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.

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