The Sheer Joy of Mario Kart 8

mario kart 8 impressions

Over the weekend I played a healthy amount of Mario Kart 8 and I can firmly say that this is the most fun I’ve had with the series in a long time. This game feels like a perfect evolution for the series with new features that make sense and a lot of returning mechanics from the previous games that are implemented in clever ways. The new hover segments, where the tires on your vehicle turn sideways and you float a foot or so off the ground, manages to feel like an integral part of how you play in Mario Kart 8 and not just a new gimmick to put on the back of the box. Hovering turns the gameplay on its head, sometimes literally, and forces you to think differently, like purposely bumping into other races to get a speed boost instead of avoiding them.

It helps that Mario Kart 8 is an amazing looking game and even in local two-player splitscreen it still delivers a 60 frame per second performance. Across the eight different cups are 32 tracks, 16 new and 16 returning and all have been tweaked to take full advantage of the different modes of transportation. In one race alone you might be underwater, gliding through the air and hovering upside down. Mario Kart 8 keeps you constantly engaged by changing up the progression of the race so you never feel like you’re just going through the motions. The soundtrack is nearly fully orchestrated this time and is a huge improvement over the music of Mario Kart Wii. Continue reading The Sheer Joy of Mario Kart 8

Get Your Mario Kart 8 Details From This Weird Nintendo Direct

I’m not going to lie, I really like Nintendo Directs, but I feel like this one for Mario Kart 8 is like one of those Internet videos that people find really funny for some reason but I just don’t understand the humor (this is how I feel about Mega 64, for example). This is one weird Nintendo Direct, but we’re getting some hot Mario Kart 8 info so I’m down with it. It’s almost 40 minutes long, so make sure you’re sitting comfortably.

I think the most appealing part about this is the free game that you get for registering Mario Kart 8 with Club Nintendo, although there’s plenty of great stuff coming in Mario Kart 8 as well. The game looks fantastic and I’m really glad Nintendo is moving towards fully orchestrated scores and away from the mostly-awful MIDI tracks that plagued Mario Kart Wii. How is Mario Kart 8 shaping up for you? Pre-order confirmed?

Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference Highlights

XBox One

Well gents and ladies, E3 is here, which of course means one thing: time for press conferences! The big gaming show is about the only time of the year that I get excited to listen to executives throw a bunch of scripted marketing speak at me, since it (sometimes) means I’ll get to look at some new games — and, if it’s a really good year, maybe some new tech and a few new IPs as well.

So how did Microsoft deliver after all the hubbub they’ve caused in recent weeks with the reveal of the XBox One? Let’s find out. Continue reading Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference Highlights

Loving the Gimmicks in Mario Kart 7

mario kart 7 3ds

If there’s any constant in this universe, it’s the fact that a new Nintendo console will get a Mario Kart game. True, Mario Kart 7 did release in 2011 and the Wii U hasn’t even had one teased yet, but I’m enjoying the 3DS version and I hope that a few of the new innovations that get carried over to the inevitable Wii U title.

Mario Kart 7 added a glider and submarine option to every kart so occasionally, if the race calls for it, you’ll either be high up in the sky or driving around underwater. It’s a neat way to break up the pace of a race, even if some of the gliding/submerged sections do feel a little gratuitous. Additionally, while a lot of the courses function on the tried and true 3-lap circle course, Mario Kart 7 introduces continuous courses where you don’t see the same section of the race twice. It’s a great new way to shake up the racing in the seventh iteration of this long running series.

Unfortunately the Download-Play is a little lacking; people using that functionlaity only get to play as Shy Guy and can’t upgrade their karts with the new coin system, and they only hear the same music on every track. That said, Mario Kart 7 proves that this old warhorse still has a few tricks up its sleeve and is a worthwhile addition to any 3DS owner’s lineup.

Has anyone else played Mario Kart 7? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to see some of these changes when Mario Kart Wii U comes out? Go!

Pixel Count: Most Anticipated May Release

It’s the last day of April and with it comes Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, which is the likely winner of this month’s poll. Before that, let’s look at last’s month poll real fast to see who won: Injustice! The DC Comic fighting game won the hearts and minds of our readers in a somewhat anemic month. Did anyone play Injustice? I tried the demo and found it to be about what I expected, which is a lot like the last Mortal Kombat. Not like that is a bad thing, but I already got my fill of that a few years back.

So here’s what we have lined up for May, kids:

Pixel Count: Most Anticipated May Release

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Pixel Count: Free EA Game?

Well, now that EA has finally revealed the more-meager-than-most-would-like-list of games that are available as a free download to compensate for any hardships caused by the unmitigated disaster that is Simcity, it’s time to find out from our dear readers what game they are going to choose! I know some people were expecting more from this, such as perhaps choosing any EA game on origin, but come on: it’s EA. We’re lucky they haven’t convinced our banks to double-charge us for Simcity. The list is below:

What Free Origin Game Would You Choose?

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Review: Twisted Metal

Twisted Metal

Twisted Metal, one of the most iconic franchises of the PS1 era has returned with great fanfare. But after giddiness subsided, everyone had the same question: can a car combat game succeed in today’s world at a full $60 retail price? David Jaffe, creator and Internet instigator, clearly thinks so, as the addition of online multiplayer just might allow Twisted Metal to enter the current generation with guns blazing. Continue reading Review: Twisted Metal