New Mario Kart Wii info reveals 12-player online, 16 new courses, new items and smooth controls

Mario Kart Wii logo
The latest issue of the American Nintendo Power games magazine reveals new info about the upcoming spring 2008 release of Mario Kart Wii.

The main points from the article are:
* Controls very smoothly.
* Graphics are much more detailed than previous iterations with great water and explosion effects.
* Sound is brilliant.
* 16 brand new courses along with many previous ones.
* Exciting new items.
* Performing stunts will earn you a sweet reward (doesn’t clarify what it is).
* Match-making process is much better with shortened times to get into a match.

Here is the full article with all the details:
Some days just rock, like the day you get your driver’s liscene or the day you win the lottery. For me, getting to test-drive Mario Kart for Wii was like combining both those events. Nintendo’s president, Satoru Iwata, spilled a few beans in an early-October presentation. He excited Mario Kart fans by confirming that the game will include Nintendo Wi-Fi connections for as many as 12 players, shortened times for matching up players online, intuitive steering-wheel control that will make it easier for novices to compete with veteran Karters, and the debut of motorcycles in the Mario Kart series. The video clips that Nintendo showcased online also hinted at the ability to perform cool stunts, such as pulling a wheelie with a motorcycle or spinning your kart 360 in the air. I’m here to tell you that it’s not just smoke and mirrors. Not only does executing a successful stunt look cool — you’ll get a sweet reward when you do it (Sorry I can’t be more specific-the version I played is still quite early, and lots may change between now and spring 2008.

Mario Kart DSAs for the return of Kart must-haves, expect 16 brand-new courses and lots of familiar locations based on tracks from throughout the series, enhanced with new features, of course, and boasting much greater visual detail than in any previous Kart title. You’ll sample this eye candy in the character animations and track elements such as rushing water or exploding fireballs. As for items expect some big newbies along with the tried-and-true Koopa shells, bananas, lightning bolts, and varieties of mushrooms. It’s too early to comment on all the game modes, but in addition to Grand Prix circuits, a variety of engine classes, and the online multiplayer races, there are sure to be several more challenges. You can also expect a colorful variety of kart styles, as seen in our screenshots.

Maybe the biggest question I had before playing the game was how the motion-based control would handle sharp corner and twisting course. I can sum up the answer with a single word: smoothly. As Mr. Iwata stated, driving a kart will feel perfectly natural to anyone who has ever used a steering wheel. You hold the Wii-mote in both hands with the buttons facing you (and that’s how it’ll fit into the steering-wheel accessory). Then you turn the wheel left or right. If you tilt it steeply, you’ll make a sharp turn. A gentle dip will ease you to one side. Buttons control acceleration, braking, and item use. I was blown away by the game’s elegance (even the sound was great), and there are several months of development yet to go. — Thanks for transcribing to Lobster.