It's Mario Kart. End of review. Oh, you've never played Mario Kart before? You're a f*cking liar. My grandma has played Mario Kart, and she died before the NES was even released. My point is, you know what MK is and this is all of that, just done a little bit better. On the plus side that means a new bullet bill item that will mysteriously never pop up for whatever reason, (upon beating the game I only received it once and saw it used three times), some new courses (with some of the later ones being very cool), a new multiplayer battle game called shine runners that I personally prefer over the traditional balloon popping one (though that is still there too), several new battle courses, and lots of fun missions to play to test your skills. Yay for run on sentences!
Mario Kart is great, by the way. I hate racing games and still love Mario Kart, and I know several people this applies to. That's not to say there are no faults. Blowing up your balloons with the mic in battle mode seems like a good idea on paper, but ruined it for me, as it doesn't consistently work well and just becomes a hassle. Playing through the cups can also be a bit annoyingly formulaic, as you pretty much know that if you get less than third place on any race you might as well start over, since your opponents will almost always land in the same spots (a long time tiff of mine with the series). There's also the fact that, while there are many unlockables, getting them all essentially requires playing through repeatedly on higher difficulties, and most of the unlockables just aren't all that great.
In the end Mario Kart is the same great game you love with some fun new additions, and one minor setback (unless you like blowing up the balloons that is). So if you love MK you should absolutely play this, but be warned, there's really not that much different here. Half the courses are even taken from previous games. Now I took that as awesome, making it almost like a best of title, but some may take it as lazy recycling. It's all up to you, I guess, but I can if nothing else guarantee that you will almost certainly at least have a good time.
GAMEPLAY- **** 1/2