It seems that with every Nintendo home console, a multiplayer title stands out above all others so much that it legitimises the entire technology for a whole generation of gamers.
Rare is it that the same can be said for the more personal handheld consoles, such as Nintendo 3DS. But with it’s console-quality graphics and enhanced online capabilities, Mario Kart 7 attempts to do just that for the year-old console. Will it be remembered as a stellar title, or is it destined to fade out?
Mario Kart 7 literally flies off the screen in stunning 3D. The graphics are sublime for a handheld console and at times surpass those on Mario Kart Wii, but watching Mario and the gang race around the tracks in 3D is something to behold. The added benefit is the ability to time corners and slides a lot easier than you can in 2D.
Mario Kart 7 brings over an impressive 32 tracks to the handheld console; 16 specifically made for Mario Kart 7 and a selection of the better 16 from previous versions, dating way back to the Super Nintendo days. Old tracks have even been enhanced to take advantage of Mario Kart 7’s new gliding and underwater systems, meaning there could be new shortcuts in some of the older maps to be found. There are also three brand new tracks for the “Battle” modes, as well as 3 classic arenas. Fans of the series will be familiar with the main Grand Prix modes, giving you a choice of 50cc, 100cc or 150cc modes (easy, normal, hard).
A new addition to this classic mode is the ability to download player data to race against in the maps via SpotPass or StreetPass. This means that you might be racing against a host of Mii characters with real times you’ll have to beat in single player. It’s an extremely unique way of tackling quasi-multiplayer without the player having to do anything. The added benefit, of course, is that each race could be theoretically different. The only catch is that you’ll have to leave the house once in a while to capture StreetPass data from other players.
The game also focuses a little on customisation. There are tonnes of different upgrades to unlock for your karts and you’re able to customise them as you see fit, choosing the body, wheels and glider types. These combinations will change how your kart handles in races. It’s not hugely in depth, but it works pretty well.
Multiplayer is where this game shines. In addition to the expected online and offline mulitplayer modes, Mario Kart 7 strives to socialise players by allowing users to set up their own Communities and hold ranked competitions. Players can set their communities up with various rules – like no items, or “only bananas” for example. Players can join each others’ communities with a friend-code-esque number.
Mario Kart 7 literally oozes fun from every facet of it’s being. The races themselves are constructed to give everyone a fair chance; you can expect to get “only the bad items” if you insist on coming first for the whole race. You can also expect to be hit with millions of rage inducing items, and even losing the race mere seconds before the finish line. It’s all in good fun, though, and it’s great that there’s a racing game out there that gives inexperienced players the chance to steal the glory.
If you haven’t already picked up Mario Kart 7, you’re missing out on one of the most enjoyable games on Nintendo 3DS, and one of the most enjoyable racing games to be released in quite some time.