What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this game is perfectly suitable for players of all ages. The ESRB warning of "comic mischief" relates to the combative nature of the arcade race, where players can shoot turtle shells at other go-karts to trip them up or when giant hammers flatten riders on their way to the finish line. The game can be played with up to 12 players online, but Common Sense Media doesn't recommend unsupervised online gaming for anyone under age 12.
What's it about?
Nintendo Wii gamers with the need for speed won't be disappointed with the much-hyped MARIO KART WII, an incredibly fun and accessible cartoon racing game for kids and kids-at-heart. As with past games in the series, players first choose a familiar Nintendo character – such as Baby Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Toad, or even your own custom-made Mii character – before hopping into a kart car or motorcycle to enter a wild race. The goal of each match is to reach the finish line through speed and cunning use of weapons such as dropping bananas on the track to slip up opponents trailing behind or turning into a rocket for a temporary speed burst.
Mario Kart Wii ships with the small Wii Wheel, which houses the wireless and motion-sensing Wii Remote (sold seperately), so you simply hold this circular controller like a steering wheel to navigate corners while the button can be used to initiate your power-up (such as a weapon). Shake the wheel while you're in the air for a special mid-air move. Players can also choose from three other controller setups, but the wheel is the most intuitive.
Is it any good?
Not only can gamers play against savvy computer-controlled opponents or with up to three others on the same television, but for the first time in the series, you can also log onto the Internet via the free Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection and engage in multiplayer games and tournaments for up to 12 players. The end result is a highly enjoyable game for both seasoned fans of the franchise and first-time players. The cartoon arcade action and the fast-paced racing combine to make for a thrilling solo diversion or head-to-head competition that's as easy to pick up as it is hard to put down.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about how the two new key features –- wireless, motion-sensing control (including the free wheel) and online multiplayer support for 12 gamers -– helps separate this sequel from the past Mario Kart games. Is this enough to move this franchise forward or is it more of the same but with a couple of extra bells and whistles? Also, is it possible for a game to live up to its tremendous hype?