Mario holding his fans with Kart7 escapade
Mario Kart 7 For: Nintendo 3DS From: Nintendo Classification: G RRP: $ 100 Score:
Nintendo has survived as long as it has off the back of a handful of key characters: Mario, the Italian plumber, being one of them. And now he’s back as strong as ever.
Mario Kart 7 is essentially the same game as found on Mario Kart DS for the Nintendo DS, where Mario and all the other recognisable characters from Mario games duke it out in gokarts around a variety of race tracks. The racing is spiced up with power-ups that offer different means to slow down or attack other players – banana skins, ghosts that squirt ink, speed boosts, dastardly blue shells – and the power-ups are randomised so you’ll never know which one you have until you’ve driven over one of the spinning power-up cubes that appear on the track during races.
Collecting gold coins dotted about race tracks – there are an astounding 32 tracks in all (16 new and 16 from previous games) – unlocks new vehicles and new options to customise your kart (fatter tyres, wings).
The online play worked without a hitch: I was able to race against other players around the world without a problem. I lost most of the races I entered, but at least I was able to join games effortlessly. Unfortunately, pairing with friends to play Mario Kart 7 is more of a convoluted process as it involves one person setting up a community, then having to message you with a code that you must enter to join that community. You can’t send invites to friends to play the game. Also there’s no voice chat capabilities, like with full-sized home consoles, so any communication with other players is restricted to preprepared statements like ‘‘I have to go now’’ or ‘‘Good game’’.
Mario Kart 7 proves that sticking to the tried-and-true formula pays dividends, especially when that formula involves Mario, a Nintendo staple, and it – together with Super Mario 3D Land – are reviving the fortunes of Nintendo’s beleaguered 3DS handheld.