Back in early March, I visited Nintendo for what was perhaps the most intensive two weeks of kart racing ever undertaken. I was there to blow out all the courses, uncover the best racing lines, and unlock the hidden characters of Mario Kart for the Wii, waggling a plastic wheel judiciously in the process. The plan was theoretically straightforward; to offer up expert techniques for each of the game’s 32 tracks, and 10 battle arenas. We wanted you – the reader – to come away with something rather special; so we hooked up with 99 Lives Design; who helped create some of the very best Nintendo Power guides of the last decade, and got them drawing all the course maps, and designing the look of the guide itself.
Bullet Bill: An all-new power-up transformation allowing speedy recovery during a race.
After situating myself in one of the many conference rooms (mine, I think, was called “Donkey Kong”, as all Nintendo rooms are named after their characters), I began a meticulous playthrough of the game, and it wasn’t long before I realized Mario Kart Wii has a whole load more strategy and unlockables this time around. Having already authored the Mario Kart Double Dash guide, I was prepared for the technique known as “Drifting”, where you flick the control stick as you scream around a corner until blue sparks flicker from your rear wheels, but I was pleasantly surprised at the game-balancing changes have turned this technique into a really useful strategy. Then there was the subtle differences between karts and bikes.
This time around, Nintendo has added two-wheeled vehicles to the game, and these – quite simply – are brilliant to control. Although you can’t “turbo” out of a drift at quite the same speed as karts, they do offer an all-new technique that karts don’t have; the wheelie! Sacrificing quick steering in favor of a higher top speed, I was soon popping a wheelie along all the tracks with major straight-aways, and recording amazing lap times in the process. I made sure to mention which of the 32 tracks favors bikes over karts, and began to map racing lines showing exactly where the best places were to Drift, Mini-Turbo, and Wheelie. All of this before lunch; it took considerable will power to drag myself away from the game and up to Café Mario; Nintendo’s in-house restaurant, where I chowed down on a delicious Luigi Burger. After this power-up, I sprinted back to the game to uncover more of the tracks….
Next time: I skid at a break-neck pace around some of the all-new tracks, revisit old favorites, and check out Nintendo’s own record times for every course.
Purchase the only Official Mario Kart Strategy Guide HERE!