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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Nerf the Blue Shell and let's go on an adventure: What I'd like to see in Mario Kart for Wii U

In their latest Nintendo Direct, the company announced the new Mario Kart game for the Wii U is scheduled to be playable at E3 this year. It sounds like the game is pretty far along, and I wouldn't be surprised if it released this holiday season, especially to combat the expected console launches from Microsoft and Sony. Nintendo has tweaked the mechanics here and there over the years to keep the franchise fresh, but the games mainly play the same. Here's what I'd like to see on the Wii U title.

More new tracks (initially)
Mario Kart typically follows a formula of Mushroom-Flower-Star-Special cups with four new tracks in each one. The addition of retro courses from past games is nice, but is it too much to ask for more than 16 new tracks? When I go for the gold on all of the cups in the 50cc, 100cc and 150cc classes, it quickly becomes a drag. What would be neat is to have different track layouts from the same course for each class. Imagine three different Rainbow Roads or Bowser Castle tracks to race through, or mix in some long, one-way tracks. I fully expect Nintendo will take advantage of DLC in the form of new courses and characters, too. If it's done and priced right, maybe at $10 per cup ($2.50 per course), I'd be all over it.

Nerf the Blue Shell
People that say violent video games are horrible have never had a Blue Shell experience. There's nothing more rage inducing than racing toward the finish line with first place in sight when a Blue Shell comes crashing down, crushing all of your dreams and sending the controller flying across the room. I don't think we should get rid of it, but it's time to tone down its use. Make it so it only pops up once per race, or not at all if all the racers are tightly packed together. Having a barrage of Blue Shells wreaking havoc everywhere ruins the flow and fun of the game.

Add an adventure/story mode
Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo 64 was a fun title like Mario Kart but had a hub world to drive around and the evil Wizpig to stop. Ever since Diddy Kong Racing, I've been hoping Nintendo would someday create a Mario Kart adventure. How about Mario and Co. driving around the Mushroom Kingdom stopping an evil force plaguing the land, and you have to find hidden stars in each course to progress through the story? If Bowser's up to no good again, boss races could include Baby Bowser, Kamek (on his broom), a giant Thwomp, and other Mario baddies. This could replace the normal Grand Prix mode since you still would have online for regular races, but it would need lots of depth to make the risk worth it.

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