Nintendo today revealed new information about Mario Kart 8, the latest installment in the fan-favorite racing series launching exclusively for the Wii U console on May 30 in stores and in the Nintendo eShop. For the first time in HD, Mario Kart 8 introduces original track designs that highlight the game’s new anti-gravity feature, which allows players to race upside down or up vertical surfaces. Racers will also enjoy a variety of series-favorite features, including the return of 12-player online competitive play, four-player local multiplayer, hang gliders, underwater racing and motorbikes.
The new features in Mario Kart 8 include:
Spin Boost: While racing upside down or on walls, players can bump into other racers or certain track obstacles to get a speed boost. The Spin Boost fundamentally redefines the way that players compete, and makes anti-gravity racing even more exhilarating.
Returning Characters: In Mario Kart 8, players can race with returning characters Metal Mario, Lakitu and Shy Guy. These newly revealed returning characters join a host of previously announced favorites, including all seven of Bowsers Koopalings, who are playable for the first time in video game history.
New Items: Two new items join the fray in Mario Kart 8. First, the Piranha Plant attaches to the front of the players kart and chomps at other characters, banana peels on the track or even shells thrown by other characters. Each time the Piranha Plant lunges forward to bite, the player receives a brief boost of speed. The second new item is the Boomerang Flower. After acquiring it, racers can throw a Boomerang at opponents to stun them, and its arc allows players to strike multiple opponents with a single toss. The Boomerang can be thrown three times forward or backward.
New Courses: Remixed classic courses make a return in Mario Kart 8, with favorites such as Moo Moo Meadows from Mario Kart Wii, Toads Turnpike from Mario Kart 64 and Donut Plains from Super Mario Kart, among others. The graphics and layout of these courses have been redesigned and re-imagined. For example, Toads Turnpike now allows players to drive up certain walls in anti-gravity mode. Mario Kart 8 will include 16 new courses and 16 remixed classic courses.
Live Recorded Music: For the first time in the Mario Kart series, select courses in Mario Kart 8 feature music recorded by live performers.
Control Scheme: Mario Kart 8 will support a variety of control schemes, including the Wii U GamePad, the Wii U Pro Controller, the Wii Wheel and the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. The game can also be played in off-TV mode using just the Wii U GamePad.