5 – Mario Kart 8
The fast-paced kart racing game is still going strong, and still has us screaming at each other for that last spiny shell someone threw. Mario Kart 8 has a great mix of redone tracks from previous games and new tracks, and with the addition of DLC and plenty of characters to unlock, it’s a game I’ll come back to again and again. It’s great for parties, and the online mode is fun for solo play, since it smartly pits you against racers of similar skill.
I especially like how nuanced the game has become through character selection and kart customization. I’m terrible at steering well, but great at making use of speed powerups and tricks, so I can easily tailor a character and kart to maximize my potential. With items rampant and things always crazy near the middle of the pack, it’s easy for new players to jump in with veterans and have a good time. My only wish is that it had even more tracks, and I’m looking forward to the next DLC pack’s release this spring.
Mario Kart is one of about four or five Wii U entries that have set the system up as a great family/party console. Bring your friends over, and you’ll find yourself throwing shells at one another for hours on end.
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