Tagged "Mario Kart 8"

May 28
By Matt Gander In This Week's Games 4 Comments

We can’t muster up enough enthusiasm to check, but we’re pretty sure that May isn’t usually as busy as this for new releases. Two of the biggest games of the year, plus revivals of both Worms and Lemmings? In the words of Harry Hill, “What are the chances, eh?”

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Releasing on no less than five formats, we don’t doubt for a single second that Watch_Dogs will come out on top in next week’s UK chart. That’s a no brainer, really. However, we’re very confident that Mario Kart 8 will make #2. LEGO The Hobbit aside, there hasn’t been a major Wii U retail release since Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. We could also see a few older Wii U games re-emerge in the top 40, following the predicted console sales spike. Mario Kart sells systems.

Reviews of Watch_Dogs went live on Tuesday and were mostly good – a mixture of 7s, 8s and 9s. General consensus has it that it’s not quite as ground breaking as Ubisoft has made out, but it’s still a very good game and also one that’s packed to the rafters with content.

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As for Mario Kart 8, reviews would have us believe that it’s pretty much essential, even if you own a Wii U or not. The Metacritic presently stands tall at 88% from 61 critics. The only other retail release from this year to better it on Metacritic is Dark Souls II, in fact.

Shop around and you’ll find retailers offering a few decent deals. ShopTo are giving away a free T-shirt, while GAME are bundling it with a free Wii wheel.

There’s also the limited edition to consider, which comes with a blue shell statue. Nintendo themselves have put a bundle together too – £49.99 gets you the game, a keyring and a T-shirt.

Over on PS Vita, Borderlands 2 is making a belated appearance. Despite initial promise, the conversion has apparently ended up being botched, resulting in glitches galore. IGN’s review paints a very grim picture. Oh dear.

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That aforementioned Worms game? Believe it or not, it’s actually a retail release. Worms Battlegrounds sees the spineless wigglers blasting one another to bits on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and at a budget price to boot. Expect to pay around £25-£30. Reviews so far include an 8/10 from TheSixthAxis and a 6/10 from Push Square.

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May 26
By Matt Gander In New Nintendo Downloads 2 Comments

Publishers must be anticipating an influx of new Wii U owners in time for Mario Kart 8, as it’s a slightly busier week than usual for new eShop releases. There’s a rather timely selection of decent discounts too, courtesy of both Warner Bros. and Capcom.

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Mario Kart 8 itself leads the way, due to hit the eShop on Friday. It’s the first major Wii U release since February’s Donkey Kong County: Tropical Freeze and also one of the highest scoring games of the year so far, bagging a prestigious 10/10 from Eurogamer and a lofty 96% from ONM.

It’s not all good news though – it’s a slightly steep £49.99 to download. That’s in comparison to GAME’s £39.99 asking price for an eShop code. The retail release can be found for even less – it’s currently £36.95 at The Game Collection and £35 at Tesco Direct for new customers.

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We’re hoping to live stream some karting hijinks later in the week. Maybe we’ll even get a competition going via Twitter if there’s enough interest.

Mario and company are being joined by Gravity Badgers (£4.99) and a Virtual Console release of the underappreciated The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (£6.29). What in blazes in Gravity Badgers, you ask? Why it’s a physics-based puzzler starring intergalactic honey badgers. Despite a mildly interesting premise, reviews of the PC version weren’t too positive.

As for The Minish Cap, it’s just as essential as any other Zelda before it. Well, maybe not Zelda II. The titular talking headpiece allows Link to shrink to microscopic dimensions, all the while handing out hints and cracking wise. It’s Link’s very own Kazooie, only minus the egg throwing abilities. And legs.

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May 15
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

It’s always a good sign when a publisher lifts a review embargo way before a game’s release date – Mario Kart 8 is still two weeks away, yet reviews went live today. Unsurprisingly, they’ve been glowing.

The Metacritic currently stands at 89% from 39 critics, making it one of the highest rated games of the year. Incidentally though, Metacritic’s highest rated of 2014 are a right old ragtag bunch including Fez on PS Vita, indie hit Kentucky Route Zero: Act III and Rayman Legends on Xbox One. And just to further prove how eccentric Metacritic can be, Mario Kart 8’s current 89% puts it on par with the Wii U version of Skylanders Swap Force. Eh?

Anyway, less about Metacritic’s irregularities – scores so far vary from Eurogamer’s 10/10 to Nintendo World Report’s somewhat unexpected 7.5 on the account of the Battle Mode being “miserable”. They aren’t the only ones to find Battle Mode on the poor side, with a few other critics finding it hard to like.

Let’s take a look at the full rundown:

10/10 – Eurogamer: “Mario Kart 8 is a rare thing, [then]: the best entry in a series and the most exciting yet”

96% – Official Nintendo Magazine: “Mario Kart 8 is so far beyond its competition that it’ll make you feel like you’re playing a whole new console”

9.25 – GameInformer: “Mario Kart 8 should certainly be added to the list of top-tier entries, and none of the previous titles can boast the rock-solid total package that this one offers”

9/10 – Metro GameCentral: “Mario Kart 8 is a clear sign that Nintendo has got over its next gen teething troubles and proof that they remain entirely relevant both as a console maker and a game developer”

9/10 – EDGE: “Mario Kart 8 is yet another overwhelmingly powerful argument in favour of the company’s idiosyncratic approach to design”

9/10 – Destructoid: “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”

9/10 – VideoGamer: “”here’s simply no reason not to own Mario Kart 8 if you own a Wii U”

9.0 – Polygon: “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?”

9/10 – Nintendo Life: “It’s an accomplished effort that pushes the franchise forward. In years to come the debates over the best Mario Kart games in the series will, inevitably, feature this as a contender”

9.0 – IGN: “Mario Kart 8 is the best kart racing game Nintendo has made in a long time”

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May 09
By Matt Gander In Features No Comments

Mario Kart has a lot of answer for, and we aren’t talking about how Toad manages to reach the pedals. Nope – we’re talking about how Mario Kart’s immense popularity has spawned numerous soulless clones over the years.

Many of these lifeless imitators were released not during the 16-bit heyday but rather the turn of the millennium. Arguably, this can be attributed not just the success of system-seller Mario Kart 64 but also the PSone’s Crash Team Racing. The PSone was also starting to appear to a far younger age group at the time – a perfect target for licensed trash.

With Mario Kart 8 just weeks away, we’ve rounded-up an assortment of kart racers that have faded into obscurity. Behold our collection of curious kart racers:

El Chavo Kart – PS3, 360

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Released earlier this year, El Chavo Kart is the newest game in this feature and by quite a margin. It has nothing to do with Britain’s yob culture, you’ll no doubt be pleased to learn – it’s based on a Mexican children’s cartoon, which in turn is based on a ‘70s Latin American sitcom. Somewhat disturbingly, the main character – 8-year-old orphan El Chavo – was played by a fully grown man. We guess that makes him the Mexican equivalent of The Krankies.

Due to being import-only this isn’t a game we’ve sampled for ourselves. Footage seems to suggest though that it’s actually quite polished – a nippy racer that’s certainly far more proficient than the likes of DreamWorks Super Star Kartz (ugh) and Ben 10 Galactic Racing. The few reviews out there aren’t too damning either. It does however appear to be a pretty typical kart racer, with weapons including bowling balls and old newspapers that fly into the racer’s face to block their view.

Publisher Slang released another El Chavo game prior to this – a mini-game collection on Wii and DS. It was colourful, if nothing else.

Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour – PSone, DC, GBC, PC

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Any child expecting to find the likes of Mickey, Donald and Goofy rallying around in race cars would have ended up sorely disappointed with this multi-format racer. It starred just three Disney characters – Chip & Dale and Jiminy Cricket. With such a peculiar line-up, it’s impossible not to consider it obscure.

Logic dictates that the licenses for Disney’s more renowned characters were tied up with other publishers. Mickey’s Speedway USA and Donald Duck Goin’ Quackers were released in the same year so our guess is that Nintendo and Ubisoft respectively held the rights to Mickey and Donald. Another possibility is that Eidos simply didn’t want to pay out for a full roster, hoping that it would sell on name alone.

When it came to filling the rest of character line-up, Crystal Dynamics were left to muster up their own creations. In fairness, they didn’t do a bad job – the characters they created could have very well come from a Disney production, including ‘wacky’ inventor Otto Plugnut and female pirate Polly Roger.

At least the tracks were based on Disneyland attractions. Namely Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway, The Haunted Mansion and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Licensing issues even raised problems here though – Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was sans the Aerosmith endorsement.

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Jun 11
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

If we were asked to describe the special E3 Nintendo Direct in one word, that word would be “safe”.

The itinerary read like a list of everything we expected, with very little in the way of surprises. That’s unless you count Bayonetta receiving a new haircut, anyway.

Pokemon X & Y started the pre-recorded exposé off, with the announcement of an 18th Pokemon type – fairy. Giggle all you want – this new type is super effective against dragons. The lovely looking sequel will also have some virtual pet elements that let you feed and play with your Pokemon to “form a bond” between them.

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No time was wasted introducing the promised Super Mario 3D World for Wii U. It’s a continuation of the Super Mario 3D Land series, viewed from a very similar perspective. A few people on our Twitter feed even mistook it for a new 3DS game, due to it sharing the chunky visual-style. Iwata drew a comparison with Super Mario Bros. 2 – four different characters are playable and each has their own unique skill, including Peach’s ability to float. Mario can also don a cat costume that allows him to run along walls and pounce on enemies. If Nintendo doesn’t bring back Mouser for one of the boss battles then that would be something of a missed opportunity.

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Mario Kart 8 was another title Nintendo had previously promised to show, and the Kyoto giant really delivered the goods with this one – it looks superb. Visually it’s very appealing, plus there’s a sprinkling of innovation – the karts (and bikes!) can transform into futuristic-looking vehicles that are able to drive along walls and such. Underwater and gliding sections feature too, as per Mario Kart 7. Nintendo claimed that the online modes will be far greater in number than ever before. The bad news? It’s not out until next year. This is something of a blow – if there was one game almost certain to make the Wii U fly off shelves this Christmas, it would be this.

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