You’ve got weapons from the Mario/DK ‘verse like bananas, Bob-Ombs, green/red shells, Starmans (Starmen? Starmans. Starmans? Whatever), lightning, golden and regular mushrooms. You know, the essentials! I’m not forgetting about returning ones from the Wii like Blooper and Bullet Bill, but it’s not Mario Kart without a few new ones like the ever popular Fire Flower and Tanooki Tail, but by far my favorite would have to be the Lucky 7.
You are given seven items (a green shell, a red shell, a banana, a mushroom, a star, a Blooper, and a Bob-omb) that are all floating around you for your use at anytime. All you have to do is wait for one of them to rotate in front of you, like a slot machine, and bam. Instant success. They are all very fun to use and games can get very hectic at times, especially with friends.
This time around you can customize your tires, body and glider to help you win the race. Each piece is given a rating in speed, acceleration, weight, handling, and off-road, so you actually have to decide which combination of those five will be best for your own play style.
You unlock new car parts and characters by getting coins. You earn coins by doing a number of different things: Finishing a Grand Prix, going online and playing other people, Streetpassing to challenge friends in the Mario Kart Channel, and even Balloon Battles and Coin Runners help you unlock new content. The gliding and diving is very interesting, I love gliding just a bit more because it feels a bit faster but flying and swimming are both welcomed in the Mario Kart series. I hated in previous games that when you would hit water in any of the tracks (Daisy’s Cruiser in Double Dash) you would be stopped and had to start further back, but now you can just swim through the pools of water.
This time around you can choose between single player, local or online multiplayer. Single player gives you Grand Prix, Time Trials, Balloon Battle and Coin Runners. The Grand Prix is split into eight different cups with four different circuits. The top four having completely original tracks and content, and the bottom four being throwbacks to Mario Karts of old with new features added in. Multiplayer substitutes Time Trials with Versus, and I must say that multiplayer is one of the most fun times I’ve had in a long time playing video games with friends. It didn’t come without its bloodshed, though. Things were thrown, people were called bad names, and disgusting things happened to each of our mothers (if you believed what the players were saying, anyway). Needless to say it’s a very fun experience, especially in Balloon Battle when you can just stalk one of your friends the entire time, hitting him with all of the red shells while you hear his cries of agony. Everyone laughs, and you laugh, only to have your mirth cut short by a cold, hard shell slamming into you, snapping your digital spine, popping your last balloon, bringing your quest for supremacy to an all-too-abrupt, agonizing end…what was I talking about again? Oh right. Multiplayer…yeah, it’s super fun.
One of the biggest improvements this time around is the track selection. So much thought was put into these tracks, from the ones like Wuhu Loop and Shy Guy Bazaar, to ones that truthfully have nothing to do with Mario like the Music Park in which you ride over pianos, drums and even a naked woman’s body! Okay I made that last one up, but, dammit, that should be a track! The level of creativity evident in these tracks can be enjoyed by anyone who has a fun bone in their body. It never hurts revisiting past favorites, especially the SNES Multiplayer Arena. The sound in Mario Kart 7 is just gorgeous. Renditions of old school tunes from past installments like SNES Rainbow Road, to new tunes like DK Island and Wuhu Loop from Wuhu Island in Pilotwings Resort.
Overall, I’d have to say that Mario Kart 7 sets out to do what it must and accomplishes much more. You wouldn’t expect this much content in a game that has to do with one of the least entertaining “sports” in existence, but time and time again Mario Kart continues to hold its own in this market dominated by brown-and-gray muscle bound douchebags with their badass cars. Mario Kart 7 makes the handheld worth buying.
Rating: Buy It
Final Verdict: No members of The Community were harmed in the playing of Mario Kart 7. Except Sniper. Candy hurts — if you throw it hard enough.