The next entry in what’s quite possibly the most beloved racing franchise of all time is coming soon, and Mario Kart 8 promises to be every bit as fun as its predecessors. But what can we glean about the game from its latest trailers… and what else do we know?
1. New Items
First off, there seems to be a whole bunch of new items featured in the game itself. Notice that Mario, at one point, flings a boomerang that blows through the crowd and then snaps back to hit Luigi in the nose, sibling rivalry-style. A Piranha Plant also appears and seems to be a protective item that keeps players from ramming you off the road… not to mention a nod to Super Mario 3D World. And there’s also a coin-doubling powerup if you need that.
2. New Characters
Obviously, the more the merrier in the Mario Kart universe, and one of the most prominent additions are the Koopalings, the children of Bowser we haven’t seen much of since Super Mario Bros. 3. This is possibly because Mario… er… killed them all, according to official Nintendo lore. But then again, Bowser is also supposed to be kidnapping Peach every time he sees her, for reasons that are, at best, disturbingly vague, so we’re willing to allow the Koopalings their resurrection. Not, though, that anybody will be nice to them after their time away, if the trailer is any indication.
3. New-ish Tracks
A lot of the tracks in the trailer seem to come from Mario Kart 64. There’s Toad’s Turnpike, the Royal Raceway, and, of course, the Rainbow Road that we all know and kind of loathe from Mario Kart 64. There’s also the remade Moo Moo Meadows from Mario Kart Wii, and tracks from other iterations of the series, stretching all the way back to the original. It’s interesting that so many of these tracks appear to be throwbacks, albeit heavily remade ones that are likely threaded with a surprise or two.
4. New Anti-Gravity Mode
The anti-gravity mode is, arguably, one of the key selling points of the current system, but we get more of a sense of how it’ll work, this time around, and honestly, it’s pretty interesting. It seems to be used here to give new life to retro tracks, not least because it allows players new shortcuts and new ways to get around. We’ll be interested to see how deep this mode goes with the actual game.
5. Same Fun
The biggest takeaway, though, is that this game is going to be every bit as fun as the series has always been. Really, since the start of the franchise on Super Nintendo, Mario Kart has always been about having a good time with the people you know best, and that seems to be an ongoing theme.
Also, Nintendo has included item customization for each mode, so you can remove blue shells once and for all and never get clobbered unfairly ever again. Well, by a blue shell, at any rate. You’ve still got Bullet Bill to deal with.