Mario Kart 8 review – Nintendo's classic is masterfully remodelled

Mario Kart 8

Against the odds, Nintendo seems to have perfected a model of perpetual resurgence.

While Xbox and PlayStation host the industry's blaring blockbusters, Nintendo's focus has turned inwards to its established roster of stars – none more so than dinky titan Mario.

In Mario Kart 8 he's on wheels rather than jumping platforms, but the approach is the same – reformulating and folding the series' recipe back on itself to maintain an extraordinarily imaginative high. Mario Kart is still about drifting, weapons pick-ups and scrambling multiplayer, but with the kind of light-touch tweaks that bring out the best in what's already there.

New weapons gel with the existing shells-and-mushroom line-up (and a sound-horn pick-up finally gives players a way of deflecting the infamous blue shell) while an anti-grav track design renders classic courses in free-form beauty. Flawless presentation – the game is in HD for the first time – rounds off a masterfully maintained classic.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Nathan Ditum, for The Observer on Sunday 1st June 2014 00.05 Europe/London

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