Each game review is intended to answer the question:

“Is this game safe for my child to play?”

We want these to be a guide for parent-player conversations about games and allow for educated gaming decisions based on Christ-centered principals.

If you want more info on how we go about grading games, you can check out our Game Review Scoring Guide.

 

Mario Kart 8 – Overall Grade:  3.8 (Safe and enjoyable for all ages)

Grade Summary:

Mario Kart 8 offers competitive fun for a range of players and experience levels. The cartoony graphics are engaging, the game play is challenging and the game is a good example of how video games can be clean and still be fun.

SCORE

  • Violence & Gore: 3 (fairly low)
  • Sexuality: 4 (almost none)
  • Profanity: 4 (safe)
  • Spirituality: 4 (safe)
  • Length of Play: 4 (practical)
  • Theme: 4 (safe)

Platform: Wii U

Game Summary: Mario Kart 8 is a racing game, so the point is to win the race. There are silly and fantastical racetracks that make this difficult, and your opponents, both human and computer, have assorted weapons to try and slow you down to their advantage. The game is fun for a wide age-range of players and accessible for unskilled as well as skilled gamers.

Parent Discussions:

  • There will be opportunities to discuss how to win, and lose, graciously. Not everyone can win every race.
  • Weapons will be used to stop others from winning. Discuss how this is acceptable in a game where everyone knows the rules.
    • Kid Connection:
      • Hitting another player in football is ok, but using a weapon like a baseball bat is not.
      • Using a bat in Baseball is ok, but hitting another player is not. You have to play by the rules.

 

SCORE DETAILS

Violence & Gore: 3

  • The violence in Mario Kart 8 is cartoonish. The use of weapons on opponents is a major part of this game. All weapons are cartoonish and there is no gore or blood. Frustration at being knocked out of the lead just feet from the finish line may lead to important discussions of conflict resolution, however.

Sexuality: 4

  • There is no sexuality to speak of: Male and female characters alike are done in tasteful and whimsical cartoony fashions.

Profanity

  • No profanity beyond the possibility of those shouted by human opponents online or in the room with you.

 

Spirituality: 4

  • The game includes special abilities, such as collecting a star to yourself invincible. These powers do not have any particularly spiritual foundation or reference. This game is magic and spirituality free.

Length of Play: 4

  • An average race in Mario Kart 8 takes about 5 minutes.
  • The storyline takes about 5 – 6 hours to beat and can be done one race at a time.
  • Multiplayer can be done on the console and online. Races still take about the same amount of time.

Theme: 4

  • Mario Kart 8 keeps the focus on competitive cartoon racing. There is a message of competition, of winning, and even that losing is bad (characters who lose look sad).
  • While players are encouraged to take whatever advantage they can (short-cuts, use of shells to blast opponents out of the way, etc), these are well within the rules of the game and are not cheating.
  • Think of it like the difference between basketball and football. You want to win both games, but one lets you smash your opponents when they are trying to score and the other doesn’t. It could be a valuable conversation about understanding the rules and playing by them.

 

DLC: Downloadable Content

  • There are 2 expansion sets that can be purchased with more races and additional characters available. These purchases can be made through the console, so going to the store is not necessary. They run $8 each or $12 for a bundle including them both.
  • The short game play and short overall storyline play make these attractive options.
  • The replay ability is quite high as multiplayer is a major draw online and on console against friends and family.

 

This review is based off of player feedback, in-person interviews and online research that includes Plugged-In, Trusted Reviews, Wikipedia, Guide2Games, and Common Sense Media.