Micro-Review: Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS

Well, coming up upon Christmas and a few gifts seem to arrive early this year! First up is Mario Kart 7, the follow up to Mario Kart Wii. The very 1st thing that caught my attention was the fact that is wasn't called Mario Kart 3D. Adding the console name after the title always gets on my nerves. But I digress, so let me get on with this review!

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After firing up the game, you are treated to the game asking if you wish to activate Spotpass and Streetpass functionality. I personally haven't seen Spotpass in action, but Streetpass overall is kinda neat. As you're in range of another 3DS owner with Mario Kart, ghost data gets transferred over for your racing fun. Also, similar to the Wii version, you can install a Mario Kart Channel, but as of now, seems to be in game only. After setting this up, you can dive right into the game...
Much like Mario Karts of the past, you can play single or multi player. As I am too far from a stable internet connection for a few more days, I'm going to concentrate on single player for now. Like the previous games in the series, you get your standard race, time trials, balloon battle, coin runner, and multi player modes. Multi player, just like the DS version, allows for single card local (1 card, up to 8 players), Multi card local (everyone has their own card) or online modes.
Is it wrong of me to hope that Bowser one day crushes Mario?
After selecting your mode, you get to select your character. Initially you get access to only 8. After winning all 16 tracks, you also get to play as your Mii, and 8 more are available as you continue your winning streak. The the 1st big change of the series appears. You get to pick your chassis, tires, and glider type. This was a welcome change for me as you are no longer tied to a small number of vehicles.
Once you select your vehicle, it's time to race. the 1st time you play, you only have access to 2 cups (8 tracks total), but once you start winning, more become available. Tracks include some classics from previous games and some new tracks as well.

All the weapons from Mario Kart Wii are back as well as 3 new ones. Your now get the Fire Flower, which gives you fireballs. The Tanooki Tail, which lets you attack nearby plays and deflect incoming shells. Last is the Lucky 7, which gives you 7 items, but I haven't seen it in action yet.
This is what incoming pain looks like via the Lucky 7!
From here on it's Classic Mario Kart with the ability to glide over long distances and go underwater. Which is not a bad thing. I did try playing with 3D on, and game play was still silky smooth and no signs of slowdown. My only complaint is that the track count is limited, BUT that could change since the last 3DS update now allows for downloadable content, so hopefully Nintendo will give us new tracks...

Overall, I did like the game and my suggestion is to buy it right now.... and then challenge me to a race!

4 out of 5 Geegamon!

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