Here's an info dump about Mario Kart 8

A bit earlier today, Iwata and Nintendo hosted a new Nintendo Direct, focusing solely on the quickly upcoming Wii U title, Mario Kart 8.  The half hour show had a lot of new information about the new kart racing title.  Here’s an overview of the new announcements made during the Direct:

Well, this isn't awkward.

Well, this isn’t awkward.

Spin Boosting

A new mechanic being introduced in Mario Kart 8 is Spin Boosting.  While your kart is in its anti gravity mode, you can bump into other cars; if you do, you’ll spin and get a slight boost.  Bumping into other racers typically isn’t a good idea in Mario Kart games, so having this during certain parts of tracks will add a bit more strategy to the racing game.

Kart Customization

Kart customization was introduced in the 3DS Mario Kart 7, but it will be making a return in Mario Kart 8.  You’ll be able to choose from a variety of bodies, tires, and gliders to enhance and change any kart’s performance to your liking.  The Direct goes into detail about a few of the kart bodies available, but alludes that there will be plenty more available.

It's a baby bonanza!

It’s a baby bonanza!

New Characters

The Direct showcased a bunch of new characters for Mario Kart 8–a total of nine, actually.  Mario Kart 8 will have the seven Koopalings as new racers, each with their own pros and cons… but really, why would you want to play as anyone as anyone other than Ludwig?  There was also Baby Rosalina, rounding out the baby lightweight roundup, and Pink Gold Peach, essentially the Peach version of Metal Mario.  This brings Mario Kart 8‘s roster to an impressive 30 racers to choose from… and with the customizable karts, allows for a great variety of play styles.

New Items

A few new items were introduced during the Direct: The Boomerang Flower, the Piranha Plant, the Crazy Eight, and the Super Horn.  The Boomerang Flower, like its name implies, allows for you to hit an enemy with a boomerang… and if you miss on the first go-around, the boomerang will double back and hit your opponent on the way back.  The Piranha Plant sits in front of your kart, and chomps on anything that gets near, including banana peels.  The Crazy Eight gives you eight items at once, giving you a plethora of ways to decimate the enemy.  Finally, the Super Horn unleashes a sound wave to knock everything in the area over… though Mario Kart veterans are likely more excited by the fact that the Super Horn can destroy oncoming Red and Shin Blue Shells.

Online Play

We knew  that Mario Kart 8 was going to have online multiplayer, but now more specifics about the service have been revealed.  For example, players can now chat in the lobby before a race begins, and players can even set up tournaments, including when the tourney takes place, and even the rules.  Finally, the addition of Mario Kart TV allows players to watch and upload their favorite highlight reels, as well upload them to YouTube, if you have a Google account.

You'll be seeing plenty of red with this bundle.

You’ll be seeing plenty of red with this bundle.

Wii U Bundle

Mario Kart 8 will be receiving bundles in the US and Europe in order to give gamers incentive to pick up the Wii U.  The US bundle, shown above, includes the game and a Deluxe Wii U, as well as a red Mario wheel and Mario Wii Remote.  The European bundle will only come with the Deluxe Wii U and a copy of the game.  It’s worth noting, however, that both of these bundles come with physical copies of the game, as opposed to digital downloads.

Club Nintendo Promotion

Finally, those that buy and register Mario Kart 8 on Club Nintendo by July 31st will get a free digital download of another Wii U title.  In the US, you can get a copy of New Super Mario Bros. U, Pikmin 3, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, or Wii Party U.  Europe gets a wider variety of titles to pick up, including the NA offerings as well as Sonic: Lost World, Game & Wario, The Wonderful 101, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate.

Mario Kart 8 will release on the Nintendo Wii U worldwide on May 30th.

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