Review: Mario Kart 7

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Mario Kart 7 may not be the most essential release of the year, but it’s a fun diversion that carries on the ridiculous traditions of the Mario Kart franchise to the Nintendo 3DS handheld.

For anyone who has somehow avoided the first six games in the Mario Kart franchise, the game places characters in the role of Super Mario characters (I like Donkey Kong) who race against each other in absurdly cute vehicles on silly tracks inspired by levels in various Mario games as well as other Nintendo games.

And, of course, everybody cheats. Mario Kart has always combined cuteness with anarchy, as competition means attacking your opponents with turtle shells, fireballs, ink-shooting squids and more weapons. The arsenal still includes the notorious blue shell, an advanced Mario Kart weapon that targets and hits whoever is in first place. Is it fair? Of course not, but what is?


The game includes a selection of new tracks and classic race courses
from previous Mario Kart titles. Most of the racing takes place on paved
or dirt tracks, but each cart has a glider that pops up for occasional
flying sections and some courses require underwater driving. The last
part doesn’t really make sense, but Mario Kart is not about making
sense.

Players can also unlock new characters and “kart” options such as a
cloud car or mushroom shaped wheels. Again, the game is all about being
cute, until it’s time to cheat against CPU opponents or human rivals. The game allows players to compete via local wireless connections or with opponents from around the world via broadband Internet. The Internet connection actually worked when this reviewer tried it, which is not always true when new games first hit stores.

Mario Kart 7 is not a revolutionary game, but it’s good silly fun and
the 3DS’ three dimensional display looks nice. Mario Kart veterans
looking for a nostalgia rush or new players could certainly do a lot
worse than this title.

Mario Kart 7
Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo
Rated E for Everyone