Mario Kart madness is almost upon us again, as the portly plumber and chums return to the racetrack this May. Mario Kart 8, the first home console addition to the series since 2008's mega-successful Wii outing, will take players back to the shellacious streets of the Mushroom Kingdom, on a quest to burn rubber, blast Bowsers and claim those all-important bragging rights.
There's little doubt that Nintendo is targeting big things from this gas-guzzling sequel. Having shifted over 35 million units of its last-gen predecessor, the Japanese company could be forgiven for expecting another monster hit - a system seller of the highest order signalling a glorious reversal in its fortunes.
If the game's merchandising is anything to go by, then Ninty is making every effort to repeat that runaway success. Spotted by IGN earlier this week, a Mario Kart 8 Racing Wheel has now appeared for pre-order at the British retailer GAME. Priced at £9.99 (roughly $16), the updated overlay appears to feature rubberized grips and a cutaway '3/4' design. Nintendo has yet to comment on or verify the leaked info, with American pricing likely to follow any official confirmation.
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In other Mario Kart 8 news, Nintendo UK has unveiled a trio of screenshots detailing 3 of the game's fresh tracks in action. The first, 'Mario Circuit,' should be instantly familiar to any longtime fans of the franchise, but, as the new image makes clear, a small number of tweaks and changes have occurred. Screenshot number 2 meanwhile features candy-themed racetrack 'Sweet Sweet Canyon,' and a crooked hairpin bend certain to excite fans of the game's power sliding mechanics. The third and final image focuses upon 'Thwomp Ruins,' an Aztec-alike map dedicated to the Mushroom Kingdom's surly, scowling stones.
Given that the Wii U gamepad already takes advantage of a vaguely steering wheel-esque design (at least more so than conventional controllers), and that the Wiimote itself already has a plastic driving peripheral, this new product seems somehow doubly unnecessary. Indeed, the design doesn't even make an attempt to accommodate the lengthier Wiimote plus — a bulky upgrade to the standard Wii controller that was eventually superseded by the all-in-one 'Wii Remote Plus.' In short, the latter fits, but the former doesn’t — leaving owners of the original upgrade out in the cold.
Are there any benefits to utilizing a wheel peripheral over a standard controller? Should Nintendo have designed the overlay to accommodate the Wii U pad instead? What's your all-time favorite Mario Kart track? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check in with all of the latest Wii U news, right here on Game Rant.
Mario Kart 8 will appear in stores and online — via the Nintendo eShop - on May 30, 2014. The game is currently exclusive to the Wii U.
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