Street Smarts — Mario Kart 7 Review

Posted on Jan 28 2013

Street Smarts Mario Kart 7 Review

Vroom, vroom! It’s been over a year since the release of Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS and, since then, the game has sold over 7 million copies worldwide. If you have yet to give Mario Kart 7 a chance, there are reasons why you should.

In comparison to Mario Kart DS, the first thing you will notice in Mario Kart 7 is the graphics. The revamped graphics, even on the stretched screen of the 3DS XL, are gorgeous. The scenery is flush with color and the different race tracks in the game push for all the colors across the spectrum.

Mario Kart 7 Glider

However, the actual 3D may not suit the game very well. Although the 3D in the game is fair and is definitely one of the better attempts at 3D I’ve encountered, the constantly changing terrain and the need to quickly process information while driving can be tiresome for the eyes. Fortunately, turning the 3D off is just a slide of a slider away.

The basic start up for the game is the same as it’s always been: choose from a series of drivers, select a kart, pick out a difficulty level, decide on a racetrack, and you’re good to go. The one difference is the customization of your kart. It is now possible to choose a kart body and tires to mix and match how you want your kart to drive. Additional kart bodies, tires, and hang gliders can be unlocked as you play.

While the gameplay isn’t very different from previous Mario Kart games, Mario Kart 7 does stand out in a few ways. The incorporation of hang gliders and underwater tracks allows players to take both to the air and to the sea. The use of coins is back from the original Super Mario Kart, and with them, players can reach their top speed and unlock unlockables. Mario Kart 7 comes with a handful of new and old racetracks. Old tracks are given an updated look and, for some of them, new areas to access both above and below ground. The soundtrack keeps up with the racing mindset, and new power ups keep old players on their toes. Even after racing in each track, there is more to unlock. There are additional characters to race as, an unlockable mode to play in, and new kart parts to have.


But perhaps what really lets Mario Kart 7 shine is the multiplayer. Connecting all of this with an easy to use online multiplayer feature greatly adds to the game. While local multiplayer has been around since the creation of game link cables, connecting to the internet and racing players around the world has not. Mario Kart 7 polished the online multiplayer feature by adding a ranking system. The more races you win, the higher your rank. With this added feature, you can spot a newbie from an old timer and choose who to race against. It reduces frustration of racing players who are too easy or too difficult. Not only that, but the menu for multiplayer has been cleaned up and organized. You can select people to race right from your friend list. The game also stores the names of players from previous races, allowing you to select old opponents to race against.

Outside the normal gameplay of racing for first place, there are mini games to spend your time on: Balloon Battle and Coin Runners. Neither mini games are new to the Mario Kart series. Coin Runners requires you to capture as many coins as you can within a certain period of time. Balloon Battle has changed somewhat from the first time it slipped into the Mario Kart world. Instead of turning players against one another by requiring them to pop one another’s balloons, Balloon Battle is now similar to Coin Runners in the sense you simply need to pop as many balloons as possible within a certain period of time. In terms of both mini games and gameplay, Mario Kart 7 comes out strong – but regrettably with noticeably missing missions that existed in Mario Kart DS.

  • Pros: Great graphics. Good integration of old and new. Very well thought out multiplayer system. Good amount of content to unlock.
  • Cons: No missions. New version of “Balloon Battle” may be a bit of a downfall for old players who prefer the old version.

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  • AnarchoELK January 28, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    I have no idea why I don’t have this game, but hearing what they did to Balloon Battle I guess that’s a relief. hopefully the head to head version will return on the WiiU

  • Cheflelouch January 28, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    I played the game but I never brought it since my friend stop playing this type of games once we were out of HS but its good if I had people to play with I could brought it

  • Zero Gravity January 31, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    I’ve never been a fan of Mario Kart, but now I’m willing to give it a shot

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