicwise) has better visuals than the Wii U. You should take off your anti-nintendo goggles then.

xolivierx
xolivierx

@ekolite oh I didn't know, I didn't get the item yet. I get coins 90% of time.

xolivierx
xolivierx

@ekolite @xolivierx @jl9537 that would be terrific. Some might disagree, but it would have been fun to have the old classic SNES and 64 tracks, with the original graphics, but actual character models. Or even better, include the original SNES game as an unlock. This is a polished game, something ultra rare nowadays. 

dani3po
dani3po

@pikachudude860 It has nothing to do with realism, but Mario Kart 8 is 720p, models have very low polygon count and it doesn´t have any form of anti-aliasing. You can say what you want about the artistic side, but technically are obsolete.

ekolite
ekolite

@xolivierx @ekolite @jl9537 Once you get the hang of it, it is just mayhem in online and sometimes 150cc and you just have to go with it.  Challenging, while requiring some patience and even fun when you die too.

xolivierx
xolivierx

@ekolite @xolivierx @NagaSadow I did notice the AI tends to be a bit more aggressive at 100cc. I only wish I had friends who had time to play a game of Mario Kart with me hehe.