Nukezilla Review: Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
To me, Mario Kart is a bit like apple pie. You can take liberties with the recipe, and sometimes end up with interesting results, but the basic ingredients and methods for its construction are always the same.
Naturally, whether you like Mario Kart 7 will rely heavily on whether you like Mario Kart. There are very few additions or gimmicks thrown in; it’s a much purer experience than other recent games in the series (no second drivers or motorcycles here). I’ve seen a few reviews from other outlets that knock the game for this, but I kind of admire the consistency that Nintendo treats these games with.
A more intensive game — your Marios and your Zeldas, for instance — should exhibit innovation and treat the player to new experiences with each iteration, but Mario Kart is apple pie — something you can pick up any time and know what you’re getting. We haven’t seen more than one Mario Kart on any piece of Nintendo hardware, so it’s not like they’re churning them out annually and milking the franchise (as seems to be the norm in the industry these days).
Mario Kart 7 is honestly the most fun I’ve had with the series since Double Dash!! on the Gamecube. I’d rank this entry as one of the best in the series — easily beating out any of the other portable offerings.
It’s incredibly pretty, churning out nearly Wii-quality visuals and giving the player a ton of level variety, as well as a great selection of stages from the older games. Some of the levels here are straight-up inspired, like the “Music Park” stage where riding over piano keys supplements the stage music briefly.
Of course, there are a ton of different characters to choose from. As you progress through the game, you will unlock new characters and different kart customization options, like different wheels and hang-glider attachments. These affect your kart in such a way that you can build a machine that handles pretty much however you want, regardless of which character you’re playing. I like to put Bowser in a tiny eggshell kart with miniature wheels, so he ends up being a pretty much standard-weight racer (it also looks funny).
It stands to reason that the online mode featured in Mario Kart 7 would be the best so far, and that is certainly the case. It’s still nowhere near Xbox Live-levels of simplicity, but Nintendo is slowly working their way up to an easy-to-use system. You still need to register friends via Friend Code in your system if you haven’t already, but gone are the days of separate codes for each game you play. You can now join “Communities” as well, which are an easy way to get a group of people together for a game and keep track of each player’s standing in the group.
Of course, the ever-popular “multiplayer with one copy of the game” mode is present, so you can throw down any time as long as someone you’re with has a copy of the game.
If you’ve got a 3DS, Mario Kart 7 should be in your collection, no questions asked. The game is still a blast, and the best-yet online mode and singe-game multiplayer combined with the tried-and-true Mario Kart formula ensure that — like a nice slice of apple pie — you’ll keep coming back to it.
This review is Day 22 of The December Review Nukestravaganzagain.