Review: Mario Kart 7

Review: Mario Kart 7 (3DS).

There’s something about number 7. For some reason I’ve always loved this number and I truly believe that luck comes in 7 different stages. Coincidence or not, Nintendo decided to add the number to their latest installment of the Mario Kart franchise. But does this make it a good game? I give you 7 different reasons why this Mario Kart game is worth your time and money.

1. There’s more than just karting in Mario Kart 7.

When a new Mario Kart game is released, Nintendo always tries to bring innovation to the formula. Normally they do so by using small changes like adding an extra multiplayer option, for the 3DS version however they went all-out.

This time you’ll be able to fly into the sky and dive under water using new upgrades to your kart. This doesn’t only create an entirely new feeling while racing, it also opens up a lot of hidden shortcuts to use to your advantage. Giving gamers the ability to race under water and in the sky really is a valuable innovation and makes this Mario Kart one of the most different in the franchise.

2. The new tracks are amazing.

A new Mario Kart game wouldn’t be the same without the addition of new tracks to discover. Mario Kart 7 features 16 brand new tracks and 16 of the best retro tracks taken from previous installments.

Let’s talk about the new tracks first. This time Nintendo didn’t create all the tracks themselves, they hired Retro Studios (Donkey Kong Country Returns, Metroid Prime) to help making some of the tracks. The result of this teamwork is one of the most fantastic tracks ever released, namely the Donkey Kong Country track. It’s full of details, hidden shortcuts and absolutely looks amazing. Other new tracks worth mentioning are Rainbow Road and the Wuhu Island tracks. They’re very different from other tracks because they don’t feature an amount of laps. In fact those tracks give you the opportunity to race to the finish in one straight line.

Gamers who are familiar with the franchise would absolutely love the selection of retro tracks available in the game. Tracks like Luigi’s Mansion and Maple Treeway all make their return. The fun part however is that Nintendo took the time to update the tracks in advantage to the new water and air gameplay.

3. Different modes mean more fun.

Mario Kart always was and always will be more than just a fun racer. Next to the traditional Grand Prix you’ll be able to enjoy different game modes. This time you’ll be able to choose other modes like: Time Trials, Balloon Battle and Coin Battle.

In Time Trials you’ll have to finish a track under an amount set of time. When you do so, you’ll set a record time which you can share with your friends and vice versa. You’ll be able to race against your friends’ ghosts to make it more exciting.

The Balloon Battle and Coin Battle are a bit similar because you’ll have to compete against other people or NCP’s on special Battle courses in order to win. In Balloon Battle the gamers has to pop balloons using different items. Whoever holds the most balloons at the end wins. The same goes for Coin Battle where you have to collect several coins without losing them.

Those game modes are fairly simplistic but they do bring a lot of fun to the racing ground and are definitely one of the reasons why this Mario Kart game is one of the best multiplayer games available on Nintendo 3DS.

4. Using the 3DS’s full potential.

Mario Kart 7 is the first Mario Kart ever to be released in 3D and it works very well. The 3D adds a layer of depth and that’s just what you need to estimate the distance between you and your opponents. The 3D isn’t just a gimmick it really is an improvement to the gameplay, especially when you race in the new first person mode. For the first time you’ll be able to see through the eyes of the racing pilot and finish the whole track in first person. A unique experience that only gets better when you use the Nintendo 3DS gyroscope to steer.

As if this wasn’t enough to persuade gamers that you really need a 3DS in order to play the game, Nintendo added Streetpass and Spotpass support as well. Using Streetpass you’ll be able to share your racer and ghost data with your friends or random encounters on the streets. This really is a fun way to earn more ghost data to use during the Time Trials. Spotpass is a bit the same but gathers information about players worldwide. This way you can add more ghost data to your game and enjoy an endless sea of challenges.

Last but not least, Mario Kart 7 will also install a Mario Kart 7 channel on your 3DS where you’ll find new ghost, challenges and your friends’ online status in one blink of an eye.

It’s crystal clear, Nintendo did everything they possible could to get the maximum out of their new handheld.

5. Great online support.

Next to the Streepass and Spotpass option, Mario Kart 7 also features a splendid online feature. Using the Nintendo Network, you’ll be able to connect with other gamers around the world. You can race against random encounters or with friends you met on Streetpass. Every player will receive VR points at the start of the game. The better you play the race, the better your VR points will become. Gamers are placed together depending on their points. This way the online play is good balanced and you’ll rarely face unbeatable opponents.

The online play definitely is a great addition.

6. Customizing your kart and return of the coins.

The last new improvements are the ability to customize your kart and the return of the coins (missing since the Nintendo 64 version). First of all the ability to customize your kart works very well. You’re able to choose from different set of wheels, body and gliders. This way you can create a unique looking kart that brings the best out of both worlds. A small kart with monster wheels isn’t any problem in Mario Kart 7. Winning races and gaining coins will unlock new parts throughtout the gaming, making your kart feel fresh every time you unlock a new piece.

The coins aren’t only there because you can unlock parts, they’re scattered on the tracks. By driving over them, you can collect them. If you collect 10 coins, you’ll receive a little speed boost that makes you faster the whole time you own the 10 coins. But watch out, taking a hit of an item lets you lose some coins.

7. It’s Mario Kart as we know and love it.

All in all Mario Kart 7 is just another Mario Kart game as we know and love it. The addition of new items, tracks, characters and game modes really make this game worth your time and money however. It’s definitely one of the best looking Mario Kart games out there. Mario Kart is meant to be a fun racer and I can guarantee you that you’ll have a lot of fun playing this game on your own or with friends.

Any downsides to the game?

The last point can also be a point of critic. Because Mario Kart 7 is a fun racer, gamers with the highest skill won’t always end on top. That’s because you can’t predict the race and a lot will come with luck and the item you’ll receive. Gamers who are at the end of the race will have the chance to earn the lucky 7 item which unlock 7 different items to fire at will. This item and the return of the horrifying blue shield make the race very unpredictable until the very end.

I must admit however that Nintendo did their best to create more balance, unlike the Wii version, you’ll have to deal less with uber items such as the blue shield when you’re on top of the list.

It’s part of the Mario Kart franchise but the use of those items and unpredictable end of the race can be a downside to the game for some.

Game Rate: 8.5/10


Got interested in games since I could read. Started with Nintendo but evolved into an all-round gamer. I love all kind of games; triple A games to Indie. If the vibe is right, I'll enjoy playing it.

One Comment
  1. Dan Jones, GamingBoulevard January 23, 2012 at 18:39

    Sounds fantastic. Don’t own a 3DS unfortunately but lucily I have a wii with the next best thing – Mario Kart Wii. After reading this tempted to go and play it right now 😛

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