This game, actually almost disappointed me when I first put it in, but the more I played it the more I loved it. Almost everything about the game lives up to the standards set by the previous titles, and more.
First off, it stays quite true to the controls of the 64 version. For those of you that have played it, it is almost the exact same. There's nothing tricky to learn here, (minus switching people in the heat of battle surrounded by 14 other drivers all looking to blast you off the track, but that is a definite improvement!) so you wont have to spend time trying to remember what button is for your items.
Now you have more characters to choose from, and not only that... *dun dun dun*, you get a cart selection now! On top of picking the right two drivers, you have to pick the ride that they're going to use to blaze into the finish line in that first place glory. Take all the initial characters given, plus the ones you're able to unlock, then add all the carts, and that makes for some serious pre-game match-making indecision.
What made me happy that this game is not only quite like the older installations of this epic racing series, but it is also very different. Battling your way down the homestretch has never been more hectic or aggravating, but you can't say you don't have a challenge. Items, items, everywhere. Plus, stealing items? Never say never, take the star from the guy you are about to lap, and use it to bring your second-place self into first.
There's only one thing that bothered me... you can't jump anymore. They took out cart hopping! Well, there's still the trusty powerslide, so that's good enough.
Single player replay value may not be the greatest, but this game is built for multiplayer. Especially since you can hook it up to the internet and play other people online, that makes for an unlimited amount of fun right there, provided you have the resources to do it.
I am proud of this game, and it turned out to be everything that I thought it would be. The music and colors are bright and clean, comfortable to look at and easy to listen to. I would definitely recommend it to buy... it will always be there in case you need something to do with a friend while bored one evening. With the new improved battle mode (ranging from shine stealing to balloon popping, increasing the diversity of multiplayer), it makes for a great combination of endless fun that you'll have... and since when have you seen a giant turtle and a big yellow man driving around in a barrel flinging bombs?