The world's greatest kart racer returns to the console world but
this time, 3DS owners can enjoy the racing highs and lows of the
famous Mario Kart 7! With 17 characters available to the player, 32
tracks and a variety of gaming modes, including multiplayer, this is
probably the best racer on any portable console or mobile phone
platform. Why? The control system is perfect on the 3DS and the
gameplay is pure fun with some awesome gaming mechanics and
Add in power-ups from offensive to defensive and driving has never
been so enjoyable, especially with the diverse environments that you
race in that include ground to air and even underwater. The cherry
on top is the inclusion of 3D which looks visually surreal,
especially the cartoon graphics that seem to draw the player into
the title. With Mario as the main billing in this game, there are
plenty of other classic Nintendo characters and several new
characters like Wiggler, Queen Bee and Metal Mario.
Even though some gamers may have seen this game before in some form
or another, re-visiting this franchise again with the smooth
gameplay and gorgeous 3D visuals is almost like coming home again
but realising that your home has been upgraded from a house to a
prestige castle. Most gamers will spend the majority of their time
in the single-player mode that offers a myriad of gameplay modes and
those classic Grand Prix races that include 50cc, 100cc and 150cc,
each cc ramping up the difficulty.
Depending on which difficulty that you choose, the AI can sometimes
give you a run for your money, especially when you are in the lead
in the 150cc race. When you start leading, it's like the AI have
this pack mentally and will attempt to take you down anyway they can
like ramming you off a ravine or something equally as annoying.
Thankfully there are plenty of defensive power-ups to assist you in
keeping your lead... sometimes anyway... or those sneaky shortcuts
help as well. Single-player also offers the player a Battle Mode
that increases the chaos of races and can even be played via
Track creation is just as fun as the previous Mario Kart games,
however in Mario Kart 7, the developers have used the 3D aspect of
the console quite well, especially the levels which require you to
do jumps and all sorts of strange gaming. Some of the tracks have
been seen before either, whereas others have been revamped. Classic
tracks are definitely a homage of yesteryear and if you've been
playing this series from the get go, it's a nice nod of the hat to
the older player.
My favourite aspects of track mechanics is that when you drive over
a blue pad, your kart transformers into a hang glider which not only
gives you a birds eye view of the track but gives you a respite from
the madness on the track and there are even coins (used to purchase
items) to collect in the skies as well.
On the other hand, underwater tracks handle completely different.
Everything feels more sluggish and even some of your power-ups work
differently underwater. Power-ups are quite diverse in the game and
for those animal activists, the game introduces the tanooki tail
which allows you to whack things away from your kart. For me
however, the blue shell is still the nuclear missile in the Mario
Kart series which basically homes in on your opponents in order to
knock them off the course. Nasty indeed.
In order to keep things fresh and unique, players are required to
collect coins while they race which not only allows them to "kustomise"
their karts but the more coins your racer collects in a race, the
faster their karts will travel. This adds a great element of
strategy into your racing techniques. Drifting is also a key part to
driving in Mario Kart 7 and if you successfully drift around a
corner, this awards the player with a much needed speed boost. The
control system of Mario Kart 7 is flawless and the circle pad works
wonders with steering. In terms of steering, you can use the
gyroscope for steering in the game but unfortunately 3D needs to be
disabled due to the distortion this causes to the 3D effects.
Multiplayer opens up the game for up to 8-players locally and online
which definitely changes the dynamics of the game. Best of all, you
can even share your game to other players locally which allows for
some great racing bouts. However for me, online was the preferred
method because it increases the number available considerably.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it! Even though Nintendo have used this
formula for their latest Mario Kart game, they have added enough
changes and tweaks plus the inclusion of 3D to truly make this title
stand out from its predecessors. Gaming mechanics are strong and the
controls work perfectly on the 3DS, although the gyroscope is a
There's plenty of unlockable content for single-players and the only
downside to this title on the 3DS is the omission of the mission
mode which was actually quite fun on the DS. Even so, this is
definitely the penultimate racing game in the portable gaming world
and is a must have title for the 3DS!