Usually Nintendo announces their Nintendo Direct presentations in advance, but they surprised us with a Mario Kart 8 Direct that released today. For the entire presentation, you can watch it here:
It wasn’t your typical Nintendo Direct style presentation, so keep that in mind. In addition, Nintendo also released a video that announced their plans for E3, including some exciting news about Super Smash Bros. and for people that want to play Smash Bros. but can’t make it to E3 in Los Angeles.
Stay tuned to Cheat Masters for everything E3 starting June 9th. But in the meantime, let’s go over all the juicy new details we gathered from Nintendo’s newest Nintendo Direct about Mario Kart 8!
The main gameplay hook of Mario Kart 8 is the anti-gravity mechanic. I’ve already talked about this in detail numerous times, so I am just going to gloss over it here, but I will also mention some new information that was revealed regarding anti-gravity.
The tracks are designed so that virtually all of them feature anti-gravity. In fact, the tracks often feature underwater, air, and anti-gravity racing all rolled into one. So this mechanic will be featured quite prominently in the game.
Anti-gravity has other applications as well. When tires are in the anti-gravity position, players can run into other racers or objects on the track to get a boost. This is called a “spin boost”, as it spins the racer and then gives them a burst of speed.
Mario Kart 8 features the most customization in the series to date. Players can mix and match a variety of different kart parts to create their ideal kart. Spotted in the Nintendo Direct were various parts that were stylized after objects and characters from the Super Mario Bros. franchise, as well as some based on other Nintendo properties. For example, one of the kart bodies was a submarine from Steel Diver.
Besides karts, players will also have access to bikes and ATVs in Mario Kart 8.
In the past, karts and bikes were not very well balanced, with bikes almost always being much faster than karts. Mario Kart 8 is looking to bring more balance to bikes and karts, and whichever one is faster will depend on the style of track.
Mario Kart 8 features 30 different racers to play as, including the ability to play as your Mii character. The seven Koopalings have been confirmed as playable, with Larry, Roy, Iggy, Lemmy, Morton, Wendy, and Ludwig all confirmed for Mario Kart 8.
Other new racers were announced as well. Baby Rosalina will be joining the roster, and so will a metallic version of Peach called Pink Gold Peach.
New items are also being added to the game in Mario Kart 8. The Boomerang Flower has been added, and its function is self-explanatory. The Boomerang Flower can be used for a total of up to three times in a row.
The Piranha Plant can be carried around in front of the player’s vehicle and used to automatically take snaps at the other racers on the track that are nearby. The Piranha Plant can also be used to get rid of hazards on the track, such as banana peels.
The Crazy Eight looks like one of the most entertaining of the new items. This item will give players eight randomly selected items to play with at a single time.
And finally, there’s the Super Horn. This item was designed mainly to counteract the effects of the dreaded Blue Shell. The Super Horn creates a shockwave attack that can damage nearby racers, but it can also destroy incoming projectiles…including the Blue Shell.
Mario Kart Online
Ever since Mario Kart DS, online multiplayer has been an important factor for the Mario Kart franchise. Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U has the most potential for online features in the franchise to date with the improved online functionality that Wii U brings to the table when compared to its predecessor.
Mario Kart 8 will support up to 12 players racing against each other online. The online will be separated out into four distinct modes. Players can play with others Worldwide, in their Region, or against people that are on their Friends list. In addition, there’s also a Tournaments mode where players can create and host their own Mario Kart 8 online tournaments.
Another function of Mario Kart 8′s online offerings is the ability to download ghost data of other players. Ghost data can be downloaded from anyone that chooses to upload it, and then players can race against the ghost data of others. Stamps will be rewarded to players that are able to defeat the ghost data of the Mario Kart 8 developers.
Another new online feature in Mario Kart 8 is Mario Kart TV, which has previously only been talked about in passing by Nintendo. Mario Kart TV is possibly the most exciting new online feature for the series.
Mario Kart TV will record your racing highlights and allows you to view them over and over again, allowing you to rewind them, put them in slow motion, etc. These highlight reels can then be uploaded to Mario Kart TV online so others can download and watch your videos. Alternatively, the highlight reels can be uploaded directly to YouTube as well.
The most popular highlight reels will constantly be displayed, based on video views. Players will be able to comment on videos using Miiverse. Speaking of communicating with others online, Mario Kart 8 will support both text and voice chat in the racing lobbies before a race.
Want a free game?
Nintendo sincerely wants to turn around the Wii U’s early misfortunes, and understandably so. They hope to do this with Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros., and they are being very aggressive with getting Mario Kart 8 in the hands of players around the world.
First of all, a new Wii U Mario Kart 8 bundle has been announced. This bundle will cost $329.99, and it will include a Deluxe edition Wii U system, as well as a copy of the game, a red Wii remote, and a red Wii remote racing wheel.
Not only that, but those that buy the game between its launch date of May 30th and July 31st and register it with Club Nintendo will get a download code for a free Wii U digital game of their choosing. The four free possible games are as follows:
New Super Mario Bros. U
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
Wii Party U
Mario Kart 8 will be available worldwide on May 30th, and it is releasing simultaneously to stores and digitally on the Nintendo eShop. The game will cost $59.99.
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Mario Kart 8 has me very excited. As a Wii U owner that hasn’t really spent all that much time on the system, Mario Kart 8 is the game that will definitely get me to use the console more. The free game promotion is a great move by Nintendo, and the new Mario Kart 8 Wii U bundle will hopefully push some units as well.