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3DS + Mario Kart 7 Review

June 19, 2012

I just recently acquired a 3DS and have been pleasantly surprised to find that I am really enjoying it! Why did I doubt you, Nintendo? The 3D is gimicky for sure but it sure looks fantastic. With wii-level graphics and a proper internet connection (I was still using an original DS so it wasn’t able to bypass modern router security) with downloadable games, this is truly a great handheld experience. I’ve always been a fan of Nintendo’s handhelds ever since I got my hands on a Gameboy Colour back in the day, so it is certainly strange to see how far it has come! My inner (and outer) child is giddy with excitement to start downloading old games (I don’t think I ever played Mario World 1 or 2!) and playing the new 3D ones.

Anyways, my only game right now is Mario Kart 7. I’m still surprised that it wasn’t called Mario Kart 3D and I would give kudos to Nintendo for that but just sticking to a number is hardly original. However, there is the lucky seven item, which I have yet to get, so I guess that was their reasoning.

I’ve never been too obsessed with graphics but I just can’t get over how great this game looks. It seems to be about on par with the Wii, and Mario Kart Wii in particular, but the 3D really pushing it ahead in my eyes. This might also be in part because my television is woefully outdated but even still! I know that the PS Vita in particular has crazy good graphics but the 3D sure looks nice with all your favourite cartoony Nintendo characters.

The character choice in this one strikes me as a bit odd but I’m not complaining – they added Shy Guy! I seem to recall him being playable by anyone who you played against without a cartridge in Mario Kart DS or maybe Super Circuit… but I think this is his first official appearance. I just can’t get over all his hilarious noises and adorableness. Other strange additions include the bee queen from the Mario Galaxy games, a Wiggler, Metal Mario, and Lakitu. Shy Guy and Lakitu are definitely my favourites.

The courses in this game is where it really shines, I suppose. I enjoy Mario Kart games for the absurd and cartoony courses and, as such, am usually disappointed by a multitude of [mario character] Circuit courses with some boring ol’ asphalt and a fairly basic layout. These courses feel like a cop-out when there are so many other fantastical options! Mario Kart Wii seemed to have better Circuit courses but still had several. Mario Kart 7 does away with them mostly even in the retro lineup. There are still a few of them but I found them to have a much more interesting design.

Mario Kart 7 adds parasailing and underwater aspects to the courses for some new experiences. Mario Kart Wii only really had the half pipes and bikes as new additions and I can’t say I was very fond of those pesky two-wheeled devices! The water and aerial portions of the courses mix it up a bit and provide just the right amount of variety in the courses. Not only that but, to my knowledge, this is the first Mario Kart game to have differences between laps. This varies from making its iteration of Rainbow Road more epic, to making simpler courses much more fun for multiple races. I’ve been addicted to this game for a few days now and all the courses still feel very fresh, something which I don’t think I’ve been able to say for all MK games. The retro course selection is also fantastic, with lots of my favourites from the N64, DS, and GCN. I’m surprised how much I like the retro Rainbow Road from the SNES! They’ve tweaked the old courses more than usual, so that they fit much more smoothly with the new dynamics.

Part of me was definitely hoping for an event match style mode which was included in MKDS but I suppose the online mode for this one makes up for that. I’ve been a bit disappointed by how irrelevant your rankings in the Grand Prix mode are. Getting coins are how you unlock things in this one – 10 max per race – which provides zero challenge, just grinding. Oh well, I still want 3 star rating on ’em all, anyways. The courses are fun enough for me to forgive them.

I’m certainly glad I waited to get a 3DS but now that the new Paper Mario and Luigi’s Mansion games are on the horizon, I felt it was time. I hope that the Virtual console plumps up a fair bit as it is slightly empty at the moment. I’ll definitely pick up the Super Mario Land games, and I’ve never tried Megaman before so I’ll grab that as well. The prices are slightly high with $4 or $5 getting you a very old game but I’m willing to pay it for the convenience of it all on a handheld device, and well, because it’s Nintendo. The 3D classics are definitely a ripoff, though. Seven dollars for a barely changed retro game? Whaaaaat? The 3D … it does nothing (basically)!

I haven’t been this exciting about gaming in a while. I guess I just really like Nintendo handhelds. Silly me.

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