So here is yet another release of a main stream title on the 3DS. While gamers have certainly waited long enough for solid titles to grace the newest clam-shell handheld, it would seem that the wait was well worth it so far.  Does that trend continue with the release of Mario Kart 7 however?  Put on your driving gloves and eat some bananas ahead of time, because it most certainly does!

Anyone who hasn't played a single Mario Kart by now is either not a racing fan or has lived under a rock since the days of the Super Nintendo.  The game play hasn't received many tweaks over the years, aside from the drifting mechanic, more complex track designs, and new items, but that doesn't take the fun away from the series.  I will admit, something about the version for the Wii did not sit as well with me as past installments, with Mario Kart for the original DS standing easily as my favorite.  This newest game, number "7", has easily and masterfully blended aspects of the Wii and the DS version together, creating a game that will likely stand as my new favorite installment.

As with those prior installments, this version of the game sports 32 tracks all together, spread across a series of 8 circuit races.  The tracks are pretty evenly spread out, and many of the new tracks are very dynamic.  Some were a bit of a disappointment, however, especially Neo Bowser City.  For such a bright and colorful name, the city looks rather dull, but other tracks, such as the Shy Guy Bazaar and Music Park, are very colorful and fun to play.  Many of the past installment tracks that are included are great as well, though some I wonder why they've come back (I'm talking about you Dino Dino Jungle!).

Aside from my personal track preferences, there's plenty to keep a racer busy, here.  There are plenty of unlockables, including nine new racers and a plethora of carts, tire styles, and gliders.  The local multiplayer is always fun if you have friends with a 3DS, and even if they don't have a copy, the updated download play will actually allow them to play through the Grad Prix races with you, as apposed to single tracks.  The gyro controls are also a nifty little diversion.  A shock, because I found that very same aspect annoying on the Nintendo Wii.  I say "diversion" however, because except for true motor heads (well... KART motor heads), this feature will prove to be much more difficult to be precise and accurate than the traditional 3rd person perspective.  I have not been experiencing much luck getting access to the online play yet, but I believe that issue is on my end, so I don't fault the game for it yet. 

I guess what I'm saying is that in case you weren't aware what the Mario Kart series is all about (welcome to Earth), you now should have a very good place to start.  The game is beautiful, the game play as good as ever, and the series as a whole just gets better every time.  Like the old saying goes, if it isn't broke, don't fix it, and that's exactly what they've done.  Until my next review, give a hoot, don't pollute, and keep playing!  ...Seriously, no more bananas, because if you make me lose one more coin, I'm coming for you!