Mario Kart 7 – First Impressions

Yesterday, Mario Kart 7 was released for the Nintendo 3DS but I could only get around to buying it earlier today. For those who don’t know, Mario Kart has been one of the main titles for Nintendo consoles since the Super NES was released (one each for the SNES, N64, GameBoy Advance, Gamecube, Wii, Nintendo DS and now the 3DS making seven in total). Strangely, this game has taken a cue from Microsoft and its latest consumer version of Windows and gone for a simple version number (being “7”) instead of going with the norm of tacking “3D” on the end.

Anyway, the name issue is relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. Nintendo could have called it “Mario Kart Hyper Fighting: The New Challengers Second Remix Edition” and apart from maybe running out of room on the box to fit it in it still wouldn’t matter.

So what’s new in this game?

Well, the karts themselves are different. You can now customise the chassis, wheels and flying/gliding apparatus. Depending upon the combination you choose the performance of your vehicle will also be affected (things like speed, acceleration, off-road driving, etc). You can unlock more of these kart components by collecting coins as you race. The character you select will also impact these stats (with hidden characters also unlockable as you progress through the game).

Of course, there are also new tracks (sixteen in all). I won’t spoil the surprise for you but things have come a long way since the original Super Mario Kart and is a good leg up from Mario Kart DS. There’s also a stack of classic tracks that make a comeback complete with cosmetic updates and original soundtracks from their respective platforms.

Another thing worth mentioning is the almost mandatory “3D” mode for a 3DS release of a staple title. So far, I have played with the 3D turned on and all the way up and apart from a couple of instances where my view has fallen outside the sweet spot going around some tricky tracks (damn you, Rainbow Road) it’s been quite enjoyable and comfortable.

Anyway, I am going to be playing this alongside The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for the time being. I was probably going to buy this title anyway but, in my initial opinion, this is a great release for the 3DS.

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