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Mario Kart Wii First Impressions: Vroom! Vroom!

I’ve been playing Mario Kart since 1998 on the N64. I’ve played it on the Nintendo DS and at the arcades as well – I remember spending afternoons at Rockwell as they had the first arcade to showcase Mario Kart with the card system that could track and save your race records in a small piece of plastic.

And now Mario Kart is back, and on the Wii! It is still pretty much the same game with the addition of bikes, a more in-depth drifting control, stunts during jumps and best of all … online play! So the box comes with the Mario Kart disc (no firmware updates here if you’ve run SSBB) and the Wii Wheel which is by far the best looking driving wheel for the Wii, compared to the other 3rd party ones we’ve seen around the metro. The Wii Wheel is basically an aesthetic enhancement for that “driving feel.” The back of the wheel has an extended B button for pressing down (drifting) and its construction still allows you to use the Wiimote as a pointer (see photo below).

There are four modes of control options for the latest installment of Mario Kart. You can opt to use the Wii Wheel for a more natural feel of driving, or you can use the Wiimote + Nunchuck, the Classic Controller or the GameCube Controller. I have four GC controllers, two Nunchucks and four Wiimotes and each control mode has its own pros and cons, specifically when it comes to drifting techniques.

Online Play
The first thing I did after popping Kart into the Wii was to try out online play. I didn’t bother with any other mode of play and crossed my fingers given my bad experience with playing Super Smash Brothers Brawl online on PLDT myDSL. Surprisingly enough, within 3 seconds of being connected, I was able to play on a worldwide player selection without any lag!

Before I get ahead of myself, there are three options for online play: with friends, worldwide, and regional. I wanted to try the worldwide competition to see how my DSL connection could cope with the other 11 players. Nintendo has definitely polished their online services with Mario Kart. As I still get no opponents in random mode with SSBB, I can easily find 11 other competitors in Mario Kart.

Verdict
Definitely Nintendo’s strongest online title for the Wii today, Mario Kart is a polished racing game built for both the casual and competitive player. In the Philippines, the game is currently still not available in DataBlitz (as of May 9 2008 – they say it should be available middle of May) but already sells from folks in the Pinoy N forums, Toy Kingdom, Rustan’s, and Toys R’ Us. But the prices in these stores are rather jacked up at PHP 3,800.00 for the kit which includes Mario Kart + the Wii Wheel. I had a few gift cheques lying around for Rustan’s and was able to subsidize the cost of Mario Kart.

My Mario Kart ID: 1848-2386-4635

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

8 replies on “Mario Kart Wii First Impressions: Vroom! Vroom!”

I’ve heard that this is the saddest version of the Mariokart series ever, as if the developers were just pushing themselves to make the game. Haven’t played it yet though so I wouldn’t know.

Hi! I’m pinoy here in NY, USA. Trying to play with kapwa pinoy. I’m 10 years. My Mario Kart code is: 2922-3963-5295.

hi im also a pinoy who plays mario kart on line with my japanese wii. my friend code: 0302-3579-4476. add u guys already. see ya on line

By the way I also use another 2 licenses with the following friend codes: 0646-2183-1278 and 2321-0282-7608. please add also these friend codes. hope we could make a group of filipinos playing MK Wii on line

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