Mario Kart 8 is the first entry in the series to get the high-definition treatment, and it shows. No other game in the franchise can match its visual oomph. It's a joy to watch, even despite its native system's relative lack of power compared to the PS4 or Xbox One. Tracks are bright
and colorful, with a look that's cartoony but not too exaggerated, and the lighting effects, in particular, are nothing short of spectacular. Courses like Wild Woods have you racing through beams of sunlight that pierce that forest canopy, while the updated Neo Bowser City (first featured in Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS) makes spectacular use of neon lighting and torrential rain to give the track a slick, cyberpunk feel. Character animations are smooth and sharp, and particle effects from boosting or being hit by items add plenty of visual pizazz. The interface design, too, benefits from the HD makeover, looking more streamlined and sophisticated than ever before. Past Mario Karts looked like Saturday morning cartoons; Mario Kart 8 looks like a Pixar film.