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Sunday, January 22, 2012
Mario Kart 7 Review
Mario Kart 7
System: Nintendo 3DS
Release date in North America: 12/04/2011
Blue Shells in the 3rd Dimension.
Mario Kart 7 speeds out of the garage and onto the raceway before receiving any major tune ups, and quite frankly doesn’t want to. Even without any drastic changes to the core Kart formula, Mario Kart 7 still remains fun and exciting. Giving just enough of an update to warrant it as a valid purchase for any previous Mario Kart fan, as well as remain simple for any new comer to get behind the wheel.
Donkey Kong…you a beast.
For anyone brand new to the franchise, Mario Kart contains some of Mario’s recognizable and not so recognizable friends and foes battling it out in karts through Mushroom Kingdom’s many locations. Mario Kart hands you a few characters at the start and you must unlock the rest of included roster by racing in the Grand Prix mode. Each Grand Prix includes four races, and if you place high in all four races you will take home the gold. Mario Kart has never been known to incorporate any type of story, and I am content with that.
Mario Kart 7’s menus our slick and easy to navigate. Jumping right in to a GP or time trial and selecting your character and track is easy. The online menu has also received an improvement over the Wii version. Jumping right in with your friends has improved and a brand new community’s option has been added. If you are tired of all the random blue shells and lightning bolts from playing random matches, you can now make your own community, free of those pesky shells. MK7 takes use of the 3DS’ download play and street pass features allowing you to swap ghost data with 3DS owners you pass by. Multi-player has always been the key feature to Mario Kart titles, but with MK7 being on a handheld, single player is something that cannot be skipped. Sure with a console Mario Kart you can easily get a few buddies together in front of the big screen, but with a portable Mario Kart, getting multi-player together can be an issue. Sadly MK7 features a very bare-bones single player experience. Bringing back the missions mode found in Mario Kart DS would have been a great addition, but sadly there is nothing close to this to find. The lack of mission mode is not the only backward step that MK7 takes either. Small things that have been added in other new Mario Karts are nowhere to be found. Small things like a team battle option may not be extremely crucial, but why can’t we get a bit of customization to our battles and races, instead of one or the other? Also the character roster falls a bit short. Featuring a much smaller roster than MKWii I felt a bit disappointed by the roster. Especially with additions that I feel are not worthy of replacing previews choices. *cough* Waluigi *cough.* thankfully the track selection is wonderful, which boost some of the greatest track designs to date. MK7 also brings back 16 classic tracks from previous entries in the series.
What did you do with Waluigi!?
Where presentation lacks, game-play makes it up. Mario Kart is as fun as ever, with the addition of kart customization. Kart customization may not be extremely deep, but trying out different character, body, and wheel combinations is great. MK7 removes the bikes from MKWii, but adds in a glider and propeller option to mix up air and sea racing. I am a big fan of the addition of the glider. It truly adds a new depth to racing by figuring out when and where you should land, or if you should just keep gliding along. However I was not as satisfied with the Propeller. This kart addition is not necessarily bad, it just did not feel needed. I would be fine with racing underwater without the assistance of the propeller. MK7 also brings in new additions to the growing list of items. Be prepared to see the Tanoki tail and fire flower in action on the courses. Collecting coins while racing has also made a return. Collecting coins scattered along the racetrack will increase your top speed, and will also unlock to kart parts in the game for later use. MK7 brings in a first person view and the ability to use the 3DS’ gyro feature to to steer your 3DS like a steering wheel. I still prefer to stick with the traditional and more precise way to play, but it is still a fun feature to try out.
As far as graphics, MK7 does not disappoint. The courses are colorful and very interesting to look at, characters are very animated, and the framerate stays up through all the chaos. If you are not big on the 3D part of the 3DS you will not be missing anything with the slider turned down. The 3D is a nice addition, but does not go pass adding a bit of depth to your races. MK7 keeps the same music, sound effects, and voices you should expect to hear. Prepare to hear familiar tunes and Mario chants.
Just imagine what this looks like in 3D for the full effect
I had a slight disappointment in Mario Kart 7. It deliverers the goods of previous Mario Kart games with some new additions, but doesn’t make enough of a leap to really stand out from the pack. I enjoyed every minute with MK7, but kept craving for more content. If you are new to the series, MK7 is the best place you can start at. If you are a die-hard Kart fan that has been around since the start, you may feel let down by the lack of change in this one. If innovation is what you are looking for in your Kart racing I cannot recommend MK7 to you. However if you need to fill your kart racing tank, then MK7 is a great addition to your 3DS library.