Generally favorable reviews - based on 73 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 65 out of 73
  2. Negative: 1 out of 73
Buy On
  1. 83
    You'll assuredly have plenty of fun with this, even if Nintendo's play-it-safe, dumb-it-down approach will make many longtime players yearn for something more ambitious and risky.
  2. AceGamez
    Mario Kart Wii has more variety, more to do, and ultimately more to keep you coming back than any Mario Kart before it (and as a hardcore advocate of the SNES original, I never thought I would find myself saying that); but more than that, it is a flagship title for the Nintendo Wii. Not only is Mario Kart Wii the most important title that will be released on the format this year, but it will stand the test of time as one of the best games the Wii has to offer.
  3. In the end, Mario Kart Wii aims for a high level of fun and depending on how new you are to the franchise; it actually manages to do that. There's plenty of room for improvement though.
  4. Despite some minor flaws, Nintendo's latest take on their classic kart racing series is definitely worth checking out.
  5. Previous control schemes have always worked well with Mario Kart, and you can still use variations on these by adjusting your options, but the new wheel just feels so intuitive you’ll be wondering why they bothered including them.
  6. If anyone tells you they don't like the game, then they probably don't like chocolate, the Superbowl or comedies either. There is so much fun packed into the title that all but the most "alternative" of core gamers are bound to love it.
  7. Mario Kart Wii feels recycled and simplified from past installments, but it's saved by a handful of creative and nostalgaic courses and it's excellent 12-player online matches.
  8. The Wii Wheel and the wide open online courses all make it a lot less difficult for first time karters.
  9. 80
    Mario Kart Wii is definitely up there with the other installments. A fairly limited single player appeal is enhanced by a comprehensive online service and a slightly toned-down but throughly enjoyable and flexible offline multiplayer mode.
  10. When everything is taken together Mario Kart is definitely another must buy game for Nintendo’s innovative system.
  11. The Wii's enormous "casual" gamer base will eat Mario Kart Wii up with its accessible pick-up-and-play controls. Veterans aren't left out either with online play they've been clamoring for well over a decade.
  12. Then there is the Wii Wheel peripheral itself, which if you did not already know is just a plastic housing for the Wiimote. I have to admit though it is a well made bit of plastic, and is not only smarter looking than the uninspired Wii Zapper, but also more ergonomic to hold. Unexpectedly it is very easy to use.
  13. 80
    After all the hype surrounding this game (or lack thereof), Mario Kart Wii is the same game we've been playing over and over again for years now, which either has you jumping up and down with glee or shaking your head in disgust.
  14. Newcomers will find a fast-paced, easy-to-play title that relishes in its own ability to capitalize on the wacky approachability and fun of Nintendo’s mascot characters.
  15. Edge Magazine
    Having sacrificed racing integrity in "Double Dash" to side with social silliness, Nintendo has turned 180 degrees into an awkward halfway house. [May 2008, p.86]
  16. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    While Mario Kart Wii is predictably similar to its predecessors, something has changed with this installment. Something that makes it feel subtly unlike other Mario Karts--and not a change for the better. [June 2008, p.73]
  17. Ultimately, the sheer sensory pleasure of playing Mario Kart Wii - from the charming animations, to the bopping tunes, to the sugar-rush boosting, to the exquisite steering - far overcomes the few concerns we have about it. It still has to be docked a mark for the awkward structure and compromised multiplayer modes - but it's still unreservedly recommended to anyone for whom Mario Kart is a gaming cornerstone.
  18. Mario Kart Wii is exactly what you would expect from this franchise, a solid offer that doesn't offer anything new, yet still manages to retain its appeal. Especially if you manage to get a few friends together to play it or decide to give use to its solid online capabilities.
  19. Mario Kart boils down to a whole lot of luck and very little skill.
  20. This is a great game, single- or multiplayer, online or off.
  21. The weapons can get a little overwhelming and frustrating at times, especially when you’re in the lead (and the frankly unfair brutality of the 150cc-class rubber-banding, curse-evoking A.I.), but most of what’s in place, both old and new, still makes for a romping good time, locally or globally.
  22. The overuse of power-ups is blatantly ridiculous and the general design hasn't changed much, but Kart is still a riotous romp.
  23. Mario Kart Wii is a complete game. Of course, the addition of the online mode makes this title a keeper and a must have title for your Wii collection but for unconditional local multiplayer lovers, the offline mode has also received some upgrades and tweaks.
  24. At sixteen years young, Mario Kart has now made it to the Wii. Whilst fans of the series may lament some of the changes, it generally works well on the new platform. The focus has shifted away from a heavy skill requirement towards simply offering more entertainment.
  25. A must-own Wii racer that pays multiplayer dividends.
  26. 95
    The refined gameplay, the super slick presentation and the flexible controls all add up to one of the finest racing experiences ever.
  27. With Mario Kart being the epitome of racing franchises for many years, it is sad to see how little the game changes its dry formula and actually takes several leisurely steps at addressing failing issues.
  28. Mario Kart has been around for nearly every Nintendo system, with the Wii's version acting more like a "Greatest Hits" compilation of past racing glory.
  29. Mario Kart Wii is a great new game in the series. It still plays like a dream and is perhaps the most enjoyable game of the last few years. Even the additions of motorcycles, Wii-Wheel and online mode are suprisingly good. Mario Kart Wii even does something which most other games lack: It brings fun.
  30. Perhaps the best in the series. The online is better than Mario Kart DS', and the graphics are the best in the series. The only thing that may deter some players is the obnoxious power of the items.
  31. Between the local and online multiplayer, as well as the plethora of single-player challenges available, this is the kind of game that has a ton of replay value. No, it’s not an overhaul, but it is an extremely solid entry in the series that lives up to the Mario Kart name.
  32. Games Master UK
    It's the ultimate Mario Kart package rather than the best, but it's still a lot of fun. [Apr 2008, p.47]
  33. games(TM)
    It might seem like the most complete Mario Kart experience yet, but in reaching for a wider audience, Nintendo may have lost sight of what made the series great in the first place. [May 2008, p.112]
  34. It's a fast and fun racing game that is easy enough for beginners to pick up and enjoy while still a challenge for veteran players to master. The addition of online play (other than it's not so friendly friends system) and the introduction of the Wii’s motion technology add even more oil to what is already a pretty slick offering.
  35. Mario Kart Wii offers varied multiplayer and thoroughly integrated online modes that will keep you coming back for more.
  36. 90
    The offline and online content is extremely entertaining and the pursuit of casual and hardcore karting has never been this much fun.
  37. 80
    Mario Kart Wii doesn't stray far from the beaten track, but it has enough going to dazzle first-time MK drivers and a few new upgrades to challenge the long-time Karters, too.
  38. This is the first case of Nintendo not finding a happy medium between accessibility and servicing hardcore players. Yet if you get a group of people together on a Saturday night to play you'll be the only one complaining.
  39. The core Mario Kart gameplay remains basically unchanged, but it’s well executed and slightly enhanced by minor tweaks and a variety of control setups. The online mode is the real star here, however.
  40. Mario Kart Wii is the penultimate multiplayer experience on the Wii, and a must-own title for anyone serious about gaming.
  41. However, Mario Kart Wii is second on the series' podium as it rides alongside the N64 version’s tried-and-true track quality, offers the online play that the 64DD never brought around and sports superior graphics that make its 11-year-old counterpart look very dated on today's big-screen televisions.
  42. In the end, I'd have to give Nintendo a big pat on the back for this one.
  43. Personally, I’m completely tired of getting exactly what I expect.
  44. 80
    In spite of a few valid criticisms, Mario Kart Wii is a ton of fun, albeit being the same experience as always wrapped in a different package.
  45. For anyone who has their Wii up and running online, you should definitely take the plunge, because the game's strengths will outweigh its flaws. If you can only play this game offline, however, then unless you're a masochist (or someone psychotic like me, who actually managed to get to the final stage of F-Zero GX’s crazy-hard Story Mode) pass on this; in fact, I'd go so far as to advise you to run in the other direction.
  46. 85
    There are some things that feel completely out of whack though, such as the uncharacteristically cheap AI in 150cc, the lack of voice chat for an extremely social online game, reliance on friend codes, and "everyone's a winner" feeling you get when random items show up and completely turn the game upside down in an instant.
  47. 79
    While Mario Kart Wii is an enjoyable sequel we can't help but be a little disappointed that the same level of effort Nintendo put into Mario Galaxy and Smash Bros. isn't mirrored here.
  48. 89
    Despite initial fears, this is proper Mario Kart, and it's Mario Kart done right. It's fast, it's fun and still one of the best party games ever created. Thanks to some seriously well-implemented online options though, it brings so much more to the table than its forebears, most notably in terms of longevity.
  49. Nintendo have managed to make the Wii-wheel work – something we were very sceptical about – and they’ve managed to bring Mario Kart online play to our TVs. Besides a few niggles with unfair A.I. and some average tracks, this is a valuable addition to the series.
  50. 85
    There are some problems here -- the removal of fully manual power sliding, rubber band AI, overpowered items, no voice chat, overall slowness -- but they're forgivable, for the most part. If you can get over them, Mario Kart is a truly great multiplayer Wii title.
  51. We're treated to the same formula as we got the last time, with the major addition being the online mode. It’s not much, but since Mario Kart is all about playing together it's enough to make this an entertaining package.
  52. Maxi Consolas (Portugal)
    Still terribly fun with its competitive online modes and a great use of the Wii Wheel. And at the end of the day, it presents the traditional polished and shiny look of all of Nintendo’s big guns that we simply love. [May 2008]
  53. Don't expect revolutionary new things, but if you're after good clean fun on your Wii with mates or against online opponents - you can't get much better than this.
  54. n-Revolution Magazine UK
    It's the most complete Mario Kart package yet. [Issue#22, p.60]
  55. netjak
    Mario Kart Wii is fairly fun, although I do have to wonder how much play it will get in single-player mode. In multiplayer, you just have a blast with your friends.
  56. A really solid Mario Kart with a terrific online setup. There's plenty here to make up for the disappointment of local multiplayer, but it does stop short of magnificence.
  57. Nintendo Power
    With more features, modes and multiplayer options than ever before, fans should be revved up to get behind the wheel. [May 2008, p.86]
  58. Mario Kart Wii has many faults. But when it’s good, it’s very, very good, and as long as you have Wi-Fi, it will keep you occupied for many months to come.
  59. Mario Kart Wii is ultimately much the same game as Mario Kart DS, but this is forgivable due to its drastically improved online functionality along with some welcome gameplay additions and tweaks.
  60. Official Nintendo Magazine UK
    A fantastic racer and the best online Nintendo game ever. [Apr 2008, p.58]
  61. 80
    One thing Mario Kart Wii features a lot of is multiplayer options.
  62. Pelit (Finland)
    Mario Kart Wii against 11 real opponents is intense and exhilarating. Sometimes it's also infuriating but in the end that too is mostly a good thing. Still, something should have been done to the power ups of old. Fire and forget weapons and small chances of escape aren't the best combination. While the multiplayer side shines the single player parts are a let-down. Driving against cheating opponent and being constantly bombarded is frustrating. [May 2008]
  63. 85
    The package as a whole works well, not because of the packed in wheel, not because of the new content and innovation, but because Nintendo have proved that they understand what it is that makes this series great - the balance between racing and fighting.
  64. Nintendo decided to play it safe and fans of the series certainly won't mind.
  65. The bright, shiny visuals—now available in 480p—and the slide-whistle sound effects will make depressives choke on their Zoloft doses.
  66. Fast paced and colorful, Mario is a simple, enormously fun game that can suck up the hours as you continually say, "just one more race."
  67. Nintendo's draconian online service isn't a reason to dislike Mario Kart Wii in the same way that it's wrong to dislike a really beautiful woman because her husband is a complete tosser...As a Wii owner, we've got the definitive racing game on the console.
  68. This game gets a high recommendation for the multiplayer aspect but if you're in a position where you're going to be exploring single player consider this merely recommended.
  69. An excellent return to form for the series and tremendous fun when played with friends in split-screen or online. The often infuriating Grand Prix mode is likely to polarise gamers though, with some loving the unpredictability of it while others will simply give up after being taken down at the last minute by yet another Spiny Blue Shell.
  70. 60
    [Mario Kart Wii's Battle Mode] is no longer a last-man-standing contest: Matches now last three minutes each, and if your kart takes too much damage, don't worry! You'll just respawn. Even worse, all battles are now played in teams of two. So while you can still have four human players, they can't all face off against each other -- and what's the point of that?
  71. At its core, Mario Kart Wii is a simple, accessible title that lends itself to fun-filled evenings with friends on the couch or online games with racers halfway around the world.
  72. Mario Kart Wii features an impressive online experience, but falls a bit short in the offline content.
  73. 85
    The most solid, accessible and fun experience console gaming has seen in some time.

Awards & Rankings

#2 Most Discussed Wii Game of 2008
#5 Most Shared Wii Game of 2008
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 768 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 249
  1. Jun 10, 2011
    This is the best Mario Kart Yet, from amazing tracks to amazing gameplay, to the bullet bills that can help you when youre doing bad, to theThis is the best Mario Kart Yet, from amazing tracks to amazing gameplay, to the bullet bills that can help you when youre doing bad, to the blue shells that knock me out of first a lot where it provides a challenge for me to get back into first, to the many fun gameplay modes in multiplayer, especially 3-4 players, is really fun. Its really fun to play with friendss. Its the best Mario Kart yet, and unlike some people believe, even though there are items that can help you, this game does take some skill Full Review »
  2. CallumM
    May 7, 2008
    I am a fan of most Nintendo products and mario kart Wii being one of the better games. As if you use the Wii wheel it add some more realism I am a fan of most Nintendo products and mario kart Wii being one of the better games. As if you use the Wii wheel it add some more realism into the game instead of using the joy stick. And it is a game you can play with most age groups. and i like how in incorporates most of the courses from the older games. this is a must have game for Wii gamers. Full Review »
  3. Jul 5, 2011
    Mario Kart Wii is one of the best racing games around. That said, I feel it is overrated. It's awesome, but Mario Kart Wii just relies tooMario Kart Wii is one of the best racing games around. That said, I feel it is overrated. It's awesome, but Mario Kart Wii just relies too much on pure LUCK. The items are pure luck, and are not even balanced. A person in last place could go straight up into the Top 3 with a Bullet Bill. And don't even get me started on that SPINY SHELL! My sister plays this game a lot, and, more than once, she was hit by 5+ items in a row just as she was about to win. Once, she was hit by a Spiny Shell, then a Red Shell, then another Spiny, then another Red Shell, then a Green Shell. So ridiculously ANNOYING! Luckily, Time Trials exist. In this mode, you can play on your own with no opponents, no item boxes, and 3 Mushrooms at the start. Multiplayer mode was nice, but it needed far more modes. Wi-Fi, too. The only thing that I still play Mario Kart Wii to do is race Time Trial ghosts. That was fun. So, in conclusion, this is a great game to get if you have friends who would be willing to play with you, because multiplayer is the reason to buy this game, and Time Trials is also great, but don't expect much more than that other than loads of frustration. Full Review »