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Anthony Capone
03 Oct, 2011

Mario Kart 7 Preview

3DS Preview | We go hands-on with the latest in Nintendo’s treasured racer.
In addition to our lengthy session with The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword at Nintendo Australia’s headquarters recently, PALGN was given the opportunity to go hands-on with another title that will be pushing the pedal to the metal for the coming holiday season. Mario Kart 7 on Nintendo 3DS, the first title in the series to include a numeral in its title, is set for release before the annual visit from the jolly red man. During our hands-on time with the racer, we received a good rundown of the new controls and courses, and were able to spy some of the new tricks that Nintendo are throwing under the hood.

The first thing that struck us upon booting up Mario Kart 7 was the excellent visuals and silky smooth frame-rate. The graphics are very easy on the eyes, with vivid modelling and bright courses. The game also makes very good use of the 3D display. Zooming along the track in three dimensions is an integral part of the racer, and like Starfox 64, it subtly immerses you into the fast-paced gameplay. The 3D feature can also prove handy at other times. In one instance, we were hit with a blooper, but the 3D screen depth helped offset the large ink blots otherwise obscuring our screen. Mario Kart 7 controls excellently with the circle pad, and it feels far superior to using the directional buttons in Mario Kart DS. Complimenting this is the left trigger, which is used for activating power-ups, and the right trigger that you use for hopping.

You kart catch me.

You kart catch me.
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Some of most notable additions to the latest Mario Kart include the under-water and mid-air segments during races. With the aid of a glider or propeller, players will find themselves racing though the deep, or flying through the open sky, with a few colourful competitors in hot pursuit. These new sections aren’t simply a gimmick, with several of the tracks that we road tested featuring gliding and sea-based interludes. During these segments, players still maintain full control over the handing of the kart, and if played skilfully enough, you can overshoot or propel ahead of your opponents. In one intense moment with our kart shooting through the air, we bounced off a giant mushroom and stripped our competitor of their lead. Nevertheless, there are obstacles to deal with and weapons to collect in these new areas. For example, a red shell can still remove another racer, whether they be propelling ahead in the abyss or overflying your new set of wings.

Fans can expect to see the same stable of characters returning in Mario Kart 7, including Luigi, Yoshi and Bowser, to name a few. After selecting your character, and in a first for the series, players are given the chance to pick the various component of their kart. You have a trio of choices to make when customising your vehicle – the frame, wheel size, and glider design. Your customisation decisions can have certain implications during the race, depending on the track conditions. For example, electing to use a set of smaller wheels will allow you to go quicker in the gliding sections of the race, but offer less traction on land. At the other end of the scale, a larger collection of wheels will give your machine better handing and propulsion during under-water sequences.

Underwater races are one of several new features.

Underwater races are one of several new features.
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Finally, Nintendo representative Jamie Wilson kindly pointed out one of Mario Kart 7’s noteworthy revisions, which fixes a major issue plaguing long-time fans of the game. Snaking – the horrendous drift-boosting manoeuvre used for gaining momentum in Mario Kart DS – has been done away with. Instead, Mario Kart 7 mirror’s the approach taken in Mario Kart Wii, with the speed boost kicking in after holding a slide for a short period of time.

Mario Kart 7 will appeal to both the casual and dedicated fanbase that the series has created over the years, with robust controls, bright presentation, excellent use of the 3D feature, and a swathe of new courses to master. The addition of the underwater and airborne segments add a fresh layer to the title, without altering the core gameplay that players have come to know and love. Though out time with portable racer was brief, Mario Kart 7 is shaping up as another must-own title in the growing library of Nintendo 3DS games.
Overall:
Mario Kart 7 is shaping up as an solid addition to series, with excellent presentation and several new features adding to the classic racing formula that fans have been enjoying for years.

Related Mario Kart 7 Content

Mario Kart 7 Review
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25 Comments
2 years ago
Mario Kart 7?

Hahahahahahahahaahaha!
2 years ago
Why is the title funny?

I'm glad snaking isn't in it. Most annoying (even if unintended) gameplay mechanic ever.
2 years ago
No snaking? I've was looking forward to another Mario Kart with snaking in it.

Sure there was no snaking in MKWii but there were bikes and wheelies which broke the game open. I guess the glider/propeller will have to be in someway overpowered then.
2 years ago
grim-one wrote
Why is the title funny?

I'm glad snaking isn't in it. Most annoying (even if unintended) gameplay mechanic ever.
7 Mario Kart games, I never knew!
2 years ago
ThunderCurls wrote
grim-one wrote
Why is the title funny?

I'm glad snaking isn't in it. Most annoying (even if unintended) gameplay mechanic ever.
7 Mario Kart games, I never knew!
There's 9 if you include the two arcade cabinets =)
2 years ago
Still waiting for that killer 3DS title that'll convince me to get one. Once I do, Maria Kart is one of the games I'll be picking up.
2 years ago
shit have there really been 7?

Snes, 64, Cube, DS, Wii, and this? what was the other?
2 years ago
GBA
2 years ago
gameboy advance

Why i oughtta!!! THEEEOOOO
2 years ago
2 years ago
bah humbug,

Back in my day we all had to race in a kart, hence the name of the game mario kart. We had none of these new fangled bikes and gliders and doobiewhatsits. Also we played in 2D and we felt god damn lucky to have that many dimensions.
2 years ago
jprockbelly wrote
bah humbug,

Back in my day we all had to race in a kart, hence the name of the game mario kart. We had none of these new fangled bikes and gliders and doobiewhatsits. Also we played in 2D and we felt god damn lucky to have that many dimensions.
Who let Cranky Kong onto PALGN? icon_lol.gif


I'm very interested in a 3D Mario Kart.The only Mario Kart I don't own is the GC one because I never owned one.
2 years ago
I got to play it with Anthony, and I must stress how amazing the framerate is. It looks like a rock solid silky smooth 60fps even with 3D maxed. The graphics are really clean, very similar to the Wii game (though perhaps a little less geometric/texture detail), and that coupled with the framerate makes for one attractive racer.
2 years ago
You're not missing out on much Gamesta. I find Double Dash the weakest one out of the series and they made one change that I will never forgive.

They got rid of the hop.
2 years ago
I haven't enjoyed a MK game since the N64 version....but I'll buy this because I'm a Nintendo sucker. Just like I've purchased all the others icon_sad.gif
2 years ago
I'm sure it's only a matter of time till they re-release mario kart 64 leon.
2 years ago
I doubt it, but I'm pretty sure we'll be pretty damn close to having everyone of the 64 version's tracks remade in one of the newer ones pretty soon.

I love me some Mario Kart. Its almost enough to sell me a 3DS. Almost. Not quite.
2 years ago
WarAdept wrote
You're missing out Gamesta. I find Double Dash the best one out of the series
Fixed. icon_razz.gif

Mario Kart 7...this series is catching up on Mario Party, though over a longer period of time fortunately. I was rather underwhelmed by the Wii game, but I'll wait and see with this one, it could be worth picking up.
2 years ago
I hope the new kart construction glider/submarine sections balance the field rather that polarise it. With mario Kart Wii the only stat that mattered was top speed, with native riders on a clutch of bikes being able to blitz the field universally. Any racer should be able to win by racing to their strengths.
2 years ago
döppelgangbang wrote
I hope the new kart construction glider/submarine sections balance the field rather that polarise it. With mario Kart Wii the only stat that mattered was top speed, with native riders on a clutch of bikes being able to blitz the field universally. Any racer should be able to win by racing to their strengths.
Coins are back, though I'm not sure if they're just for store purchases or actually effect your speed. If its the latter they should offer an extra degree of racing strategy.
2 years ago
Jarrod wrote
döppelgangbang wrote
I hope the new kart construction glider/submarine sections balance the field rather that polarise it. With mario Kart Wii the only stat that mattered was top speed, with native riders on a clutch of bikes being able to blitz the field universally. Any racer should be able to win by racing to their strengths.
Coins are back, though I'm not sure if they're just for store purchases or actually effect your speed. If its the latter they should offer an extra degree of racing strategy.
I read a preiview in NGAMER and it said that coins do work just like Super Mario Kart.
2 years ago
If there's an associated player perk that would be so cool - e.g. lakitu gets double speed increase from coins.

There has to be a better way to even the field than 3 flying blue shells in a row.
2 years ago
I'm hoping the coins increase speed just like in the original/GBA version. Double Dash and Wii took the Smash Bros Melee to Brawl approach in just adding lots of items to spam, which is fine to a certain extent but then it feels like there isn't any point to perform power slides for those microsecond boosts only to be chain slammed by triple Reds or a Blue.

The SNES version was tough as nails and I'm hoping this reverts back to it. Highly doubt it unfortunately.
2 years ago
Ahhhh, glad to see that snaking has officially died forever.
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Australian Release Date:
  31/12/2011 (Provisional)
Standard Retail Price:
  $69.95 AU
Publisher:
  Nintendo
Genre:
  Racing
Year Made:
  2011

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