The Mario Kart series may never had a broken moment in its lustrous lifecycle, but they always manage to add more to the series and make it better than before. For their upcoming Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U they are hoping to take what they have learned and turn it upside-down...literally.
In the latest game some tracks will have racers twisting and turning above and below fellow racers. In the track I got to try out with my favorite racer (Donkey Kong) I started out normally, collecting my weapons and timing it right to use them against my fellows. Soon my world was flipped around, and I found myself racing upside-down and above Mario and the other drivers. What's also good is how natural it felt when the track made the unexpected turn, with my real-life perception and what's happening on screen not clashing against one another. To put it simply, those with motion sickness will have no problems with this new gaming elements.
There were also a couple other elements returning from past Mario Kart games. The hang-gliding and aquatic aspects have returned from Mario Kart 7, and the bikes from Mario Kart Wii also make their return. Graphically the Mario Kart world has never looked this good, with even the attention to the wind blowing on Donkey Kong's fur done very well.
Control-wise using the Gamepad feels quite natural. You can either play using the control sticks or -- like what I'm more used to -- use the motion aspect of the Gamepad and steer it like a real car. No lag was to be found between when I turned my control and Donkey Kong went in said direction. I also found it a bit humorous seeing the Gamepad screen being used primarily as your horn, perfect for those road rage enthusiasts.
Mario Kart 8 is due on the Wii U in 2014, but even from the build we saw I already know gamers everywhere will be in for yet another exciting installment that doesn't seem to ever get it wrong.