Today brought the release of the latest installment in the Mario Kart series, Mario Kart 8 for Wii U. The new racing game is very similar in spirit to its predecessors, but with a few fresh new twists. Characters from the Mario universe race against each other on fantastical courses, collecting items that can be used against other players to gain an advantage. In this game, collecting coins on the racetrack allows players to reach higher speeds. Mario Kart 8 also features increased vehicle customization options and the ability to race in anti-gravity, so that players can drive on walls. When the competition gets tough, the ability to drift smoothly around corners gives players a vital speed boost.

Another big change is the ability to record and edit Instant Replay videos and then upload them seamlessly to YouTube. This is one of several new online features that have been, so far, positively received.

Mario Kart 8 has been greeted with rave reviews, which is good news for the struggling Wii U.

IGN – 9/10

Polygon – 9/10

GameSpot – 8/10

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Courtney is Pixelkin's Associate Managing Editor. While working with the Girl Scouts of Northern California, she mentored young girls in teamwork, leadership, personal responsibility, and safety. Today, she spends her time studying adolescent development and using literary analysis techniques to examine video games.