Mario Kart has been around for many years now, and has succeeded in producing many great games one after another. Now the 3DS is out an inevitable Mario kart comes with it, this time with a few new tweaks added to the classic formula.
Mario kart has always played things safe ever since the original, it has never made any changes too drastic, And Mario kart 7 is no different. This is not a bad thing though, if its not broke dont fix it right? This game has all the solid kart racing mechanics as all the ones previous to it. You pick one of eight characters from the Mario universe (More are unlockable) and you race for the top spot.
16 new tracks have been added this time around. As well as 16 more from older games of the series, giving the game an impressive list of 32 playable tracks. The new courses have their ups and downs. Some are interesting and stand amongst some of the best yet like Piranha plant pipeway and Warios galleon. The first being a nostalgic trip through old school looking mario pipeways and the latter haves you driving through wario`s own pirate ship. But many are rather dull simple courses. Mario circuit, Wuhu island loop and toad circuit are basic tracks that lack imagination. They all look great aesthetically but they dont have much going for them gameplay wise, just regular hills and turns, unlike other levels that have you dodging windmills and icicles. The best tracks in the game are the ones from the previous games, Luigi`s mansion and the Dino Dino Jungle are as good as ever.
The items in the game are mostly the same. Red shells, green shells and bananas are all there. Unfortunately the blue shell also makes a return, the blue shell can still screw up a perfect race and have you coming 3rd. Its an iconic item definitely but in my opinion its iconic for the wrong reasons.
New items this time around include the tanooki tail, a tail that you can wack your fellow racers with once they are in range. A fire flower, an item that lets you spam continuous but weak fireballs. And lucky 7, which gives you 7 items you can use one after another. The items are fine and the new ones make it more interesting but I would have welcomed a return from character special items from the gamecube version with open arms.
This time around they have introduced gliders to the karts, as well as propellers. The first lets you glide your character through the air and the second allows you to swim through the water. The water parts of the levels are nothing special as the gameplay is basically exactly the same besides a bit slower. But the gliding parts of the game are one of the best new things about the game and are the highlights from most tracks.
Kart customisation makes an appearance too, the problem is the karts are not really customised. The changeable parts of the kart are not to give it your own personal decoration, but more to change the performance. It was a shame, it never felt like it was mine. I was not looking for Modnation racers standard of customising but more would have been nice. I soon realised everyone online just had whatever made them go faster, so everyone ended up with basically the same kart...
Which brings me to online, probably the best thing about MK7. There are other single player modes like Balloon battle and coin battle (and a suprising lack of "Single Race Mode") but the online is where you`ll spend most of your time. Its pretty much the single player but against real people from around the world. Its a lot more fun than playing against the AI and it sets a new standard for handheld consoles. I never had trouble getting into a game, and could join a friends game easily. I`ll be very happy if the multiplayer for other 3DS software works as well as this.
Its worth noting that local multiplayer is available too. And Download play works as it did on the DS, only one card is required for multiple people to play. Provided they have a 3DS obviously. None of my friends have a 3DS so I played online but its a great thing to have and im glad they kept it.
Overall I enjoyed my time with MK7 and dont regret my purchase. Despite a few unimaginative tracks, no way to play one race at a time in single player and a character roster that could have been better. The multiplayer, solid gameplay and replay value makes it for it. Definitely something to add to your 3DS collection.