Preview:- Mario Kart 7

3DS owners are in for a treat during the build up to Christmas 2011. Not only are they getting a brand new Mario 3D platformer, developed from the ground up for the handheld device, but Mario’s much-loved kart exploits are also making their debut on Nintendo’s 3D miracle machine.

Now on its 7th incarnation, the Mario Kart series has not strayed too far from classic kart racing recipe which made the series an instant hit when it was initially released on the SNES. So, it will come as no surprise that Mario Kart 7 looks like it will continue that tradition. It’s the same old whacky, kart racing experience, wherein players can race as a variety of different characters (each with their own unique karts) around a plethora of colourful, vibrant and hazard filled tracks, collecting power-ups and coins on the way. Nothing new, nothing groundbreaking, yet still incredibly fun.

However, from what we have seen Nintendo don’t want to rest on their laurels too much, and although Mario Kart 7′s core gameplay reminds unchanged, it does seem to have a few new additions to keep things feeling fresh.

Obviously, the addition that stands out the most (quite literally) is the new 3D graphics. What’s clever about Nintendo’s 3D technology is that rather than it being content to have 3D visuals coming out the screen at you, it’s far more focused on adding depth to the screen, meaning it doesn’t suffer from the blurring problems that plague 3D TV gaming, making it perfect for vision based games such as racing.

Paragliders are just one of the many new features.

You can look forward to a use of depth which is subtle, yet also used intelligently to provide the eye popping novelty of 3D visuals (i.e things come out of the screen towards you) when required. In particular, the ink splatter power-up was not only just as devestating, but now the ink looks as if its coming out of the screen. This left a lasting impression on me, and overall can be summed up thusly: very nice!

Speaking of power-ups…

Nintendo have seen fit to add a number of ew power-ups and gadgets to the mix. Shown in the demo was Mario’s infamous Fire Flower, which is an obvious choice for a new power-up, allowing players to fling fireballs at their opposition. Another game-changing addition is the paraglider, which allows players to quite literally beat the rest of the field from the air, collecting airbourne coins along the way. We’ve been informed to expect more of these additions when the game comes out, which will help make the game feel that little bit more fresh.

But perhaps the biggest addition to Mario Kart 7 is in fact the karts themselves. Heavily influenced by the karts in Mario Kart: Double Dash on the Gamecube, rather the series original karting roots, Mario Kart 7 seems to offer even more choice when it comes to the vehicles you drive. Mario Kart 7 won’t just have you take to the road or the sky via its brand new paraglider. It will take you under the seas, with karts fitted with propellers, allowing you to roar across ocean beds too.

Despite all of the additions the core gameplay remains basically unchanged

Other new additions include adding Metal Mario and Lakitu (the cloud guy who is often seen starting races in Mario Kart games) to the roster, and a few slight tweaks to power-ups that have become a staple of the series. For instance, the infamous blue shell doesn’t fly and hit the person in 1st place anymore, instead it does as it did in Mario Kart 64, travelling along the ground, hitting any racers in front of you (HOORAY!).

Mario Kart 7 will offer up a familiar, and most importantly, fun gameplay experience, while also havin just enough to keep it feeling fresh and enjoyable, which is really all you need from a Mario Kart game isn’t it?

-Kieran Roycroft

Wed, September 21 2011 » 3DS, Previews

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