After recently picking up a Nintendo 3DS about a week a go and not knowing what games to get, I finally decided to get Mario Kart 7 and boy did I make the right decision. I’ve always loved Mario Kart as a series and, although I have a tough time with some of the games in the franchise *cough* Mario Kart 64 *cough* I’ve always enjoyed racing my friends as my favorite characters from the world of Mario. In short, Mario Kart 7 implements the best elements of every Mario Kart as it seamlessly delivers a new, yet familiar Mario Kart experience. Let’s take a look at what it does right.
Course Selection: One of the things that always bums me out about Mario Kart games is the fact that quite a few of the courses you race on seem a bit bland. I’m not saying that every course feels lame, but it always seems like there are only a few courses in each title that people continuously want to race on. Mario Kart 7 breaks that habit, for me at least. There are a wide variety of courses, all of which seem to be the best of the best from each installment of Mario Kart throughout the years. Inclusive of courses from Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, Double Dash, Mario Kart Wii, and a variety of original courses, I’m yet to get bored with this game’s course selection!
Items: The balance of items in Mario Kart always seems to be a hot topic for debate and, while there will always be somebody who inevitably complains, Mario Kart 7 does a very good job of creating a balanced racing experience regardless of what items you choose to play with. A “7 item” power-up has been added, which is one of the more chaotic additions to the item library, but makes for some funny and entertaining scenarios in which other players can take certain items as they revolve around you. Subsequently, the bullet and the infamous blue shell have made their returns in this installment of Mario Kart. What I like about the blue shell in this game is that it behaves like it did in Mario Kart 64, staying on the ground and obliterating anyone who gets in its path before striking the player in first. On a lesser note, fireballs have been added in and add a nice bit of diversity to each match as you are given around 10 of them to shoot in straight lines similar to green shells. They’re not the greatest offensive item in the game, but they come in handy when you’re in a jam.
Multiplayer: I know this isn’t really anything new, but I never got to play any of the previous handheld Mario Kart games, so I never got to experience the beauty of playing wirelessly with friends. Let me first start off by saying that the multiplayer experience in Mario Kart 7 is glorious. My friends and I have found ourselves dying of laughter as we congregate in the same room to race one another. Still, even if we end up playing online from separate locations, we simply start a group chat on Facebook and let our typing do the talking as we commence to red shell one another off the various chasms throughout the game. With the ability to race other people from around the world while also racing your friends, Mario Kart 7 delivers the best multiplayer experience within the franchise. That’s just my opinion, but if you look deeper you truly do find pieces of previous games scattered throughout this particular installment. It feels like a strange mash-up of Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart Wii, which makes for one hell of a friendship killer if you know what I mean! When the gloves come off you know a game is doing something right.
I’m not sure whether or not I have anything bad to say about this game. It has innovated in almost every area whether it be driving under water, gliding through various portions of the tracks, or even changing the standard racing formula altogether. Mario Kart 7 is the funniest, most entertaining, most devilishly-fun racing game I’ve played in a long time. If Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U is anything like this version of Mario Kart, I think it’s safe to say we’re in for quite a ride.
-Ocarina of Time Nerd