Nintendo World Report recently got their hands on a playable demo of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U and have confirmed that Shyguy and Metal Mario have been added to the roster, bringing the grand total so far to 26 different racers. They also didn’t have anything nice to say about Mario Kart 8‘s Gamepad features, calling it “generic, boring and dumb.”
Nintendo is already having a hard time selling new consumers on the benefit of the Wii U’s Gamepad, so when one of their own first-party exclusives barely makes use of the feature, that’s certainly not going to help matters.
Personally, off-screen play is a huge benefit and probably my favorite innovation this console generation, but I’m surprised that Nintendo isn’t offering pure multiplayer off-screen play with Mario Kart 8, especially when Sega did such an awesome job doing so with Sonic & All-Stars Racing: Transformed back when the Wii U launched.
In English, you will not be able to play against your friend using the Gamepad while they play on the TV using the Pro Controller or Wiimote, and that’s a huge bummer. It also means local co-op will max out at 4-player split-screen play with no hope of adding a 5th person using the Gamepad.
According to NWR, you can use the Gamepad for one of three different things —
- Horn: Just like E3 2013, you have a horn that you can honk.
- Map: Akin to the 3DS/DS entries in the series, the second screen turns into a map.
- TV Screen: It shows exactly what is on the TV screen. So if you’re playing split-screen, it’ll show exactly what the TV shows.
Mario Kart 8 does look gorgeous and play amazingly, as I had the chance to check it out during last summer’s Wii U Experience event at Best Buy, and it’s true that having off-screen multi-player would have tripped up the graphics slightly, but as NWR put it, “if that’s the kind of thing that can’t be worked out on a Nintendo game on the Wii U, then what is the point of even having the GamePad as a controller?”
This will be the 2nd major Wii U exclusive released this year that will make little to no use of the Gamepad features, which is supposed to be a huge selling point for the console.
Bradley Keene is an avid gamer & freelance blogger from Baltimore, MD who typically handles news and reviews here at What’s Your Tag?. If he’s not knee-deep in an RPG or some form of Nintendo game, he’s usually watching terrible horror films or listening to Gwar. Follow him on Twitter @amgfail_WYT, or contact him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.