That’s right, just what the title says, there has been seven Mario Karts! Not only is it rare for a spin-off series to become a main series like its own, but to be able to keep each game fresh, fun, and most importantly quality (sorry Mario Party) makes Mario Kart a series to be desired.
Mario Kart 7 continues its legacy on the 3DS bringing back old features and familiar faces, while at the same time adding new karts, new features, and even new characters. You start off with eight characters (ranging from the usual Mario, Yoshi, Luigi, Peach, etc.) and go on to unlock eight more characters after beating the 150cc cups. Mario Kart 7 continues the new tradition, from Mario Kart Wii, of placing eight cups; containing 16 all-new tracks (4 cups) and 16 redone tracks from the previous six Mario Kart titles (including Mario Kart Wii). Last but not least multiplayer is back, online and local, with a few extras thanks to the 3DS and StreetPass.
Gameplay: If you’ve played one Mario Kart, you have…not really played them all. While Mario Kart’s basic gameplay is racing, drifting, and item collecting; each game has a different handle on physics, which you will come to adjust to after a few races. MK7 new features on gameplay include selecting, not only your own car with its own stats, but your own wheel and your own accessory/glider. Do not forget each character brings different stats to each car, where as Mario may have more ‘Handle’ on one car while Bowser may have more “Weight”. The game also features underwater segments now, making it the first Mario Kart where you won’t “drown” if you go too deep into water, only have your wheels replaced by a propeller and you will continue racing.
Making a comeback are the coins from Super Mario Kart, where you the more coins you collect the faster you go. For non-Super Mario Kart players, think of Diddy Kong Racing’s banana’s but having a limit to a maximum of ten coins. With the new gliders, you may now “glide” across the air after certain, specially marked, blue ramps where you can control your glide ability to speed up or higher altitude to reach some secret spots; I like to call it the Pilotwings feature of Mario Kart. Certain ramps still give a boost for a “perfect jump” which is similar to the “tricks” feature of Mario Kart Wii (where you would shake the remote or press a button at a ramp), just without the fancy X-Games moves.
Last but not least, are the all-important items, which all make a return from Mario Kart Wii with a new item! That’s right the magical (or lucky?) 7-box! This new “7” item gives you; you guessed it, seven items ranging from a banana to a star all for your use! A little note of advice though, makes sure no one crashes into you and steals one of the items (or crashes into the bomb and you lose everything).
*Note. I have not used the gyroscope method too much, but the one time I have really impressed me. The first-person mode gives you a new way to look at each track and in fact race with each friend! And do not worry about the left-right tilt, it works perfectly.
Tracks: Because this is a racing game I decided to place a “Tracks” section. In Mario Kart 7, new tracks bring out the fresh feeling, especially with new tracks based off new games (or somewhat old) like the Wii Music designed track “Music Park”. There are also Wii Fit/Wii Resort based parks, and new character “home” parks (like DK Jungle obviously a Donkey Kong based level). The old redesigned tracks are all popular levels; you probably remember playing when you played which-ever Mario Kart game. Some stayed the same from Mario Kart Wii, while other new/oldies were re-done; in fact a few Wii levels were even put into the game (Coconut Mall, Maple Treeway, and a few more). Although the Wii levels were a nice touch, they were dumbed down from its previous game and were altered slightly not making them the same (gone is the rope ramp that hobbles up and down in Maple Treeway).
Music: Awesome. Great. I mean I can’t play Mario Kart without Mario Kart music playing. It’s addictive, fun, and sets the tone for each race. Nintendo does another fantastic job, fitting each levels theme. A bonus is actually Music Park, as some area’s you must turn on a keyboard and the music alters as you drive across each key.
Replay Value: Extremely High. Mario Kart is a game that no one can resist. Be it with friends or just by yourself, once you play one track…well maybe you’ll play another and another till another few hours pass and you’ve played for a long time! The game features four cups (50cc to Mirror), has online multiplayer to keep you fresh, ghost mode/track time, and last but not least many secrets for you to unlock. To unlock secrets you need to race and collect coins, in which you can unlock new karts, new gliders, and maybe a few more secrets. Or you can go around your local city and look for some StreetPass sharing ghosts!
Mario Kart 7 is another great game to the Kart series and really lets you discover your 3DS’ features. From the gyroscope, to the 3D slider, to online multiplayer, to StreetPass, Mario Kart 7 is not only a fantastic game, but a system seller as well!
Michael Troina writes features and reviews Nintendo games for Analog Addiciton. When he’s not writing or playing games or sports, he’s out at his job at the Daily Bugle taking pictures as the web-slinger we all have come to love…either that or he’s getting sandwich saving one world at a time. Find him anywhere with this flavors.me/michaeltroina