Mario Kart 8 reviews have started to go live ahead of the Wii U game's release later this month.
"This is Nintendo serving up unprecedented helpings of joy as only it can," we said in our Mario Kart 8 review. "Each and every track is a delight to experience," it reads, and "the master of karting is a real looker to boot."
To give you a taste of what other critics thought, we've rounded up a number of review scores below, along with short excerpts from the verdicts.
- CVG: 9/10 - This is a multiplayer event showcasing Nintendo doing what it does best: bashing your expectations (which should already have been lofty) into dust and then rebuilding them anew into something bigger and better than you had imagined.
- Official Nintendo Magazine: 96%: Every Mario Kart's offered something new, but few feel like they've changed the series' formula so importantly - this is a line in the sand. Magnificent.
- Edge: 9/10 - Mario Kart 8 is as essential a purchase as Super Mario 3D World. Whether it will give Nintendo's console the sales boost it so desperately needs is another matter, but however it plays out, Mario Kart 8 is yet another overwhelmingly powerful argument in favour of the company's idiosyncratic approach to design.
- GamesRadar: 4/5 - Mario Kart 8 is a slick and gorgeous-looking kart racer that's perfectly solid but not always as exciting or addictive as we've come to expect from the series.
- Eurogamer: 10/10 - Video game players are familiar with the law of diminishing returns. Even as new entries in a series tirelessly improve upon their predecessors, our interest nevertheless wanes; with games, improved is somehow less exciting than new. Mario Kart 8 is a rare thing, then: the best entry in a series and the most exciting yet.
- IGN: 9/10 - Mario Kart 8 is the best kart racing game Nintendo has made in a long time. It strikes a careful balance between refining old ideas while introducing fresh new ones. Admittedly, its gorgeous graphics and jazzy orchestrated soundtrack bolster its presentation, but you're getting a lot more than just looks with this one.
- GameSpot: 8/10 - Mario Kart is one of my favorite franchises, but it's hard to get excited for the same old thing. But the more I played, the more I appreciated the many small changes, and grew to love my time in the Mushroom Kingdom. And now that yawn has changed to a shout of joy. It's more Mario Kart! I'm happy Nintendo still understands what makes this series so darn fun.
- Joystiq: 4.5/5 - Despite an unfortunate change to its battle mode, MK8 is a solid extra lap on a series with a great foundation. The gravity-shifting sections spliced into existing and new tracks feel like a natural extension of the series rather than a gameplay-changing revelation, but it's a strong compliment to an already enjoyable experience.
- VideoGamer: 9/10 - Mario Kart's Wii U debut ticks all the necessary boxes. Drifting, weapons, the simple to learn yet hard to master handling, expletives your mother would be ashamed of, some of the best local multiplayer imaginable: all return. Taking an inspired approach from the DS iterations, the eighth entry in the series is easily among the best yet.
- Polygon: 9/10 - It doesn't bring massive innovations to the formula, but it's overflowing in that Nintendo magic that makes it so easy to forget about minor shortcomings. Its gorgeous looks and tightly developed sense of speed ensured that I was never left unhappy after a race, even when I blew it and came in near the end. What more could I ask for than a game that keeps me smiling even when I lose?
- Game Informer: 92.5/100 - Mario Kart 8 should certainly be added to the list of top-tier entries, and none of the previous titles can boast the rock-solid total package that this one offers. Say what you will about Nintendo sticking with the tried and true, but I have no problem with that as long as it stays this fun.
- Telegraph: 4.5/5 - You'd be hard pressed to argue against the potency and sheer joy of Mario Kart 8's racing and track design. It might be too late to completely turn around the Wii U's fortunes, but when Nintendo are releasing games as good as this, it may just have a chance.
- Destructoid: 9/10 - Mario Kart 8 is my favorite series entry since Double Dash, and if it gets arena battle tracks at some point by way of DLC, it will be a near-perfect package. Its vibrant visuals will hold up for years to come, ensuring that the game will withstand the test of time, and it will be a staple in my household for a long, long while.
- GameTrailers: 8.6/10 - The overall high quality of the game is so impressive that it doesn't really matter that much that the zero-gravity gimmick barely adds anything that's truly new. Next time around, though, Nintendo might need to come up with new tricks if it hopes to keep us coming back for more.
- NowGamer: 8.5/10 - New weapons, careful balancing (outside of that rubber-banding) and a bevy of gorgeous, superbly-designed tracks makes Mario Kart 8 quite easily one of the most thoroughly enjoyable experiences on the Wii U.
- ShackNews: 8/10 - This entry doesn't feel like it's content to retread old ground. With the addition of new visual capabilities, stellar track design, and a continued slow march toward modern online functionality, this is the best the series has been since the GameCube era.
- NintendoLife: 9/10 - A few design oddities aside, this joins the list of must-have Nintendo games on the Wii U; it's an accomplished effort that pushes the franchise forward. In years to come the debates over the best Mario Kart games in the series will, inevitably, feature this as a contender.
- NintendoWorldReport: 7.5/10 - I like playing Mario Kart 8. I think it's a satisfactory entry in the series, but nothing more. The final package ends up feeling like someone who covers themselves in makeup to hide the fact that they are 10 years older than they are pretending to be.
- Digital Spy: 4/5: Mario Kart 8 is a conservative update, choosing to polish and refine rather than reinvent, but it's still as alluring a racer as it ever has been.