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Mario Kart 7 (Nintendo 3DS) Review
Review by 
8.96/10 from 39 user ratings
Slip your racing gloves on and strap yourself in! Nintendo has returned with yet another addition to their genre defining karting game. The "7" within the title refers to the number of console and handheld installments of the series (excluding the two GP arcade racers co-developed by Namco). As always, Nintendo tries to bring something new to the table to help keep this franchise feeling new and exciting. We're given a few new features, some polished features, and some features that just won't go away. Fans of Retro Studios will like to hear that they created the DKC track and assisted on the retro tracks. Instead of a diary I'd like to go through some of the key features that stood out in this game.

3D - I wasn't a believer until I started racing. The 3D in this game is subtle enough to enjoy. I do find myself out of the sweet spot from time to time which is frustrating. Given time you should be able to adjust your old habits to keep that sweet spot.

New/Retro Courses - I've been pleased in the past with some of the retro courses but this time I'm actually thrilled. Most, if not all, the retro courses are my favorites and they've been enhanced to accommodate some of the newer features. The newer tracks provide some great additions to the series. Multiple short cuts, numerous hazards, and just overall good design bring lots of fun. Some good examples are Wario's Shipyard and Shy Guy Bazaar.

Rubber band AI - It's actually bearable! There seems to be a lot more balance this time around, probably due to only having 8 racers max and blue shells can take others out on the way to first place. I haven't cursed once! Okay, may once...

Coins - They're back! By collecting coins on the track you obtain mini boosts and increase your overall top speed. A fantastic way to keep races up in the air when players stick to a good racing line. The game keeps track of your overall total and you'll begin to unlock different karting parts as you go along.

Kart Parts - Now you can create your own kart to a certain degree. Body, wheels, and gliders can be chosen and this will adjust your overall Weight, Speed, Acceleration, Handling, and Off Road.

Gliding/Swimming - Not only can we take the apex on land but now we can do the same by flying through the air or being propelled through the sea.

FPR (first person racer) - You have the option of actually popping Mario's eyeballs out and viewing the race from the seat of the kart. This feature actually works pretty well without 3D!

Gyro Steering - I don't advise you to use this feature with 3D turned on. I encountered a few mishaps and now my vision is permanently damaged. Seriously, I wear glasses, true story.

SpotPass/StreetPass - MK ghost data, Miis, and Communities are exchanged when connected to a local or online connection. The in game Mario Kart Channel will show suggested communities and ghost data retrieved. A neat addition to this is that you can now race up to 7 ghosts at a time!

Online - The setup is similar to MKWii but this time a handheld (not game) driven friend list shows who's online as well as recent opponents you've encountered. You have the choice of joining a random race/battle, join a friend, or join a community. Communities are recommended to you but you can also search for specific ones. Be sure to add our NW communities and utilize our Chat and Official Discussion/Matchup Thread.

Controls - Take MKWii and change the Trick button/motion to the R shoulder button. The controls are tight and the variation with karts makes finding an acceptable setup possible. Some kart parts work better on specific tracks!

Presentation - Bright, beautiful colors, great textures, and smooth frame rate. Simple menus but added depth in game and online. Sound track and effects are good quality especially when wearing headphones in bed.

Replayability - the online functionality makes this a no brainer. Even the main 3DS friend list shows if a friend is racing online or in a community and you can join right in. A good amount to unlock and variable karts keep the races exciting and dynamic. The new items (Lucky 7, Fire Flower, and Tanooki Tail) are welcomed additions to the already ridiculous selection.

If you enjoy a fun racer that has unpredictable results in every race, you owe it to yourself to get this game. See you online!

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Posted: 01/07/12, 01:21:17  - Edited by 
 on: 01/07/12, 01:25:39    
Why not sign up for a (free) account and create your own content?

I agree with that assessment of the single player mode, but I don't think I could give a game whose main mode is disposable a high score.

On my patent pending 5 point scale ( ) I'd probably give it a 3.

Posted by 
 on: 01/09/12, 21:03:04

Watch out for those patent trolls! I guess I've grown soft in my old age and don't expect much anymore. I'm just happy to have the ability to play with others online. That and I'm Wii/3DS-only so I dont have much else to compare to.

*grabs walker*

Posted by 
 on: 01/09/12, 21:33:40  - Edited by 
 on: 01/09/12, 21:33:58

Yeah, something like Mario Kart is an interesting mental exercise to review.

The core gameplay is always at least pretty good. But shouldn't we expect it to get a little better every time, or at least continually iterate on what has made past games different or interesting? I never have any idea what the next Mario Kart will bring, and NOT in a good way. I know that I'll get a new feature or two, but that something I liked from previous versions will inevitably be missing.

And with what's essentially a small game in the grand scheme of things, that's pretty inexcusable. A completely forgettable single player mode and online that brings so little to the table? It's obvious that Nintendo doesn't think Kart is a flagship franchise, but that's no reason to treat it like the red headed stepchild.

But the sales numbers disagree with my logic, so... c'est la vie.

Posted by 
 on: 01/10/12, 00:24:02
I pretty much agree with everyone that says the core gameplay is awesome but the featureset is a bit weird and lacking in a lot of ways.

Still, having a lot of fun with the game. Online is addicting! And I can actually play with my friends without setting it up in advance!

@Kal-El814 Mario Kart DS had a mission mode! Not sure why we haven't seen another one since. It was pretty fun. It even had boss battles.

Posted by 
 on: 01/10/12, 00:46:21  - Edited by 
 on: 01/10/12, 00:47:56
I'd like to think MKWii had a mission mode as well but they called it a monthly challenge.

I don't think MK is viewed as a minor title by Nintendo. MKDS was the catalyst that sent the original DS through the roof in sales and it looks to be doing the same with the 3DS. I have to agree it has to do with it being rushed out the door for the holidays. Even if that is the case I'm still loving the game.

Posted by 
 on: 01/10/12, 02:04:58

Yeah, that was my point! That was great, and I don't know why they nerfed it.

Posted by 
 on: 01/10/12, 19:37:44
You do know why they nerfed it, the game was rushed for the holidays. They even had to get Retro Studios in on the development to push it out in time. Weren't you in that crazy thread a while back when I originally pointed out all the shortcomings of Mario Kart 7, and asserted that it was due to time constraints?

Anyways, Nintendo absolutely believes in the power of Mario Kart. It's a bigger system seller than Zelda, Metroid, and arguably even Mario himself. The thing is, they can get away with a rushed product lacking some features, like Mario Kart 7, if the game is still fun. When it comes down to it, people will buy the new Mario Kart, if it's fun. And Mario Kart 7 is hella fun. They can probably get away with the same thing with Smash Bros, but A LOT more people will piss and moan because its fanbase is more seasoned and competitive.

Posted by 
 on: 01/10/12, 19:44:46
I think Smash is just lucky in the sense that it is Sakurai's baby and he puts real time and attention into getting it done right. Whereas well... who the heck even makes Mario Kart games? I get the sense that it gets passed around a lot and there is no true visionary behind it anymore. We better hope Nintendo can keep roping Sakurai into doing Smash Brothers games because the day it gets handed off to some vague Nintendo team is the day it will end up like Mario Kart has.

Posted by 
 on: 01/10/12, 19:57:22
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