Mario Kart Wii, one of the most anticipated Wii games of 2008, has raced into retail today. The seminal franchise, which debuted on the SNES, includes a host of Wii-specific features.
For instance, since Pole Position first raced into our Atari-owning lives, gamers have twisted and turned their controllers to steer their vehicles, even though it had no effect on the on-screen action. Mario Kart Wii actually makes those motions translate into on-screen action, as it comes packaged with the Wii Wheel steering wheel accessory that houses the Wii Remote controller and lets players steer just as though they were driving a real car. Players can also choose from three other control configurations, such as the Nunchuk and Wii Remote controllers, Nintendo GameCube controller or the Classic Controller.
Mario Kart Wii also features 16 new tracks in addition to 16 retro tracks from previous Mario Kart games. Dozens of characters from the Mushroom Kingdom are present, and each has his or her own collection of customized vehicles to race.
For the first time in the Mario Kart series, racers can compete on either motorbikes or karts as they find shortcuts, grab power-ups and take down other racers. Four people can compete on a single Wii, or up to 12 can race via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.
A new Mario Kart Channel on the Wii Menu lets players compete in tournaments, check rankings, see when their friends are playing and download ghost data.
DailyGame will have a full review of Mario Kart Wii in the days ahead, as we’re well entrenched in the game already.