New Mario Kart Wii information

On control schemes, items, modes.

With Mario Kart Wii due out in Japan on 10th April, Nintendo has revealed more information - including support for additional control schemes and a few details on new power-ups.

We also got the chance to admire some new screenshots.

Speaking to IGN, Nintendo said that Mario Kart Wii will allow you to play with the Wiimote tucked into that silly plastic steering wheel thing, but alternatively you can play with the Wiimote and Nunchuk, with the Classic Controller, or even with a GameCube pad. IGN reports that the dead zone on the Wiimote-only control scheme makes for a bit of a hefty learning curve, while the game's motorbikes are said to be easier to boost but harder to steer.

We're also told that there will be no more cunning in-and-out d-pad action to gain boost from powerslides - instead, the game will reward you with a boost out of a corner that gets more powerful the longer you hold onto the powerslide trigger button. By flicking the Wiimote while airborne to perform tricks, you can also gain extra boost upon landing.

Those new power-ups, meanwhile, include a POW block that hovers above your head and squashes you unless you perform three jumps in a particular rhythmic sequence, and another power-up - although not witnessed first-hand - is described as a rain-cloud that allows you to boost for as long as it's there, but which zaps you with a shrink-ray lightning bolt if you use it too much, and transfers to other karts on contact.

To help in dealing with opposing players' power-ups, the game will also include a hazard indicator that warns you of incoming shells, etc, visually and audibly through the Wiimote speaker.

Nintendo also revealed that while the game structure is traditional - GP modes in 50cc, 100cc and 150cc difficulty/handling brackets - the distribution of bikes and karts will vary, with 50cc exclusively karts, 100cc exclusively bikes and 150cc a mixture of both.

The publisher also confirmed recent reports that you can use your Miis as racers, and that the game will track stats locally and online through a Mario Kart Channel (in-game for now, but potentially available from the main Wii menu in future), and allow you to download ghosts, and enter tournaments and weekly challenges. You can even store up to four different player profiles on one Wii.

Finally, there was some news on which classic Mario Kart tracks have been selected to be among the 16 brought back to life in Mario Kart Wii (there are also 16 new tracks, obviously). IGN reports that Peach Beach and Waluigi Stadium return from Double Dash, that Yoshi Falls and Delfino Square are in from Mario Kart DS, with Mario Raceway and Sherbet Land from MK64, Shy Guy Beach from the GBA game, and Ghost Valley 2 from Super Mario Kart. Expect others to be confirmed in the nearish future.

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