It’s no secret that Mario Kart 8 is one of the Wii U’s best games. Heck, the argument could be made that the game is responsible for saving the console last summer, months before Super Smash Bros. for Wii U would see the light of day.
The game has a robust community and was widely streamed on Twitch for most of 2014, but it’s also clear that the enthusiasm for the game has dipped a bit from its height. Nintendo has attempted to keep players engaged by releasing new DLC including new tracks and characters, but some Mario Kart pros who have accomplished all there is to do in the game have moved on to other games.
Then came the announcement during last week’s Nintendo Direct that, in addition to the upcoming Animal Crossing DLC, Nintendo would for the first time release a 200cc difficulty for Mario Kart 8. This new mode will have players flying around the track faster than ever before, and seems aimed at bringing back those veteran players who had run out of challenges. If the new video above is any indication, it looks like the 200cc mode might breathe new life into the game as it approaches its one year anniversary this summer.
To be clear, this mode is not for everyone. The Mario Kart series has always been known for the ability to drift karts around corners by hitting the brakes just right, but 200cc puts a laser focus on precision and accuracy. Hit the brakes too soon or too late and the kart is likely to drift right into a wall or over a cliff. Gamers will also have to relearn their favorite tracks, as those shortcuts might not open up on the track the same way they did before.
This extra speed should add a new layer of suspense to online matches. In fact, this mode looks like it was built from the ground up for competitive play. Nintendo doesn’t have a ton of experience with eSports, but the company has done more in recent years to support tournaments featuring Smash Bros. and may also be looking to position its upcoming shooter Splatoon as a competitive game. If the Big N wants another way to keep the Mario Kart community engaged, perhaps it could use the 200cc mode as the backbone for an officially sanctioned Mario Kart championship.
At the very least, it appears Mario Kart fans will have reason to get hooked on the game all over again when the 200cc mode releases in about two weeks.
Mario Kart 8 is available now on Wii U.