Mario Kart Wii

Last updated date: July 24, 2019

DWYM Score
8.5

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We looked at the top 1 Wii Games and dug through the reviews from 20 of the most popular review sites including Metacritic, IGN, Trusted Reviews, GameSpot, Common Sense Media, Thunderbolt Games, Wired, Nintendo Life, Den of Geek, Euro Gamer, Game Revolution, Giant Bomb, Video Gamer, Nintendo World Report, Game FAQs, VG Chartz, Game Zone, Game Grin, Honest Gamers, Worth Playing and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Wii Game you should buy.

Overall Take

Rev your engine for the Wii's take on "Mario Kart." The wheel shell adds a new dimension to an already epic game. The controls are simple to manage but tough to master, and you'll never get bored with 32 unique courses. It's a great buy for players of all ages. In our analysis of 115 expert reviews, the Wii Wii Nintendo Mario Kart placed 3rd when we looked at the top 8 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note August 12, 2019:
Checkout The Best Wii Game for a detailed review of all the top wii games.

Expert Summarized Score
8.1
20 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.3
2,337 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Mario Kart Wii is extremely rewarding and we take into account the Wii wheel shell (yes, we just complimented a shell…), the inclusion of IR and non-IR supported menus, the seamless integration of console Miis, and never-ending laundry list of WiiConnect24 and Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection features, the continued support of traditional control schemes, the retro levels, and much more.
- IGN
April 20, 2008 | Full review
Mario Kart Wii follows Mario Kart DS by taking the competition online too. As always, hooking up via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service is a breeze, and the game soon finds up to eleven other racers – on your continent or worldwide as you choose – to race against.
- Trusted Reviews
February 5, 2011 | Full review
Huge number of courses, including some of the most imaginative yet.
- GameSpot
April 25, 2008 | Full review
The courses have been designed beautifully with the lushness that you’d come to expect from Nintendo, each with tricky sequences of corners but also with plenty of straights and dips and dives in order to keep the race fast and frantic.
- Thunderbolt Games
April 11, 2008 | Full review
The aforementioned online mode does work well, even though Nintendo still refuses to let people chat with their friends during a match, and still requires the input of sixteen-digit Friend Codes before you can add anyone to your friends list. But the gameplay is lag-free, and all kinds of races and battles are available to you.
- Wired
May 2, 2008 | Full review
You’re playing Mario Kart against people from across the world. It doesn’t lag. It doesn’t glitch. It just works.
- Nintendo Life
April 14, 2008 | Full review
The button controls are laid out well, and pulling off drifts and firing power-ups is easy while driving, maybe even moreso than standard controls.
- Den of Geek
April 17, 2008 | Full review
Powersliding has been at the absolute core of the Mario Kart experience ever since the SNES game. Now that the d-pad-friendly wiggling of the DS game has been removed, sliding in Mario Kart Wii is all about controlling the perfect line with gentle, progressively applied counter-steer. That is far easier and more satisfying with the Wii remote than it is with a stick, and the gorgeous Wii Wheel makes it more enjoyable still.
- Euro Gamer
One positive new development, on the other hand, is the mid-air stunt scheme, accomplished by a flip of the Wii-mote or Wii-wheel just as you’re ramping from the ground. Your driver does a showy X-Games-style trick in the air, and gets a decent speed-boost by way of reward after hitting the ground again (hopefully, you’ve managed to stay pointing in the right direction) – hence, all the new half-pipes, ramps, slopes, and moguls.
- Game Revolution
April 30, 2008 | Full review
In addition to the different character weight classes, there are now a number of different karts and motorbikes to choose from, each with a unique handling profile that can have a very dramatic effect on how the game handles.
- Giant Bomb
Mario Kart Wii is an excellent return to form for the series and tremendous fun when played with friends in split-screen or online. Online is brilliant.
- Video Gamer
April 16, 2008 | Full review
Bikes and tricks fit smoothly into the formula.
- Nintendo World Report
May 3, 2008 | Full review
There’s no doubt about it, MK Wii is one of the most enjoyable racing experiences on the Wii.
- Game FAQs
March 23, 2009 | Full review
This is the first Mario Kart on a home console to feature online play and considering this is a Nintendo game the online mode is very well developed: You can play with friends, share ghost data and compete in wi-fi matches where you and a friend play together via online.
- VG Chartz
April 20, 2008 | Full review
The game gets major points for the fantastic online mode and well conceived control setups.
- Game Zone
May 4, 2012 | Full review
The controls of the game are as simple as pushing over a small child when they are wearing a pair of ice skates. When using the wheel, you can opt to have either Manual or Automatic drifting.
- Game Grin
If there's one change that works universally well, it's the much-needed inclusion of online multiplayer. Finally, you can challenge racers from around the world in either versus or battle modes. The game's point and matchmaking systems ensure that you are constantly paired with drivers around your same skill level, and at least now you know that the blue shell that knocked you from first to sixth at the finish line came from a person — a person with a soul who will eventually go to hell for doing such things, rather than the heartless AI.
- Worth Playing
May 19, 2008 | Full review
What experts didn't like
If you grew up with Kart, you will not find the Wii iteration full of pioneering new play modes, which might prove disappointing for some.
- IGN
April 20, 2008 | Full review
Nostalgia doesn't save most of the classic courses from being boring.
- GameSpot
April 25, 2008 | Full review
The inclusion of bikes has me baffled. I didn’t like the bikes in Project Gotham 4 because it felt they were there not because they needed to be, but because they could be, and it feels the same way in Mario Kart Wii, that something visually new had to be done to differentiate between this and the rest of the series.
- Thunderbolt Games
April 11, 2008 | Full review
Ruined battle mode, not enough customization options.
- Wired
May 2, 2008 | Full review
Sadly the game looks hideous and is poorly presented and put together. The menu screens and the visuals really make you think “rush job”.
- Nintendo Life
April 14, 2008 | Full review
The battle modes are now solely team based, with no option for free-for-all battles, and the balloon mode no longer eliminates racers when all balloons are popped, but instead respawns them with three more.
- Den of Geek
April 17, 2008 | Full review
The Wii Wheel is pointless: it's just a plastic housing for the remote, and you can play the game just as well by holding the ends of the remote and steering.
- Euro Gamer
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.).
- Game Revolution
April 30, 2008 | Full review
The multiplayer options are bolstered by the inclusion of online play, which kind of alleviates the sad fate of playing Mario Kart all by yourself, albeit in the silent, heavily insulated world of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, where it's difficult to play with friends and strangers at the same time.
- Giant Bomb
Infuriating at times.
- Video Gamer
April 16, 2008 | Full review
Lacks any personality or true affiliation with other Mario games.
- Nintendo World Report
May 3, 2008 | Full review
There’s nothing that really stands out in the games soundtrack.
- Game FAQs
March 23, 2009 | Full review
Looking at the whole picture (or rather listening to all songs), the sound is good and supports the flair of the game, but won’t stick in your head after you played the game.
- VG Chartz
April 20, 2008 | Full review
The music isn’t particularly memorable and some of the voice work is on the annoying side.
- Game Zone
May 4, 2012 | Full review
But as Online Multiplayer is new to the Mario Kart scene, there is bound to be issues, and there is. When playing you may experience randoms popping out of nowhere or watching them disappear clean off the track just to see them re-appear in front of you. Another thing I don't like is the idea of the Friend codes.
- Game Grin
The graphics and sound don't take much of a leap forward from the GameCube edition, and the annoying warning noise coming through the Wiimote every time an opponent launches an item at you is enough to make you wince.
- Worth Playing
May 19, 2008 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Get behind the wheel! Perform speed-boosting flips and wheelies with the flick of a Wii Remote, or grab a Wii Wheel for even more fast-paced fun! Play friends locally on a single Wii, or hop onto Nintendo WFC for the biggest worldwide race yet! Wii Wheel sold separately. Broadband Internet access required for online play.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Wii Nintendo Super Mario Galaxy 2
Overall Score: 9.9
Expert Reviews: 7
2. Wii Nintendo New Super Mario Bros.
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 22
3. Mario Kart Wii
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 20
4. Mario Party 9
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 19
5. Wii Nintendo Sports
Overall Score: 7.8
Expert Reviews: 6
6. Wii Go Vacation (Bandai)
Overall Score: 7.2
Expert Reviews: 8
7. Wii Scooby Doo First Frights (WB Games)
Overall Score: 6.7
Expert Reviews: 4
8. THQ Wii uDraw GameTablet
Overall Score: 6.5
Expert Reviews: 7

An Overview On Wii Games

The Nintendo Wii is, both literally and figuratively, a game-changing console. The system brought an unprecedented level of physicality to mass-market video games, and it modernized smash-hit Nintendo franchises like “Super Mario Bros.” and “The Legend of Zelda.” The only hard part about owning a Wii is choosing which game you’ll play over the weekend. 

Every video game is shaped by its platform, and Nintendo’s best Wii games all capitalize on the console’s motion technology and groundbreaking controllers. Each player uses a wireless Wii Remote (or “Wiimote”), which communicates with your screen using gesture recognition. Translation: You control the onscreen action with a flip of your wrist.  

The best Wii games take advantage of the system’s controls in ways that feel natural. “Mario Kart for Wii” is a great example: Instead of hitting a button to make a sharp turn, you can attach a steering wheel for a more on-the-track experience.  

“Mario Kart for Wii” is one of the console’s most popular titles. It has a massive character roster to choose from, and the 32 unique tracks (with 16 tracks just for the Wii) keeps players guessing at every turn. The Grand Prix, Versus and Time Trial modes are perfect for single players or groups. Battle mode pits drivers against each other in a virtual demolition derby.

The “New Super Mario Bros.” is loaded with fresh power-ups. You can slide over long stretches of icy terrain with the Penguin Suit, reach new heights with the Propellor Mushroom and freeze Koopas with the Ice Flower. 

For the first time in Mario history, up to four characters can play on the screen at once. You’ll blaze through all eight worlds much faster with Luigi and Toad helping you out, then go up against Bowser to save the Princess with time to spare. 

“Mario Party” also still ranks as one of the best multiplayer games in Nintendo’s history. Players choose a character, then take turns rolling digital dice to move around the board. When they land on a space, they might have to play a minigame or challenge other players. The winner earns stars, and whoever has the most stars at the end of the game wins.   

The Wii’s “Mario Party 9” was a fun addition to the series, but it was met with some raised eyebrows. The unforgettable main Party Mode screen got a huge facelift: Instead of players moving around the board like analog game pieces, “Mario Party 9” had them all ride together in one cartoon car. 

Some players like the change of pace, while others feel that the switch up took away from the game’s competitive feel. Regardless, “Mario Party 9” has the minigames and multiplayer madness of its predecessors. 

The first “Super Mario Galaxy” game was a smash hit for the Wii, so Nintendo expanded the game’s story for a sequel. Mario floats from planet to planet in this 360-degree universe, knocking down Koopa Troopas and kicking Goombas into the stratosphere. The standard “Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach” storyline is intact, but this time Bowser is the size of a planet — and it’s up to you to knock him down a peg. Fans love its stunning graphics, nostalgic N64 levels and the return of Yoshi. 

Now that you’ve read our rundown of the Nintendo Wii’s smash hit titles, check out our Tips & Tricks to get the most out of your games. 

DYWM Fun Fact

The Wii remote was unlike any controller Nintendo had ever created. The wireless, motion-sensor technology created a phenomenal gaming experience. Despite the high-end tech inside the Wiimote, there was one thing that Nintendo couldn’t seem to get right: the wrist safety strap. 

The first Wiimotes were shipped out with a loose cable that hung around your wrist to stop your remote from flying out of your hand. Plot twist: It didn’t work very well. The strap was downright dangerous if it failed during a rousing round of golf or bowling. Customers started complaining, saying the Wiimote was flying out of their hands and cracking their TVs or injuring their fellow players. One woman even brought a class action suit against Nintendo, saying that the Wiimote’s faulty strap damaged her 52” TV after flying out of her son’s hand. 

Nintendo quickly released a second strap that had a plastic slider for a more secure fit, but the problems continued — strike two. Nintendo’s third version of the wrist strap had a locking slider, which resolved the issue and let fans get back to their favorite Wii games.

The Wii Game Buying Guide

  • Before you buy your game, check and see if your it requires any extra Wii accessories. You don’t have to buy the steering wheel accessory for “Mario Kart,” but it makes the game a lot more fun. 
  • Make sure you have enough Wiimotes for friends to come over and join the multiplayer fun. “Mario Party 9” and “Mario Kart” can liven up any get together. You also might want to buy a silicone cover for each Wiimote to protect it from drops. 
  • Find out how old your players will be before you select a game. Our top four picks have content that’s appropriate for all ages, but very young children might get frustrated by fast-paced games like “Mario Kart for Wii”. A slower-paced game, like “Mario Party 9,” will cause less frustration.
  • The Wii comes bundled with a second controller called the Nunchuk. It connects to the Wiimote via a small cable, and its joystick and trigger buttons will help your characters move more precisely. If you buy extra Wiimotes for multiplayer blowouts, you might need to buy Nunchuks.
  • Always loop the strap at the bottom of the Wiimote around your wrist before playing. Make sure it’s securely fastened with a close fit by shortening the strap with its plastic slider. The Wiimote can fly out of your hand if you forget to tighten the strap, putting you at risk for broken windows and damaged controllers.
  • The Wii’s motion-sensor controls make it downright addictive, but make sure you stop and take breaks during long gaming sessions. The repetitive motions can irritate tendons in your wrist, and learning to play with your opposite hand is more trouble than it’s worth.
  • Storing your Wii games in their cases instead of placing them on the TV or a table will prevent scratches that damage your game. You can also wipe down your Wii games with a clean, damp cotton cloth. Make sure you use straight strokes and wipe from the inner rim to the outer rim.