Mario Kart 7 Review
Mario Kart 7 Review
In 2012 the Mario Kart Series will be celebrating its 20th anniversary since its first debut on the SNES with Super Mario Kart. Surprisingly with such long history, the series is just only releasing its 7th iteration, in Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS. But having a long history isn’t necessarily a good thing for long running franchises. Franchise fatigue and a lack of meaningful innovation often results to the death of a franchise. Does Mario Kart 7 have enough juice to be another winner or does it ultimately fall short from the finish line.
Familiarity probably best describes my experience with Mario kart. Nintendo hasn’t fiddled with the tried and true gameplay design of this racer. Staying true to the arcade racing genre, the goal of Mario kart is simply to cross the finish line first. Simple right? However Mario Kart 7 has many complexities that make it an absolute blast to play. Items add a level of mayhem and craziness to the race. Having a sizable lead in the front of the pack doesn’t necessarily mean a win. Blue shells can come at a moment of inconvenience destroying all hopes of a podium finish. Staying in the back has its perk. You may be blessed with a bullet bill, which will propel you to the win. New items such as the fire flower, super leaf and lucky 7 are welcome additions. Unfortunately some of my favourite items like the POW block and the Giant mushroom are missing but nonetheless the item rooster is balanced (except the blue shell).
Mario Kart 7 sports 16 new tracks. The tracks are good but I was honestly a little disappointed with most of them. Aesthetically the themes of the tracks were similar to past tracks. Playing on a Mario circuit or a bowser castle in every iteration of the game is a bit tiresome. That’s not to say there aren’t any goodies. A truly unique track in Mario kart7 and probably my favourite track is Music Park. Like the title suggests the track is centred on music. Racers traverses a terrain made of bongo’s and key boards and to top of it all it is accompanied with a fantastic soundtrack.
The introduction of loops adds a refreshing take on the typical tracks. Instead of completing laps of the same track, players race on a continuous circuit divided into sections. Other Notable changes the Mario kart series, is the addition of gliders. Well it’s not anything groundbreaking, it does add an additional dimension to the tracks. So your not just stuck racing on the ground, Mario kart 7 has players traversing underwater and gliding through the air.
Mario Kart 7 introduces the ability to customize your kart. You can choose a variety of frames, wheels and gliders each have their own perks to give you that edge over the other competitors. Experimenting with different combination adds more depth to the Mario kart experience. Even more rewarding is finding that winning combination that suits your play style. This is one area where Mario kart 7 improves upon its predecessors.
In terms of modes, Mario Kart 7 has all the usual staples. From grand prix, time trials, coin battle and balloon battle. All these modes make a welcome return. It is kinda disappointing to see that nothing new is introduced in terms of game modes. It is very easy to critique Nintendo, but adding a new mode is easier said than done.
Fans will be pleased that online play is a large part of the Mario kart 7 experiences. The online infrastructure is very much the same as the Mario Kart Wii. You can select to race or play in the battle modes. Player ratings remain so you can still brag to your friends about having a better Mario kart rating. Online runs smoothly and with no lag. One thing that irked me was the inability to leave a lobby during online play. Playing with the same group of people get tiresome, Mario kart 7 doesn’t have a convenient method in joining a different lobby of players.
Nintendo has introduced a new mode called communities to online multiplayer. You can create a community with specific rules. Well the customization options are fairly limited. You can select from specific modes like 50 cc, mirror mode or coin battle and set 1 specific item or have all items on. Once you’ve created a community you will be given a code which can be shared to your friends, so they can join your community. It’s exciting to see Nintendo is beginning to flesh out the online component of their game. While is still not elaborate by modern standards it is a good start.
Mario kart 7 may not be a wild revolution of its predecessors. Being more of the same is a good thing. You get an incredible fun game with thoughtful improvements. You will be a fool for passing up Mario Kart 7.