Now that the Wii U has been available for over a year, Nintendo can settle in and release a plethora of games based on its iconic franchises. We already received new entries for Mario and Pikmin. Now it’s Mario Kart’s turn, as the highly anticipated Mario Kart 8 will speed its way to retail next spring.

Why do we need this game? It’s Mario Kart, for starters, but part 8 goes well beyond the familiar staple of hurling red turtle shells at unsuspecting opponents.  The newest chapter in the series features anti-gravity vehicles that allow players to ride upside down.  Considering the new tracks have rollercoaster-inspired loops, this may allow for more exciting races.

In addition, the game will support a variety of control types for motion/classic enthusiasts, while the new Mario Kart TV lets fans upload videos to Miiverse.  There’s 12-person online multiplayer, and Waluigi and Toadette rejoin the cast.

On a side note, the fusion of hovercrafts and imaginative tracks is the closest we’ll get to an F-Zero style game on Wii U, at least for the time being. Rest assured, however, that Mario Kart 8 will feel like a wonderful mix of old and new, providing gamers with yet another reason why owning Nintendo’s console is a smart idea.