The battle mode with coins was a bit crazy and went on a bit long but wasn't too bad. The balloon one wasn't anywhere near as much fun as on the 64. However I enjoyed the retro maps, especially from the original Mario Kart... I just wish red shells behaved like they used to back then instead of the gamecube downgrade to them. I used to love using red shells where they spit out and then made a beeline for their target disregarding all laws of momentum. You could make all kinds of fun shots around corners and stuff. In a battle arena this makes sense. In racing it works but maybe they preferred the smoother transition heatseekers instead, even though they're not a cool.
So yeah, all in all my first experience with the game was positive. And even though it needs four player online, it has two player versus 10 other people which is VERY challenging since that dirty little girl in Asia keeps beating me... umm.. I mean, never mind. I like the bullet bills and the cloud of death and the new ink attack blooper who makes it so you can't see where your going. They needed to fix a few of the old items instead of just reuse them, too much gets reused in this game as it is, even though most of it is good fun. I like how even in the races they have 4 cups of reused tracks and 4 cups of new tracks.
The graphics look worse to me than the gamecube ones for some reason, that DOES confuse me. Maybe its my imagination, they seem fuzzier (the character models) but only when your racing not when your in select mode. Dunno why that would be. If you buy or try this game make sure you try the online, even if you think you'll get whooped, it may well be a selling point. This is the first game I have ever played on the wii where I liked the online match up system. I did play mario strikers against my buddy Scoops but we matched up via the EVIL friend codes of lameness +13. Go get your game on, or not, but at least rent this one or play it at a friend house. Cuz fun is fun and thats all there is to it.