Nintendo knows how to make care of its franchises, and what franchise is more revered in this day and age as the Mario series? With action-packed fun and some great new features to boot, Mario Kart 7 is a worthy addition to the series and offers a great play for all types of gamers. The formula has essentially remained the same in this new iteration; the game is all about getting across the finish line with highest position, while picking up items, executing power-slides, and dodging hazards along the way. The Grand Prix mode retains its structure of three distinct classes and a selection of memorable and well-designed tracks to race around. Some tracks will have you doing laps, while others are broken down into sections that add a bit of variety to the overall race. The game sports several new additions to the series that enhance the overall gameplay. Players can now customize their vehicle of choice from a variety a different body-types and colors. You can also change the types of tires, which directly affect the handling and performance of your vehicle on the track. In addition, the game sports two new innovations: the first one is hang-gliding, where the player is launched into the air and has the option to glide across the track to skip certain portions or access new areas. This is an innovative feature that changes the dynamics of the game and makes things more fun.
The second is the addition of underwater sections, where players are submersed into water for particular sections of a course, which completely changes the mechanics. Apart from these into additions, a new first-person mode has also been added, where the player drives around the course using the 3DS’ gyro sensors, titling the console to turn. The character roster has been expanded to 16, and also includes the option to use your Mii created on the console to drive around with. Multiplayer utilizes all the features from Mario Kart DS with online races for up to eight players. There’s no server list so matches are joined at random, which are still a lot of fun to participate in. Additionally, the game uses StreetPass and SpotPass to download ghost data from other players who own a copy of the game. The graphics are some of the best on the 3DS hardware and showcase the 3D capabilities exceptionally well. Whether you are playing with the 3D on or off, the game displays bright and colorful models, brilliant environments and a steady 60 frames-per-second frame rate all the way through. In summary, Mario Kart 7 is a reinvention of the series that certainly plays like its handheld predecessor, yet brims with wonderful features and tons of fun-filled gameplay.