Whenever a new Nintendo system is released, it’s inevitable that there will be a Mario Kart title somewhere in the software library. Ever since the release of Super Mario Kart on the SNES, we’ve been getting some amazing arcade-style racing action. This month, Mario Kart 7 was released for the Nintendo 3DS, and we couldn’t be happier. Can this game truly stand up to the other amazing iterations of the racing classic? Find out after the break! - Greg Boe (admin)
Right when I started playing Mario Kart 7, I felt right at home with the controls, which are almost identical to that of Mario Kart DS. Everything is just how it needs to be, and it really brings the game back to the basics, while adding some amazing new gimmicks to the mix. The aerial tricks introduced in Mario Kart Wii are still there, and you can now fly with a hang-glider and drive underwater for the first time in the series. These new routes help in keeping the game fresh, without changing the formula entirely.
All of our favorite power-ups have been kept in the game, but there are a few new items, like the Super Leaf, and Lucky 7 items. The Super Leaf allows you to slow down your enemies with a giant Tanooki tail, while the Lucky 7 gives you seven items to aid you in crossing the finish line before your opponents. The Blue Shell still takes down the driver in first place, but now runs along the track bowling down others who get in it’s way, instead of flying above, which can really change the tide of the race instantly.
Overall, the gameplay in Mario Kart 7 is very similar to all the other games in the series, but there’s a lot of new content to take advantage of, along with some stellar 3D visuals. I feel that there could have been a few more options and modes, but Mario Kart 7 works just as advertised. Although Mario Kart 7 has these similarities, I’m not complaining, ’cause I just can’t get enough of all the addicting online races I play in each day.
Mario Kart 7 looks just as fantastic as Mario Kart Wii, but the main attraction this time around is the glasses-free 3D visuals. While in most 3DS games, I prefer playing in good old 2D, the 3D in Mario Kart 7 really does pull off the effect of being “in the game” so much that I never play it in 2D. The menus are very simple, easy enough for the youngest gamer to be able to navigate easily, making it really simple to set up quick races. The music may not be the best on the 3DS so far, but any gamer will have fun listening to the joyful tunes while racing their friends. The graphics are great, the frame-rate is fantastic, and even in 2D, you’ll love the colorful visuals.
Although there aren’t as many new features in Mario Kart 7 as we would have hoped, I’ve begun to feel that it’s the perfect amount. The First-Person Driving feature is very neat, letting players switch between both third and first person with the quick tap of the D-Pad. When in first-person mode, you’ll also be able to control your kart with the built-in gyro (motion) sensor. This inclusion is very nice, but seasoned gamers are likely to just use it briefly to try it out, and stay on the regular view from then on. WiFi races have improved greatly, letting you race against 3DS owners worldwide, and even send them onto your StreetPass Mii Plaza.
The frame-rate holds up very well online, whether in 3D or 2D, and playing against actual gamers makes it much more fun than the rubber band CPU in the game. My favorite new feature is the ability to customize the Body, Wheels, and Glider on your kart, keeping each combination very unique. There are plenty of features to take advantage of in Both Single Player and Multiplayer, making it the most exciting game we’ve seen on the 3DS handheld since The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D back in June this year.
Our Favorite Tracks
Mario Kart 7 includes 16 new tracks, along with 16 classic favorites from previous games. My favorite track in the game is Maka Wuhu, which is a sunset race through Wuhu Island from the Wii Sports games and Pilotwings Resort (3DS). All of the classic tracks are really fun to play through, but the new tracks are really what makes Mario Kart 7 so great. My only complaint is due to the lack of levels from the GCN version (there are two), but I really enjoy the other classic tracks as well. Let us know your favorite tracks in the comments!
So, by you all are probably wondering if this game really could be the best Mario Kart game to date. We are very happy to say that it actually is. Mario Kart 7 takes everything we loved most from the series and puts it into one glorious game. While there were some things that could have been fixed in this game, they are all so minor that they really aren’t worth mentioning at all. The time I spent with Mario Kart 7 was really pleasant, and even though my review copy this time around was a loaner due to a shortage of press copies, I’m picking up the game on the day I have to send it back! If you own a 3DS, and want the best online game to date on the handheld, go and pick up Mario Kart 7 today!
+Addicting Online Mode
+Great Cast of Characters
+Tons of Replay Value
+Great Clean Fun
-Missing a Few Great Tracks
-Not Many New Features