Mario Kart is a franchise that has always been a blast to play, whether it be on a tv screen or a handheld console. Much like Smash Bros is associated with a Gamecube controller, I am a big believer that Mario Kart should use the Wii Wheel at all times. It just feels right.
The Nintendo Wii is one of my favorite consoles ever, and Mario Kart Wii used the Wii remote in the best way possible. I loved the concept of the Wii Wheel. Putting the Wii remote into the wheel and being able to physically turn it left and right felt perfect. It was a seamless feeling and I don’t think there is any other way a Mario Kart game should be played. I can never go back to using buttons after my Mario Kart Wii experience. It is how it is supposed to be played.
Now Mario Kart isn’t the only racing franchise to use an actual steering wheel as a controller, but I think it works exceptionally well for the franchise. I like the fact that Mario Kart isn’t trying to be a realistic racing sim or anything like that. But the Wii Wheel adds just enough realness to it that the gamer can appreciate. I’m sure little kids loved being able to actually “drive” as their favorite Mario character, no license necessary.
Another fun thing about the wheel was all of the different subtle things you could do with it. I loved popping wheelies on the bikes to gain speed. Whenever I would hit a straightaway I would flip that wheel back and cruise past the competition, letting them eat my dust. Flicking the wheel when launching in the air not only gave you a speed boost, but it also looked really cool and was fun to do. It was a concept that seemed like should have been in the series from the start. Shaking the wheel during a POW Block was also a way of not losing momentum and another great way of integrating the Wii’s motion controls in the Mario Kart franchise.
A final thing that I enjoy about the Wii Wheel is that it flat out looks cool. The wheel design looks so sick with the clean all-white color and the blue ring on the bottom. I give major props to Nintendo for having Mario and Luigi holding the Wii Wheels on the game cover as well. That was a genius marketing deal that probably helped sell more wheels than I could possibly imagine. I know I bought into it and had four wheels of my own.
Now Nintendo does have a Joy-Con wheel for the Switch, but it just isn’t the same. I don’t think it looks nearly as cool as the white Wii remote does snuggled into the Wii Wheel. Maybe I should give it more of a chance, but that’s my opinion. The Wii Wheel was perfect, and the new Joy-Con Wheel feels like an excuse of a replacement to me. I am excited for the future of Mario Kart games and where the franchise