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Video Game / Mario Kart Wii

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Now you, too, can witness the feeling of driving a car... without any rules!
The sixth installment of the Mario Kart series, Mario Kart Wii is an arcade-style Racing Game for the Wii, released worldwide in April of 2008. This game introduces motorbikes as a secondary form of vehicle, as well as a Tournament mode, which functions similar to the Mission mode from Mario Kart DS.

The game is also notable for the improving upon the implementation of online multiplayer support present in the previous installment, focusing on versus and battle modes for up to twelve participants, and up to two players could connect and play from the same Wii console. Players could compete against random players from within the same region or from any continent, or could compete only against players registered as friends. At the end of each race or match, each player's VR (versus rating) or BR (battle rating) would change based on their final ranking. Mario Kart Wii also featured the "Mario Kart Channel", which was available as an optionally selectable channel on the Wii Menu, that presented current regional or worldwide rankings for Time Trials, and the option of sending or receiving ghost data via WiiConnect24.

It was the game to play on the Wii's online service, with one of the last ever games being a race of Mario Kart Wii. A third-party server; Wiimmfi ran by the eponymous Wiim, has taken upon himself to keep the servers up for this game, as well as other Wii games, meaning this game still has a niche online playerbase to this day.

CTGP Revolution, a Game Mod track pack with additional features that uses this game as a base, has its own page.

    open/close all folders 
(* denotes a character newly introduced to the series)Starting Roster
  • Baby Mario
  • Baby Peach*
  • Bowser
  • Donkey Kong
  • Koopa Troopa
  • Luigi
  • Mario
  • Peach
  • Toad
  • Waluigi
  • Wario
  • Yoshi



    Battle Tracks 

The game features examples of these tropes:

  • Accordion to Most Sailors: Delfino Pier, a battle course themed around a pier, has an accordion melody in its music. The retro track DS Delfino Square matches this trope too.
  • Alertness Blink: The Cataquacks on Peach Beach have a "!" appear above their heads when they notice a player.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: Mii Outfit A and B, which changes the looks of your Mii when you race as one. Outfit A gives you a jumpsuit look while Outfit B gives you the Mario shirt and overalls combo if the Mii is male, or a dress in the style of Princess Peach if the Mii is female.
  • Artifact Title: Though you can still race with karts, motorbikes were added to the vehicle options as well. In fact, in 100cc you can only race with motorbikes (until you unlock the ability to use any vehicle type on any cc.)
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • Although most jumps involve the vehicles launching forward as expected, some of them are bent towards a specific path. The most significant example is the waterfall of Koopa Cape, where the path of a vehicle is bent down into the pipe, making it extremely hard to miss the pipe.
    • Similar physics-defying jumps are possible on halfpipe sections. Jumping on one on the inside of a turn will keep the vehicle right on the inside of a curve until it reaches the ground, rather than going in a simple vertical arc.
  • Aspect Ratio Switch: The first part of the credits portion is letterboxed. If the game is played in 4:3, it is letterboxed to about 16:9. If the game is played in 16:9, it letterboxes to Cinemascope.
  • Athletic Arena Level: This became the first game in the series to feature an athletic battle course, namely Funky Stadium. It is based on skateboard parks, and its primary focus besides the wide space it covers is the various ramps and half-pipes that can be used to perform tricks and gain extra speed. Within racing courses, the game not only has its own Luigi and Mario Circuits, but also brings back the Mario Circuits from Mario Kart 64, Double Dash!! and the third from Super (there's also a Daisy Circuit, but it's themed around Port Town instead).
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Mega Mushroom turns you and your vehicle giant sized, boosting speed and causing your character to flatten other racers in their path.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • Half-pipe areas in some race courses. You can do fancy tricks to gain speed, but in most cases it'd be faster to just drive forward. The only instance where half-pipes provide any advantage is if they are placed on or near the inside of a turn, allowing a player to make a physics-defying jump that hugs the turn perfectly. Jumps like these are possible on the last turn of DK Summit and the second corner in the temple of Dry Dry Ruins.
    • Spear and Jetsetter, the heaviest speed specialized vehicles are fast and heavy (though Jetsetter is the ‘’lightest’’ large kart), but they’re also completely abysmal in every other stat.
  • Bat Family Crossover: Funky Kong, playable in a Mario Kart game for the first time, joins Donkey and Diddy Kong. Until Mario Kart Tour, this was his only appearance in the series.
  • Bat Scare: There are two tracks where the Swoopers are hazards: at the entrance to the mine in Wario's Gold Mine and the entrance to the temple in Dry Dry Ruins.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The retro race course SNES Ghost Valley 2 and retro battle course DS Twilight House. Unusually, this game does not introduce any new tracks with this theme, a first in the series.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: By getting a star rank in all 150cc Retro Cups, you unlock the Jetsetter/Aero Glider as a kart. Unfortunately, said kart also has terrible stats in everything except top speed and weight, meaning anyone who unlocks it will likely never find a use for it in the actual game.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Mii Outfit B is just a special costume for Miis to wear. It offers no benefits over Mii Outfit A.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: The selected engine class determines what type of vehicles are used. 50cc is karts only, 100cc is bikes only, and 150cc and Mirror are both karts and bikes.
  • Canon Immigrant: The Lightning Cloud first appeared in Mario Kart Arcade GP.
  • Casino Park: The Chain Chomp Roulette battle arena, which takes place on a giant underwater roulette with a behemothic Chain Chomp acting as the ball.
  • Comeback Mechanic: During Battle Mode's Balloon Battle, when a player runs out of balloons, they are considered knocked out, and that player's team loses 1 point. The fewer balloons a player has, the more likely an Item Box will yield something powerful. If one team has a substantially higher score in any mode of Battle Mode, the game will give the losing team a powerful item, such as the Lightning Bolt or POW Block, which hits all members of the opposing team.
  • Company Cross References: The game features the debut of the Blue Falcon as an unlockable kart option for lightweights. It would later return in Mario Kart 8 as a kart body option, this time available to all weight classes.
  • Competitive Balance:
    • Alongside karts, the game introduces bikes: they are lighter, have less top speed and can only reach the first level of mini-turbo, but are better in every other category. Bikes are also divided between outside and inside drift: while the former are more accessible, the latter take sharp corners more easily.
    • Each weight/size class has six karts and six bikes with radically different stats which can be ranged into six categories:
      • Standard karts and bikes give a taste of their character classes without being too disadvantaged.
      • Starter vehiclesnote  focus on handling, acceleration, off-road and mini-turbo, but have a bad top speed and drift. Depending on the class, they can be either very light, very heavy, or well-balanced.
      • Skill vehiclesnote  focus on good drifts and turbos, but still have the advantages and defaults of their respective classes: this category is the most complicated to classify, as it includes the lightest kart and bike of the game (the latter even having inside drift), two slower and more skill-based versions of power vehicles, and an early game middleweight which, despite having great acceleration and subpar top speed, is still fairly balanced.
      • Power vehicles note  give up acceleration, handling, and off-road for the best mini-turbos, the most precise drifts (bikes take this further as they all have inside drift), and a good top speed. While all of them have decent weight for their categories, the lighter vehicles are Glass Cannons while the heaviers are Mighty Glaciers.
      • Off-road vehiclesnote  have average stats and mediocre drift, but an excellent off-road which gives them a greater stability on slippy tracks and allows them to take paths where the frontier between track and off-road is unclear. Large vehiclesnote  only subvert this category, as they either have all the stats except for the main advantage and default, or precisely these while being otherwise a starter vehicles.
      • Speed vehiclesnote  have an incredible top speed, a decent weight... and nothing else. While the lighter ones still are viable in manual, only determined players can control the heavier ones this way: otherwise, they are better in automatic mode. Like the power vehicles, lighter vehicles are Glass Cannons while heaviers are Mighty Glaciers.
    • Alongside the light, medium, and large classes, every single character has hidden bonuses which give them subtle advantages at an advanced level.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • Rubber-banding in speed is still present, although less obvious, but the computer constantly gets the Blue Shell and will nail you with it. If not that, then expect Bob-ombs or Red Shells to screw you over, followed by getting railroaded by the other drivers as you try to recover, knocking your placing further down, especially if you're on a bridge or next to a chasm.
    • On Rainbow Road, especially on the highest CCs (150 and Mirror Mode). The AI turns from a thorn in your side to being absolutely brutal. Bunching together, the AI Rubberbands your opponents so that they are as close to you as possible, and then they take turns at trying to jostle you off the track. By the time Lakitu gets you back onto the track, you will quickly find that you're anywhere but qualifying.
  • Cool Bike: This game introduced Bikes as a different option to Karts: in fact, every kartnote  has a bike counterpart. Statistically, karts have better top speed and weight while bikes are stronger everywhere else: these vehicles lose the ability to do Super Mini-Turbos, but compensate with the wheelie ability, which boosts speed but lowers turning. The available options range from traditional motorcycles, to scooters, to crotch rockets. Notably, Wario's own Cool Bike from WarioWare, the Wario Bike, also appears in this game (though he only gets the bike as his plumber outfit doesn't possess the same problem that gave Peach, Daisy, and the debuting Rosalina more practical Badass Biker outfits).
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Tricking at a steep angle to get more height may look cool, but is slow compared to tricking at a shallow angle to get more distance. The mini-turbo which results from a trick does not compensate for this. Whenever a vehicle is in the air tricking, it is constantly decelerating.
  • Co-Op Multiplayer:
    • Similarly to Mario Kart DS, Battle mode has team play, though unlike previous titles, Battle is exclusively teams with no free-for-all mode. 6 players are put on the red team and the other 6 go on the blue team. Every point earned by individual players gets collectively added up to their team's total score.
    • VS Race returns, and just like in Mario Kart DS, the mode can be played in free-for-all or teams. As in Battle, all the racers' points are added to a total score.
  • Cosmetic Award: In this game and Mario Kart 7, the player's icon is modified during online matches depending on whether they've gotten first-place finishes on all cups, and whether they've managed to clear all cups with at least one star, two star, or three star rankings. These games also point out who is using motion steering.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: The Aeroglider/Jetsetter suffers from this. It's got a great top speed stat and weighs a lot, but has the worst stats for drifting, handling, acceleration, offroad and mini turbos. So while it's fast, it can barely turn, flies off the road when drifting, and takes forever to get back to top speed after taking a hit. This means that if the player is racing on a track with lots of corners or item boxes, using the Aeroglider is basically guaranteeing they'll get last place.
  • Cumulonemesis: This game introduced the infamous Lightning Cloud item, a smiling grey cloud that ominously looms above the racer for a short time before zapping them, shrinking them just like the regular Lightning item. The racer therefore has to bump into other racers to transfer the vaporous threat to them. Fortunately, it has the redeeming effect of significantly increasing the speed of the player holding it before it strikes them.
  • Dark Reprise: The theme for Bowser's Castle is a slow-tempo remix of Maple Treeway's.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Play this game with a GameCube controller. Once you're used to it, play Mario Kart: Double Dash!! with a GameCube controller, or vice versa. "Hey, I wanted to look behind! I'm sure I pulled a stunt off that ramp... What happened to the mini-turbo?" are but a few of the questions you'll ask yourself.
  • Dem Bones: In addition to bringing back Dry Bones (who was playable in Mario Kart DS), the game also freatures Dry Bowser (from New Super Mario Bros.) as an unlockable character.
  • Developer's Foresight: Certain stage hazards can affect Lakitu, even though it's unlikely that these would occur in practice. For example, Lakitu can be crushed by the Thwomps in Bowser's Castle if you stop right in front of one when it comes down.
  • Dub Name Change: An odd case in which the North American English localization of this game had many vehicle names different from the already-released European localization (for instance, what is known as the Bowser Bike in British English is known as the Flame Runner in the American English). The same goes for tracks (which is why you might find people who refer to DK Summit as DK's Snowboard Cross, and the battle stage Chain Chomp Wheel is known as Chain Chomp Roulette).
  • Eternal Engine: Toad's Factory, a race course from Mushroom Cup, features some elements of this trope, being a factory with crushing machines, conveyor belts, a steam room, and bulldozers that move back and forth periodically across a mud path at the end of the course.
  • Expressive Accessory: The Piranha Prowler kart has a mouth that moves with the mouth of its driver.
  • Feelies: This game comes with one of the many plastic Wii remote accessories, the Wii Wheel, which the Wii Remote can be slotted into to provide more surface area to grip.
  • Forest of Perpetual Autumn: Maple Treeway is a course taking place almost entirely in the branches and canopy of an enormous maple tree in full fall colors. Piles of dead leaves litter the trial as obstacles to racers, and more fall-colored trees fill the background on all sides. Note that all the other courses take place in the same nondescript spring-summer setting: Maple Treeway is the only course in which visible plant décor is anything less than lush and green.
  • Fragile Speedster: As usual, Mario Kart Wii still has the "quick to start, hard to catch up" variant, this time divided between newcomers-friendly vehicles and intermediate level ones.
    • The lighter starter vehiclesExamples  are the easiest to control and they have the second-to-best acceleration, off-road and mini-turbo of their vehicle categories. The counterparts are their second lightest weight and subpar drift, but also the worst top speed for any vehicleSpecial cases .
    • The lighter skill vehiclesExamples  have the best acceleration of their classes, the second-to-best drift, handling, and a good mini-turbo. Quacker also has inside drift, allowing it to take the sharpest turns with more control than any bike in the game. However, their top speed is not very impressive, they are the lightest vehicles of their leaguenote , and while their off-road is not terrible, it's only above average.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Imagine the name Wii being a play on the recurring Mario series' level name "World 1-1" if you have looked at the license plate of the Coconut Fruit Truck in Moonview Highway saying "W1-1".
  • Fungus Humongous: Mushroom Gorge has green mushrooms that can be driven on and red Springy Spores, both being so tall that their stems vanish into the bottomless pits Lakitu fishes racers from. All twelve players, if they wanted to, could comfortably fit on a single mushroom with room to spare.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The game can freeze should you use the Bullet Bill item in battle mode, though the item can only be used there through cheats. This item was not programmed to be used in battle mode, thus the game crashes as it doesn't know what to do.
  • Game Mod: Mario Kart Wii is probably only second to Super Smash Bros. Brawl in terms of being the most modded console game ever. In addition to having its own custom servers, Wiimmfi, created in response to Nintendo's official ones going down, there's also a humongous amount of modded courses and track packs, either recreated versions of courses on other systems or completely original tracks made by other modders; most popular being CTGP Revolution. There can be so many that even the tournaments need their own scroll pages! CTGP-Rnote  has the list sit at 40+ tournaments!
  • Gameplay Automation: The player is allowed to select "Automatic" or "Manual" drifting around corners, with the former intended primarily for first-time players (as only manual drifting features mini-turbo boosts). In fact, it is sometimes a lot easier to use a kart or bike with low drift stats if one uses the auto drift options.
  • Glacier Waif:
    • Because size is determined by physical size instead of weight, Waluigi, King Boo and Rosalina all fell victim to this trope. Waluigi and Rosalina are both very slim (though Rosalina's is only easily visible in her biker outfit) while King Boo is a ghost and therefore weighs nothing.
    • Dry Bowser is this to an extent, as he has no flesh on him, and Large Miis can look the part.
    • The kart Honey Coupe also enters in this category, being heavier than the Flame Flyer while being smaller.
  • Glass Cannon: Some "slow to start, hard to stop" vehicles are too light for the Mighty Glacier category, so they fall into this trope.
    • The lighter power vehiclesExamples  are Strong and Skilled examples: they have the worst acceleration of their respective weight classes, coupled with awful off-road and handling stats, and their light weight makes them more vulnerable to heavier vehicles. However, they have the second-to-best top speed of their classes and most importantly, the best drift and mini-turbo stats of their weight classesnote . With this, Mini-Beast obtains a considerable push after a super mini-turbo; the bikes may not have this power, but both are sports bikes with inside drift, which allows them to take the sharpest turns and to gain a boost at the end.
    • The lighter speed vehiclesExamples  are Unskilled, but Strong examples: while they have the best top speed of their respective weight and vehicle classes and a decent weightnote , they suck in every other categoryExplanation . While Jet Bubble and Blue Falcon are still balanced thanks to their lightweight privileges, Sneakster's inside drift isn't as useful as it can be for other bikes because of its pathetic handling, its average drift and the mediocre mini-turbo that comes out of it: it is a monster on automatic mode, but requires more preparation on manual to make sharp turns, preventing it to benefit the wheelie like the category above.
  • Hailfire Peaks: Koopa Cape is a mixture of Roaring Rapids and Down the Drain. The music even reflects this.
  • High-Speed Missile Dodge: Unlike in previous games, it's now much harder to dodge the homing Red Shell, instead of merely being blocked with another item, as it is next to impossible to dodge due to how the shell mechanics work here. With precise timing of a banana or Green Shell deployment, though, the Red Shell can be destroyed.
  • Hot Potato: The Thunder Cloud item sets this up; it activates automatically on use and gives you a hefty speed boost and great offroad speed as well, but hold on to it too long and it zaps you with your own personal Lightning to shrink you. Bop somebody else's car, and you give them the item instead, warts and all.
  • Human Cannonball: There are three racetracks where drivers have to launch themselves (vehicles included) from large DK barrel cannons: DK Pass, Maple Treeway and (once again) DK Mountain.
  • Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt: In Toad Factory and Coconut Mall, there are conveyor belts whose color communicate the drivers their direction, alerting them of whether or not to go across them: The ones moving forward glow green, while the ones moving backward glow red. After the first lap, these belts are prone to swapping colors and directions, so each driver has to keep an eye on when to take a different path.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: In addition to the Lightning having this effect, so does the Thunder Cloud. When received, it's used automatically and gives you a Personal Raincloud; this cloud gives you a higher top speed and lets you drive offroad without penalty, but hold onto it for too long and it'll zap you with lightning that has the same effect as the Lightning item. If you ram somebody else's car before the lightning strikes, you transfer the cloud to them, making it a risky item.
  • Interface Screw: The Blooper from DS returns, covering the screen with ink and there not being a second screen for the player to cope with it. However, the splatter is now predictable in where it initially lands on the screen, meaning so long as you have some track knowledge, the splatter isn't much of a hindrance.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The game introduces the Mega Mushroom, which is 80% of this. You grow to an enormous size, most items won't harm you, you can go a bit faster, you can drive off-road without speed loss and you can squash the other drivers. If lightning strikes, you merely return to normal size instead of get shrunk down below it. Someone with star power, or a Bullet Bill, can still hurt you though.
  • Jack of All Stats:
    • Each weight class has one all-around kartnote  and one all-around bikenote  who won't be worse or better than any specialized vehicle in this area. Each weight class tries to find compromises regarding the general vehicles' stats and their respective size categories.
    • While the skill vehicle Classic Dragster can be considered the Fragile Speedster of middleweight karts, being their acceleration champion and having good drift and handling but a weak top speed, its other stats are still fairly balanced to enter in this specific category.
    • The starter vehicle Daytripper also falls into this category, as its disadvantages are not as pronounced as for lighter or heavier karts.
    • The game offers bonuses for each character. While Mario has 6 bonus points in weight and 2 in acceleration, handling and drift, the Miis fit this trope better. Whatever weight class they are, they will have 3 bonus points in speed and mini-turbo, but also in categories where drivers of this size are handicapped: for example, lightweights will have bonus in weight while heavyweights will have it in acceleration.
  • Jungle Japes: Two returning tracks, N64 DK's Jungle Parkway, and GCN DK Mountain. The former is set in the jungle around a river, with trees lining the sides of the road, a bridge near a waterfall, and a small cave. The latter is set on a volcano and surrounding paths down the wooded mountainside, featuring similar jungle decor and style.
  • Lethal Lava Land: All three Bowser Castle courses as well as Grumble Volcano. The latter track is unique in that, as drivers travel around it, some parts will begin to crumble, thus leaving gaps in the course that give the drivers a greater risk of falling into lava. In addition, some Fire Snakes are expelled from the far horizon's volcanoes and begin jumping in specific parts of the course, becoming a hindrance.
  • Living Statue: Like in Double Dash!!, this game's version of Bowser's Castle features a statue of Bowser that periodically spits giant, exploding fireballs.
  • The Mall: Coconut Mall is a shopping mall located on Isle Defino, and allows the racers to both drive through the mall itself past its venues, as well as in the bustling parking lot.
  • Metropolis Level: Moonview Highway, true to its name, is a racetrack that takes place in a highway during late night. The first half of the road goes across a dense forest located next to a pristine lake, but the second half goes through a thriving urban city with many billboards placed in the buildings and a toll booth. It makes a return in Mario Kart Tour as a Nostalgia Level.
  • Mighty Glacier: Mario Kart Wii having many vehicle categories, you can find karts and bikes that fall as much in the conventional category than the traditional "slow to start, hard to stop" kind of the franchise.
    • Loyal to the franchise's tradition, the game averts any category of traditional heavyweight vehicles. While some karts are more comparable to this category than the "slow to start, hard to stop" oneExamples , they don't exactly fit because they usually have an average top speed, and even like this, only Piranha Prowler really fits: for the others, one is a Stone Wall because its acceleration actually is better than its top speed (Offroader), another is the Jack of All Stats of its class (Standard Kart L) while another is a more skill based drift class kart (Honey Coupe).
    • Three kinds of vehicles fall into the "slow to start, hard to stop" category:
      • The heavier power vehiclesExamples  are Strong and Skilled examples: they have the worst acceleration of their respective weight classesnote  coupled with awful off-road and handling stats. However, they have the second-to-best top speed of their classes and a decent weight to push opponents, but most importantly, the second-to-best mini-turbo and drift stats of their leaguenote . With this, the karts benefit a considerable push when they manage to make a super mini-turbo; while Flame Runner cannot do this, it is a sports bike with inside drift, which allows it to take sharper turns than its kart counterpart.
      • The heavier skill vehiclesExamples  are similar to the vehicles above, but with important differences: they are slower versions of Flame Flyer and Flame Runner respectively, with better acceleration, handling and off-road, but also the best drift and mini-turbo stats of heavyweight karts. Despite its small size, Honey Coupe also is heavier than Flame Flyer, making it a good defensive vehicle. Shooting Star, however, is the lightest large vehicle and only performs outside drifts, reducing its possibilities despite its stats being better than the Flame Runner.
      • The heavier speed vehiclesExamples  are overspecialized examples: while they have the best top speed of their respective weight and vehicle classes coupled with a decent weight, they suck in every other categoryExplanation . Even Spear's inside drift isn't enough to compensate its low handling and drift stats and because of the mediocre mini-turbo that comes out of it. They are monsters on automatic mode, however.
  • Minecart Madness: The game features the Wario's Gold Mine track, apparently takes place on one of the roads that mine carts use, though you drive your normal vehicles and instead dodge mine carts in some sections.
  • Mocking Sing-Song: All of the Babies except Baby Luigi have a chance to sing a variation of "Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!" after hitting someone with an item (Baby Luigi just coos happily, or shouts "Oh yeah!"). Some large characters like Bowser and Waluigi also do that.
  • Mood Whiplash: The end credits sequence(s) is cut into two halves, with the first half having a more slower, bitter-sweet feel to it with its own original music, and the fact that the characters drive by Luigi Circuit as the sun sets. However, the second half of the credits has its own montage of gameplay being shown in small boxes, while a more positive, faster-paced piano remix of Mario/Luigi Circuit's theme plays during the rest of the credits.
  • Musical Gameplay: Starting with this game, some tracks have a Variable Mix for different sections of the course. For example, when you enter the underwater tunnel in Wii's Koopa Cape, the music becomes synthesized, the melody drops out, and the bass becomes more prominent.
  • Musical Nod:
    • The Rainbow Road music in this game features some elements from that of the DS and GameCube incarnations, combined with parts of the Good Egg Galaxy theme from Super Mario Galaxy.
    • The theme for Bowser's Castle starts off with a small bit from the Castle theme of Super Mario Bros. before it segues into its own song.
  • My Future Self and Me: In addition to bringing back Baby Mario and Baby Luigi (following their debut in Double Dash!!), the game also introduces Baby Peach and the brand-new Baby Daisy (who, unlike the other three, hadn't appeared in any other Mario beforehand). Their adult counterparts are still present, so coexistence is no an issue. All four return in 8, with a baby version of Rosalina joining them.
  • Nerf: "Snaking" had become a serious problem that was brought to Nintendo's attention in Mario Kart DS. Basically it involved players using the drift speed boost on straightaways by going back and forth on the sides of the road to rack up a lot of leeway on the players behind them. This effectively constituted cheating and created a very wide skill gap between the elitist and abusive players and the casual and unknowing players who were left visibly confused on how such people can even win by a huge margin. In response, the drift mechanic was reworked to be time-dependent instead of input-dependent.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics: The game reuses many character and item models from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and recycles the models of the GameCube retro tracks directly from that game (this is most notable with GCN Mario Circuit, which is virtually untouched from its original incarnation). The tech-wise compatibility between the GameCube and Wii made this easier.
  • Nintendo Hard: The game is especially infamous for this as the increase of Racers from eight to twelve on Tracks results in a crazy spike in difficulty compared to previous games, there are horror stories from people who get in dead last because of a Blue Shell, Pow Block etc.; and there's the utterly insane means of unlocking characters and karts, like getting first in every track on 150cc or completing 4.950 races.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: When playing as Rosalina, a Luma floats alongside you, and it typically chuckles or gives an excited squeal whenever you do an aerial trick.
  • Non-Indicative Name: You'd think a vehicle named the Offroader would have the best off-road stats in the game, but there are several with better, with the Magikruiser having the actual highest off-road stat.
  • Nostalgia Level: The game continues on with the tradition of 16 new tracks and 16 retro tracks that started in Mario Kart DS, with the retro tracks including four each from 64, Double Dash!! and DS, and two each from Super and Super Circuit. The game also features 10 Battle courses (the most in the series to date), of which 5 are retro (one from each of the previous five games).
  • Obstacle Ski Course: DK Summit (DK's Snowboard Cross in British English) has racers travel over jumps, a mogul field, and a half-pipe populated with Shy-Guys.
  • Old Save Bonus: If a save file for Super Mario Galaxy is present on the system, Rosalina is unlocked by simply doing 50 races. In comparison, the default unlocking method consists of earning a Star rank in all eight cups in Mirror Mode.
  • Only One Save File: A notable aversion. This is the only game in the Mario Kart series that has multiple save files (namely four), meaning that the characters and vehicles unlocked, as well as the cups won and the Time Trial records stored, are all stored in the file where the achievements in question were done. None of the other games have this privilege (64 and Double Dash!! even required additional Memory Card space to save the ghost(s) in their single files' Time Trial).
  • Palmtree Panic: Star Cup has Koopa Cape, Shell Cup has GCN Peach Beach and Banana Cup has GBA Shy Guy Beach; the Battle Mode has the stage Delfino Pier which, while closer to a docking zone than a beach level, still qualifies because of the raising water.
  • Personal Raincloud: Weaponized with the Thunder Cloud, which will eventually zap whoever's holding it with Personal Lightning to shrink them.
  • Player Tic: The game includes gyro controls, which involve turning your controller to steer the car; the game even includes a bundled plastic wheel to favor the simulation. Even players who don't use the feature turn their controller using the non-gyro controls anyway.
  • Poison Mushroom: Played with the Thunder Cloud. When you get it, it automatically gets used. While it's active, your speed increases, and you can drive offroad with no penalty to speed. However, it eventually strikes you with lightning, shrinking you like a regular lightning bolt... unless you ram your kart into someone else's, forcing them to deal with it.
  • Port Town: Star Cup has Daisy Circuit, which takes place in a coastal town and is raced during sunset; statues of Luigi and Daisy dancing together (both in their adult and infant forms) decorate the plaza as well. On its part, Banana Cup brings back DS Delfino Square, while the battle stage Delfino Pier happens on a docking stage with raising water
  • Progressive Instrumentation: When starting a game, the music has more layers added to it the farther you get through the selection process of the type of game you'll play, the difficulty, the racer you want, the car you'll use, and what sort of drifting you'll be playing with.
  • Real Is Brown: Downplayed, but compared to the other Mario Kart games, Wii's graphics are a lot more washed-down, including the character designs. The best way to see this would be to compare the Retro Tracks in the game compared to their appearance in their debut games.
  • Reentry Scare: Falling off Rainbow Road will cause your character's kart to burn up on reentry.
  • Rollercoaster Mine: Wario's Gold Mine is a track set in one of these. You have to dodge loaded mine carts filled with gold. If you follow the carts and are careful not to touch them, you might find a shortcut. This track was remade for Mario Kart 8 as Downloadable Content.
  • Rubber-Band A.I.:
    • The computer racers change their speed depending on your position in the race, and they also get much better items than you if you're ahead, far better than you would if you were in their position. This is all par for the series, though... until you realize that there are more drivers in Wii — 12 instead of 8. The result is that driving too far ahead of the pack results in your getting bombarded with three or four items in a row, which requires impeccable coordination that only a computer could muster and adds at least five seconds to your lap time. At least there's always online play... but then you encounter the really good players, the ones who have beaten the computer at their own game and then some.
    • A notable example is in one of the tournaments which had players race Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong while they had an infinite supply of banana peels. If you tried to get ahead of them, they would go at breakneck speeds up to you to make sure you couldn't stay ahead. Even the AI never does this in a regular race, so the two in this tourney outright broke that rubber band.
  • Secret Character: Not only you can unlock characters by acing the Grand Prix Cups, but also by unlocking ghost racers (not playable, they're simply leftovers of previous races) in Time Trial, for which your times have to be exceptionally good. While not an outright requirement, one character can even be unlocked by having save data from Super Mario Galaxy.
  • Sequence Breaking: So-called "Ultra Shortcuts" are performed by leaving the track just in front of the finish line, going back far enough to trigger the last key checkpoint, and driving back to the finish line. With these, it is possible to complete three laps in under 30 seconds. Grumble Volcano has the first Ultra Shortcut to be discovered, as well as the easiest one to perform.
  • Shark Tunnel: Koopa Cape has one, right after the waterfall. When the course itself returned in Mario Kart 7, the underwater-driving concept worked wonders as the section after the waterfall becomes more of a shark half-pipe.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Dry Dry Ruins (a cross between Yoshi Desert and Dry Dry Desert) and the battle course Thwomp Desert (where a Thwomp crashes down to cause ripples through the sand). Desert Hills from Mario Kart DS also returns.
  • Ship Tease: This is far from the only Mario game (or even video game at all, counting the brief tease in a trophy description in Super Smash Bros. Melee) to hint a romantic bond between Luigi and Princess Daisy, but it's one of the most explicit cases. In Daisy Circuit, the plaza has a dual statue showing the two characters dancing cheerfully; and next to them is a dual statue showing the same thing with Baby Luigi and Baby Daisy. Hilariously, if Mii characters are being used by the player(s), the statues' heads will be replaced by those of the registered Miis, chosen at random.
  • Sinister Sentient Sun: Once again, the main danger faced by the racers on Desert Hills is an Angry Sun that shoots Fire Snakes at the tracks.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: DK Summit, which is set on a snowboarding course on a snowy mountain, and N64 Sherbet Land, which is more of a wintry, snow-covered trail.
  • Spiteful A.I.: The game has AI, when set to aggressive, go out of their way to run into you when they are influenced with a star or mega mushroom. Should you drive off course to avoid getting run down, it's entirely possible for them to follow you off road and even throw themselves off cliffs for the sole purpose of running you down. Aggressive indeed.
  • Standard Snippet: Toad's Factory, naturally, has a very "Powerhouse"-inspired song.
  • Stone Wall:
    • The heavier starter vehiclesExamples  have the worst top speed of their respective leagues and a horrible drift, but great weightExplanation , good mini-turbo and off-road (though it's not as good as the specialized vehicles below), and the best acceleration and handling of heavyweights.
    • Off-road vehiclesExamples  share many similarities: they have subpar acceleration, handling and mini-turbo for their classes, and their drift stat the lamest. Their weight is also variable, as they ever can be the heavier or lighter of their weight classesExplanation . However, their top speed is decent, and most importantly, their speciality prevents them from losing too much power when pushed off-road while making them more stable on slippy environments like N64 Sherbet Land ice or DS Desert Hills sand. This feature can also be used on GBA Shy Guy Beach, where water is something between normal road and off-road, slowing down other vehicles: a character with an off-road bonus on these vehicles can actually drift and use boosts where others would be paralyzed, giving them a low but exceptional recovery power. Also, the bikes in this category benefit inside drift, reducing their statistic disadvantage and actually allowing them to take sharp turns more precisely than others regardless of the road.
    • The heavyweight bike Phantom and the Piranha Prowler kart are both special cases, considering they subvert the category above. While the former is the off-road champion for heavyweights and their worst drifternote , the rest of its stats actually is more comparable to the middleweight bike Zip Zip: Phantom's acceleration and handling are the second-to-best of its category and its mini-turbo is the third, but it only has subpar top speed and weight for its league. Unlike the previous bikes, it only performs outside drift, making it one of the most imprecise vehicles in the game in sharp corners. On the other hand, Piranha Prowler matches all the statsnote  but the off-road and the drift, which are too bad or not bad enough to enter in this category.
  • Suddenly Voiced: The Miis, who receive voice clips depending on their gender, how large they are, and what color they are wearing.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: It's a Mario Kart game on the Wii, hence the name it has.
  • Third-Person Seductress: Equipping any of the human females with a bike causes them to wear a body-clinging biker suit instead of a frilly dress. Justified, in that a frilly dress would be very impractical to wear on a bike.
  • Transferred Transformation: Introduced from the arcade Mario Kart games is the Thunder Cloud, which shrinks the holder after a few seconds. To keep this from happening, the player who gets the Thunder Cloud from an Item Box must bump into another racer, who will get shrunken instead.
  • Translation Nod: In Japanese, the heavyweights' Flame Runner/Bowser Bike is called the Super Bowser after his English Dub Name Change. He's called "Koopa" in Japanese, which became the name of his species in English.
  • Tree Trunk Tour: Maple Treeway has the racers traversing up a giant maple tree inhabited by Wigglers. Each of the branches are completely hollowed out, allowing for an outside view of the course, as well as providing a singular half pipe jump.
  • Uniqueness Rule: Downplayed. The local multiplayer mode disallows two players from picking the same character. This is mostly for flavour reasons, but the characters do provide a few character-specific stat boosts.
  • Unlockable Content: In addition to having unlockable characters and vehicles, the game goes as far as rewarding players who score well not only in Grand Prix but also in Time Trial. For the former, this means not only winning the Gold Cups but also performing will enough to get at least one star in the ranks. For the latter, this means unlocking the famously difficult Staff Ghost racers, but luckily you don't need to beat their records.
  • Variable Mix: Some tracks have added sound effects inside of caves. A distortion effect is added whenever the player is shrunk or flattened due to item or track effects. As a specific example, Toad's Factory adds clapping to the music while you're indoors.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If a person tries to grief other races online by deliberately hanging back or running the course in reverse to get more powerful items, the game would end up disconnecting them for being too far behind.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential: This game and Mario Kart 7 introduced global online leaderboards where you could show your custom Mii and his custom name to the world. Kinda makes you chuckle/stare in shock when the guy with the fastest time in a weekly contest is called "Penis Man!" complete with penis face.
  • Windmill Scenery: As so many other rural settlements, Moo Moo Meadows features a windmill that lies in the background near the end of the track.
  • The Wrong Way on the Escalator: You can invoke this in the course Coconut Mall by going either up the down escalator or down the up escalator. It's possible to reach the top by doing this, though it will slow you down quite a bit (unless you use a mushroom power-up to speed up the escalator).
  • Your Size May Vary: A strange example comes with Waluigi, who's as skinny as a rake, and yet is classed as a heavyweight, because of weight classes going by character height in addition to weight. The same reasoning puts King Boo, a ghost who shouldn't weigh anything at all, in the heavyweight class, as well as Rosalina, who remains a heavyweight in later titles.


Video Example(s):


Coconut Mall

Isle Delfino's resident shopping mall with food and store venues for racers to drive past, complete with a parking lot.

Credit to GamerJGB on YouTube.

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5 (3 votes)

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Main / TheMall

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