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Mario Kart 7 (3DS) Review

The Mario Kart series has become a staple for every Nintendo system. Each Mario Kart game tries to keep what makes the franchise popular intact while changing the game to show off the particular system’s features. Mario Kart 7 doesn’t stray from this formula. It’s very similar to previous games in the series. That being said, Mario Kart 7 makes enough changes to the formula to keep this series fun.

If you have ever played a Mario Kart game (and I’m sure you have), you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect from Mario Kart 7. You choose a character, customize a vehicle, and then race on the track. There have been some changes, such as the glider and the ability to drive underwater, but these changes really don’t have a big effect on the overall race. If you were great at Mario Kart before, you’ll still be great at it. If you were horrible at Mario Kart before, you’ll still be horrible at it.

There have been a few subtle tweaks to the gameplay the really make the overall experience much better. One thing that really stood out to me was how balanced the racers were. Seriously, I’ve never played a racing game that had racers this balanced. I think you could easily come in first or last place with the same character in different races. Usually before, if  you raced with Bowser, you’d get killed by faster racers such as Yoshi. Now, that’s not the case. You have just as good of a chance at winning with any character. There are no obvious advantages between racers.

Mario Kart games are traditionally very reliant on luck. When racing, you go through cubes which give you power ups. These power ups can range from shooting fire (the Fire Flower) or barreling through everyone in front of your path (Bullet Bill). Luck will always play a role in Mario Kart. However, Mario Kart 7 somehow makes the game a lot less luck-based. I’m honestly not entirely sure how they did it, but whether I won or lost nearly always depended on my skills as a racer more than sheer luck. That’s not to say that luck doesn’t play a big role in the game; Luck still plays a large part in how well you do, but it doesn’t overshadow your skill (or lack thereof) as a racer. I would say that the better racer would win 85% of the time, at least. Those might not sound like great odds, but it’s a big deal. Mario Kart is supposed to be lighthearted and fun. It’s not supposed to be a realistic racer. Luck should play a role in Mario Kart, but it shouldn’t overshadow skill. Mario Kart 7 doesn’t let this happen. It does a fantastic job of keeping the game lighthearted while still allowing skill to reign supreme.

From a graphical perspective, Mario Kart 7 looks great. While playing the game, I never ran into any frame rate issues. That is really impressive for a game as fast-paced as Mario Kart. The tracks look gorgeous. The colors really pop out. This game can easily go head-to-head with Mario Kart Wii from a graphical perspective. This is the best example of 2D graphics I’ve seen on the Nintendo 3DS. Mario Kart 7 has a very minimal 3D effect, but that’s okay. You’ll be too distracted with the beautiful scenery to complain very much about the 3D effect.

At the end of the day, Mario Kart 7 is one game that needs to be in your 3DS library. Mario Kart 7 isn’t just the best racing game on the 3DS, it’s the best Mario Kart game yet. Whether you’ve been playing Mario Kart since the SNES, or if you’re completely new to the series, Mario Kart 7 is a game that you’ll love and enjoy.


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