While they’re not saving, or endangering, the Mushroom Kingdom, Mario and his pals can get up to quite a few antics. They like to play golf, soccer and even tried their hand at baseball once. My favorite of their side adventures however has always been the Mario Kart series. This year brought Mario Kart 8, which not only introduced several new things to the series, but is one of the most gorgeous games to grace Nintendo’s current home console. Upon first playing this game the year they started showing next-fen games at E3, I remember it being the best-looking thing available to see, which really speaks to the level of polish Nintendo put to the visuals of this game.
Several of the new features in Mario Kart 8 I could take or leave. The fact that you are occasionally riding upside down is of little consequence and I’ve never actually saved a replay. The extra boost you can get by bumping into someone while upside down, on the other hand, is a game changer that really effects the gameplay. Add to that the fun new tracks and excellent remixes of old tracks and you’ve got a Mario Kart game that stands well on its own merits. Also launched this year was DLC that branched out for the first time letting you not only race in Hyrule, but play as Link, the first non-Mario character playable in the series. It leaves me very hopeful for the future of the racing series that it may go even further. Maybe some day soon, we’ll see a trailer for Nintendo Kart. Until then, this game truly deserves to be my number 9 in my top 10 games of 2014.