Customer Review

510 of 601 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ruined by exclusively single-player unlockables, July 11, 2008
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mario Kart Wii with Wii Wheel (Video Game)
I feel really torn about this review, because there are elements of this game that are really, really fun and elements that are the bland, boring results of some horrifically awful game design decisions.

Let's start with PROS:

The maps are well-thought and nicely implemented, and there's a reasonable amount of variety, especially when Mirror Mode becomes available.

Controls aren't terrible, even though the wheel can be a bit annoying at times, and the vehicles are all pretty nicely balanced. I can see the merits of using any one of them, really.

It's pretty addicting. My fiancé and I play this all the time, and haven't really gotten tired of it yet. Though the Battle modes aren't the same as in earlier games, they're still quite a lot of fun.

In fact, multiplayer in general in this game is a lot of fun (though more than two players requires a TV of at LEAST 50 inches, and sometimes the network can be a little spotty if you're playing online, especially when playing with someone on the other side of the continent). It's a great game to play with other people.

Which leads me to the CONS:

As with the offerings of most developers these days, the game is designed such that over half the playable content is locked, and you have to spend hours or days of your time unlocking it all to actually be able to play it. The concept in itself isn't really that terrible, and if implemented intelligently can add hours or days of fun and enjoyable gameplay. Unlike with, say, Super Smash Bros Brawl, however, Nintendo seemed to be in a frantic gallop to implement unlockables in Kart in the most annoying fashion imaginable.

See, in Brawl, there are multiple options for unlocking characters and content. That is, you don't have to sit there grinding for hours and hours by yourself -- you can play with one or more friends and all have a good time with the game while incidentally unlocking various things in the process. Not so with Mario Kart Wii: Unlockables are an exclusively single-player experience. Of course, since Kart seems to have always been oriented toward multiplayer -- and the Wii seems no different in this respect -- it just gets boring and annoying and frustrating to have to SIT THERE FOR HOURS BY YOURSELF UNLOCKING THINGS.

And this is my biggest gripe with the game. I adore playing it with other people, and like I said, it's a great multiplayer game. But whenever I sit down for a lengthy grind session to unlock the last few bikes and karts and characters, I can feel my interest in the game drain away and my frustration and rage explode like some kind of nuclear doomsday device.

It's not that I suck at video games, but the random chance that makes multiplayer races fun (like getting hit with FIVE BLUE SHELLS IN A SINGLE RACE) can result in your having to play the same sets of courses ten times apiece to unlock some bike. And when you're playing on your own, the whole "SKILL DOESN'T MATTER - RANDOM LUCK WILL EVEN THE SCORE" element of the game just becomes infuriating. It's fun when your friend does it, but when some computer does it, all they're doing is forcing you to ceaselessly replay the same courses by screwing you up and keeping you from placing first or whatever else it is you need to do to unlock whatever random object.

It quickly stops being fun when it's just AIs being jerks and needlessly robbing you of your time -- time that could otherwise be spent playing with a friend instead of marrying yourself to unlocking over half the game's content and in the process becoming so skilled a player that your friends don't even want to really play with you anymore because you always win.

In summary, good game, but really, really a step in the wrong direction with the unlockables. Next time, Nintendo should really consider throwing in some multiplayer alternatives.
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Comments

Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 38 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 9, 2008 6:41:36 PM PST
Irish Girl says:
Thank you so much for this review. I realize some like the challenge of unlocking the next level of play in a game, I personally do not like it either. My kids would especially be frustrated at this. I like games, but I do not want to spend hours playing them.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2008 9:35:00 AM PST
Surely there is a cheat code somewhere to unlock everything!

Posted on Nov 26, 2008 4:30:10 PM PST
tavegas says:
I feel the same way. I play worldwide to at least get on the top courses that someone else spent the time to get up to. I do not think there are any cheat codes to get all levels. I just put-put around in the 4 games that it lets me play. the wii fit is the same way fyi!

Posted on Dec 12, 2008 2:53:45 PM PST
I agree. I believe the word you were looking for is "cheating". Mario Kart Wii CHEATS! And the issue is due to lazy AI developers, who, in an attempt to make the game more "challenging" only succeeded in making the game more frustrating. It was easier for Nintendo to simply design the computer's AI with the ability to cheat in order to win, rather than invest in a truly challenging AI that, while able to skillfully compete against varying levels of difficulty, still must abide by the same rules as the human player. There have been many times, especially on the 150CC and mirror cups, where such blatant cheating occurs that I am driven to outbursts of extreme rage! This is not healthy. In nearly every race the game cheats. It does rob time, but more so, it causes an adverse emotional reaction, which is not fun. And fun is supposed to be the whole point.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2008 4:14:46 AM PST
Jerry Mouse says:
Have you played SSBM? Level 9's are easy in that! Have you played SSBB? Level 9's are frustratin' as hell in that! Vise Versa for Mario Kart. You HAVE to be agressive to the AI on 150cc, otherwise it's impossible to get a perfect score and/or gold cup. I remember back in Double Dash!! where the AI would throw countless Red and Blue Shells at you, same thang here! But still I agree (taking this from Double Dash!!) that Double Dash!! is a frustrating game especially on 150cc! Anyways I'm getting this for christmas!

Posted on Dec 26, 2008 11:41:40 AM PST
Bookworm says:
I completely disagree. My dad and I love this game. We're very competitive about being the first to unlock something and while we only do one or two races a day we pretty much have everything unlocked. I think the challenge of unlocking karts, tracks, etc. makes the game more fun.

Posted on Jan 3, 2009 4:50:17 PM PST
M. E. Kurp says:
Blue shells always hit me next to the finish line!!!!!!!!!!!!! If those were not in the game, I'd give it 5 stars. but I gave it 4. It is still fun though!

Posted on Jan 30, 2009 2:58:22 PM PST
R. Reed says:
It didn't really bother me that I had to unlock things, because I like the challenge and some of the items can be used like badges of honor. However, I was upset to find that you couldn't unlock things in a multiplayer mode like in Double Dash. It would be like a NASCAR race sometimes on the 4th race, blocking for my friend who had a better shot at winning 1st and unlocking the next big thing...

Posted on Mar 9, 2009 8:37:06 PM PDT
Richard says:
This is why I bought the game cube version. I wanted to play it with my girl friend, and not by myself.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2009 4:14:19 PM PDT
NYC Baby says:
This game is in no way too hard for a motivated 7 year old. My son, playing 30 joy-filled minutes per day, has unlocked just about everything since getting this for Christmas 2008. Get this game! Even my 5 year old daughter has been tearing up the track!
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