Mario Kart 7 Review


Mario Kart is one of Nintendo’s many franchises. Ever since the first entry on the SNES it’s been on every major Nintendo platform. Of course with many long running series the same question is asked, what does this game do to make it different?

The general race to race formula is still the same, with some new changes. For starters you can customize your kart. (covered next paragraph) Coins are now scattered throughout the tracks (a feature missing since Super Circuit) collecting them gives you a quick boost, increases your max speed and works towards unlocking new kart parts. However, in contrast to Super Circuit you can only collect 10 to increase your max speed, and with the high numbers required to unlock some parts the coin limit can be annoying. Another new feature is the ability to go underwater and glide. The underwater sections have slightly different physics while the gliding segment let move in any direction. In both cases you can pull off tricks in those segments you can’t do anywhere else in the track. Additionally you can go into first person mode where you can use gyro controls or the circle pad. Despite what you may think first person mode is actually fun to play in, you can quickly and easily shift view with the d-pad.

Kart customization is easily one of the more interesting parts of the game. Before you select the track/grand prix you can customize your kart by swapping out the body, wheels and glider. Each part has it’s own stats. There five stats kart parts have: Speed, Acceleration, Weight, Handling and Off-Road. Weight class has no effect on what parts you pick but there are still minor differences depending on weight class (heavy weight class characters can still knock you off more easily then medium and light characters). The body affects your kart throughout the entire race while wheels only affect you on ground and underwater while gliders only affect you in the air.

There are still four engine class’s for grand prix (50, 100, 150 and mirror) with 8 cups total (four new, four retro). The retro cups seem to include too many tracks from the recent Wii and DS entries instead of focusing on the older ones. Additionally, the only engine class to actually give you a reward for beating the cups in it is 150 CC.  This is rather annoying as some of the kart parts require a ridiculous amount of coins and feel like they should’ve been rewards for the other engine class’s. Despite this it’s still fun to play through the various difficultly levels and try to get the highest rank (3 stars).

In terms of controls this game works well. The Items are still as fun and evil as before, with the thunder cloud being removed. The Fire Flower is useless unless you’re in a group and the Tanuki Tail has even less range but can thankfully destroy red and green shells.

The online is a step forward from Wii. The addition of communities really hasn’t added to online interaction but the rules that can be set up (engine class and what items can be used, including none) make it different from just selecting find match. Additionally you can join a friend, recent opponent or someone you street passed by selecting the friends/opponents option. You gain or lose vr depending on how you do in races and if you get star rank or above it will show next to your name.

Street pass, Spot pass and 3d are all used well. Street passing with someone who has Mario Kart 7 will give you access to a time trial, a grand prix they made and sometime their Mii will show up in your solo grand prix. Additionally, if you beat a street pass Mii with a part you don’t have, you get the part. Spot Pass is used for ghost data (you can race up to seven ghosts at once) and comes daily in groups of four. 3d makes the tracks look amazing and is well used.

In Short Mario Kart 7 continues to innovate while sticking to its formula. If you own a 3ds and haven’t picked this up yet, I highly suggest you do.