It’s been 22 years since Super Mario Kart and Nintendo’s knockabout racing series has held its ground against the only critic whose opinion truly matters: time. Few other game series have been so dependable. Mario Kart has made a regular appearance on each successive piece of Nintendo hardware, always retaining the essence of that triumphant debut, always fending off the imitators following in its slipstream. It’s been a journey defined by incremental improvements and amendments, never by reinvention: a new power-up here, an few extra characters there. And yet Mario Kart 8 is a revelation. It’s undiminished by familiarity. It may be furnished with recognisable props, faces, scenes and modes – but it’s also the most vibrant home console racing game in years. Start not with the screen – a window into the Mario multiverse that has never before loomed so large and vivid – but with the hands. Here, at the physical level, you begin to understand the connection this game establishes with its player. As well as managing the gas, brake and steering, your fingers and thumbs must also tap out curious rhythms as they squeeze you into a drift-boost corner – the longer you hold the drift… Read full this story
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