Review: Mario Kart 7

Review: Mario Kart 7
5.5/5 Review Score:

Mario Kart has always been the pinnacle of arcade Kart racing, and MK7 follows the trend. The latest game has some new features, some revitalised old ones and a whole lot of content that could make this the best kart game in history.

The single player portion of the game is split into 4 categories: Grand Prix, whereby you are racing in an 8 player race over 32 courses split into 8 championships. Time Trials where you try to set the fastest single laps on a course. Balloon Battle which has you throwing weapons at enemies in arena style combat, and finally Coin Battle which is all about collecting coins. As you can see, there is certainly plenty of content from the get go, but there is more! With races split into three difficulties which increases the potency of the AI as well as the speed of your kart, you can pour countless hours into the game without touching any of the other modes.

As you compete in races, you will earn coins. Coins, which have been absent since the the GBA Mario Kart, are scattered around the track often showing sneaky shortcuts and the optimal racing line. When picked up they give you a slight increase in top speed, however only 10 can be held at one time and you lose them as you take damage from weapons. Every 50 coins you collect, you are rewarded with new parts to customise your Kart.

Mario Kart

Kart customisation is a brilliant addition and adds a lot of flavor to the game. Decking out your kart for each Championship forces a more of a speed focus, but when it comes to individual races found in Time Trials, how you kit out your ride will determine how fast you will make it around the track. Bigger wheels for example, offer less speed and acceleration, but offer massive amounts of off road potential allowing you to make for the hidden shortcuts other karts would not be able to make without a serious hit on lap time.

MK7 features 16 brand new tracks, which are quite possibly the best tracks Nintendo has ever created, which amazing vistas, challenging corners and brilliant use of the two main additions to the game: the Glider and Propeller. At first, these additions seem like pointless gimmicks, but as you start to learn the intricacies, you begin to realise just how well implemented they are, how much of an impact they make on a race. Underwater sections of slower than land, but often come with some great shortcuts and hidden weapons away from the chaos above. Similarly gliding can be slower than land, but offers countless opportunities to cut corners, or even entire sections of a race if timed well. Spotting locations where you can extend your glide takes time, but can really increase the level of your game. These additions are so well implemented, that they are actually noticeably lacking in the 16 retro tracks also included in the game. Whilst some of the retro courses have some minor alterations to include some light aspects of the new system, it is not enough and unfortunately they feel a bit bland in comparison to the new tracks.

When you are done with the single player, you can hop into the vast world of Online Multiplayer. MK7 features a Worldwide matchmaking system, which allows you to race against the world in a series of races, communicate through basic predefined text bubbles and increase your world ranking. Racing against real opponents is a series step up from racing the AI, and you have to be on the ball to pull off a win especially when some players have been playing Mario Kart since the NES. You can also set up matches against friends, which automatically tracks your wins leading to some serious cases of: Just one more race! to get that one up. Finally you have Communities. Communities are championships set up by other players, so naturally you can set up your own for your friends. It is an interesting system, and seeing exactly where you rank in a community of over 70, 000 players is always nice. You also have the Mario Kart Channel, which is a brilliant little mode which contains ghost data sent via Spot Pass and Street Pass. This is updated almost constantly giving you something to strive for every time you insert your cartridge, and just adds that little bit more to your experience.

Mario Kart

But what is the point of all these modes, without solid gameplay? Luckily, MK7 has taken everything good from the previous MK games, and removed everything bad. Drifting is no longer an annoying snaking affair whereby you find yourself drifting down straights, but instead they have added a much more skill based system, which can very easily send your kart off the edge of a cliff if you dont time your slides. Gone are the days of overpowered items, and instead they have added more defensive items allowing the player in pole greater protection against his rivals. And even if you are sent to the back of a race, you have plenty of weapons that can get you back in the race. Throw this in with amazing courses, customisable karts and a plethora of modes, and you have an amazing game on your hands.

Then you get to the graphics, and wow. MK7 looks fantastic across the board, with vibrant colours everywhere, massive courses, detail erupting from every crevice and thats not even getting into the 3D! Unlike the awkwardness of many 3D games, Nintendo have proven that 3D is not a gimmick by adding a subtle effect. As you are blitzing around a track, leaves and petals will fall towards you, or an enemy might unleash the squid which blinds you with ink etc. It is a fantastic effect.

Over all MK7 truly is the greatest kart game ever made. The inclusion of classic tracks, whilst a bit bland in comparison to the newer tracks on offer, lets you relive some of the best tracks from Mario Karts history in glorious detail. The online functionality adds to the games length, even though as a stand alone single player game it more than holds its own. If you have a 3DS, you owe it to yourself to own this game, and if you don’t, then THIS is the reason to own one. So what are you waiting for?

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