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Mario Kart 7 review

Mario Kart makes its 3DS debut in style

Mario Kart 7 review Mario Kart's 3DS debut will be played by thousands all over the globe long after Link has rescued Zelda and Mario has snaffled his last Star Coin. Where Mario Kart 7, Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword and Super Mario 3D Land are all magnificent showcases for Nintendo's design genius, this new chapter in the world's favourite racing series is quite different to its contemporaries.

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It's not a game you can finish, in the traditional sense. Mario Kart 7's true qualities emerge over days, weeks and months of honing racing lines and learning where to lob bananas.

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Playing against friends familiar and distant, every race becomes a miniature melodrama - a five-minute seesaw of disappointment, elation, victory or defeat.

It's a rare thing to find any gamer yet to indulge in a spot of Mario Kart, but even those with an intimate knowledge of the series will find something new to love in the seventh game in the series.

Lucky Number Seven

The visuals and controls might look and feel near-identical to Mario Kart Wii, but the 16 new tracks, new customisation and online options give Mario Kart 7 added reasons to be cheerful.

Fortunately, the new courses revolve around the new air and sea sections in such a coherent way that they never feel tacked-on or superfluous. The additional diversions have given Nintendo's design team much more to play with, and Mario Kart 7's set of courses is the richest and densest crop yet.

A more varied scramble to the finish line makes for a greater sense that there's more to be discovered over time, especially in those tracks which dispense with the traditional three lap structure.

Two Wuhu Island courses plus a spectacular romp down Rainbow Road are one long dash from A to B, and because there's no repetition in any one race they take a little longer than the others to really master. Though the Wuhu Island duo aren't perhaps the most creative courses Nintendo has ever produced, there are some truly outstanding creations elsewhere among the sixteen new tracks.

Melody Motorway and Piranha Plant Pipeway are the most striking of the debutants in Mario Kart 7, through cute use of musical cues and a loving marriage of Mario references both retro and recent.

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Kart handling has been tuned to feel tighter and sharper, making Mario Kart Wii seem slightly woolly in comparison. The reshuffle of the items is more prudent than prodigious - the Tanooki Tail, Fire Flower and Lucky 7 are solid additions, but hardly game-changers - the clearest indication yet that after seven games of honing this formula to near-perfection, Nintendo would rather augment than reinvent.

Although of course there is a small random element to item selection, you can guarantee that there are a set of algorithms working away under Mario Kart's bonnet quietly nudging you in the direction of certain items, hobbling you slightly if you're too far in front or helping backmarkers to keep pace.

Retaining that feeling of chaos while secretly and subtly directing the play is among the greatest tricks Nintendo have ever pulled. That Mario Kart chaos is there in single player 150cc races, of course, but add seven other humans and Mario Kart 7 really comes alive.

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  1. pokemaniac 212 Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 15:40

    Best ever mario kart

    Lower score than MKDs or MKWii

    that makes sense

  2. jaquester Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 15:42

    first!!!
    Also how is this the best if u rated mariokart wii higher

  3. SitChunWai Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 15:43

    First Comment :D

    This shall be an awesome game, cannot wait. The online options will allow this to be played for a long time. Can't wait to join the ONM community

  4. DudeElLoco Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 15:44

    Whoo!

  5. BreezySkells Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 15:52

    that two high scores this game got and if you see a skells33 on the track you know that is me online, I love Mario kart so see you Friday online people!

  6. drahuligon Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 15:53

    That's awesome!
    Can't wait for it now, GAME dispatched my order today :D

  7. FallenDesire Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 15:55

    Interesting, definitely buying when I get a 3DS but doubt it can top Crash Team Racing as my favourite karting game.

  8. Smiles Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 15:56

    Can't wait to race especially as lakitu

  9. CyberGW Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 15:58

    Looks great! Gonna get it for Christmas!
    Also, can you join more than one community? I'm guessing so but I don't know for certain.
    The option to join the same game as a random person you met online before is great! You can potentially be thrashed, do some extra training on Time Trial mode and then comeback and beat them!
    Mmm... that sounded very much like a Pokémon episode somehow...

  10. luigis brother Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 15:59

    i havent played the game, but the review they have given dose not seem to relate at all to the score

  11. shadowlugia101 Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 16:08

    Best ever mario kart

    Lower score than MKDs or MKWii

    that makes sense

    lol agree with you there from what i've seen this looks 100 times better mkds and mkwii

  12. kaitojamespartri Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 16:30

    So excited for this game! My copy was shipped today hopefully will arrive Wednesday :D

  13. lminett Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 16:35

    They should bring back MK double dash

  14. Link16 Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 16:39

    MKDS is like 6 years old. MKWii is like 3 years old. they got their respective scores because for there time, they were great games. well ds anyway. some good ol' onm bias shone through for mkwii, an 80 game at best.

  15. Turboman Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 16:49

    The best Mario Kart yet?

    -Loads of positives about the game

    -No negatives given about the game

    -Explaining why it's better than MKW and DS.

    And then you give it a lower score than MKWii, MKDS or even SM3DL?

  16. mattym727 Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 17:19

    Brill. :D
    Expected higher though. Obviously no game is perfect but would a member of staff tell me why this lost 7%? :)

  17. fisher2007 Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 17:36

    Brill. :D
    Expected higher though. Obviously no game is perfect but would a member of staff tell me why this lost 7%? :)

    I'm not member of staff but i think i know why it lost 7% because of this also i be could be wrong.

    Retro Studios had to step in and help Nintendo with Mario Kart 7 as an 'act of emergency'
    http://www.n-europe.com/news.php?nid=16603


    Best ever mario kart

    Lower score than MKDs or MKWii

    that makes sense

    lol agree with you there from what i've seen this looks 100 times better mkds and mkwii

    the score is fine and it doesn't matter if 7% missing.

  18. Shmilly Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 17:36

    I cannot wait until the end of the week.

  19. kirby007 Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 17:49

    Cant wait for friday! preordered it and all :P

  20. Pokemon Luke Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 18:04

    93... i thought it would have been higher oh well...

  21. williamlulz Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 18:53

    cant wait to play this it looks awesome :D

  22. John Will Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 19:04

    Unfortunately I have to wait until Christmas Day to play this game. I can't wait! Let's hope they've eliminated the cheats and hackers that you get playing the Wii version online.

  23. Ai64 Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 19:24

    Almost here! Weird that the game scored 93% though.

  24. NeilONM Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 19:32

    Hi all,
    CyberGW: Yes, as far i'm aware you can join as many Communities as you like. Can't wait to get started on the ONM one on Friday.

    Also just to address any comments about the score, Link16 has got it right - we just review the games in front of us and award a score based on its own merits, rather than being beholden to a review written four or five years ago (usually by a different person). 93% is a *huge* score anyway!

  25. ledreppe Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 20:04

    First Comment :D

    This shall be an awesome game, cannot wait. The online options will allow this to be played for a long time. Can't wait to join the ONM community

    first!!!
    Also how is this the best if u rated mariokart wii higher

    Why do people always feel the need to say they're the first commenter. Both of you were beaten to it anyway :lol:

    Oh, and Mario Kart 7 will be great regardless of what the review score is.

  26. Scartbat Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 20:11

    Nintendo are spoiling us all at the mo :) as for the score 93% is a result for the 3DS platform.
    Great review guys..... looking forward to your next pod cast.

  27. Infitie Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 20:24

    On the topic of the low score, if you could go into a shop and buy one of either SM3DLand or MK7 and the onm guys would choose SM3DLand, then the score is fair. If they would prefer MK7, then the score is a bit low.

  28. zelda97 Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 20:25

    I think this was fairly rated, the reason people think its going to be the 'Best Mario Kart yet', is becuase it is on the 3DS, which might I add I only need Ł30 but I might save up for Limited edition Zelda 3DS.

  29. broozer Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 20:55

    I thought that this would've got a higher score, considering there was absolutely no negative comments, unlike SM3DL or Star Fox 64 3D. Could you please change the score to match the review? Thanks

  30. CDS Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 21:00

    They should bring back MK double dash


    Agree. 3DS remake please.

    As for the review, I think it is fair. The review, not its rating. There is no point for the rating on any game, as it will always be different for every person.

    Oh, and I'll see about joining the ONM Community.

  31. MrChewtoy Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 21:55

    People complaining about the score are stupid. And let's not forget this is a different time to when MKDS and MKW came out, so while it's a better game, compared to other games it may not be as good. Red Steel 2 is better than RS1, but it scored lower because it didn't have a similar impact to the launch titles. I'm sure if ONM could go back and change scores, they may lower many they've given for games.

    Anyway, enough rambling. I just wondered if ONM could confirm whether or not Lubba's in this game? Thanks to whoever does!

  32. imbusydoctorwho Monday 28th Nov 2011 at 22:17

    Good review,seems like I'll be asking this for Christmas.
    Can't see this being as good as DS though.

  33. Katana Tuesday 29th Nov 2011 at 04:14

    I think this will be the best in the series and its why I purchased a 3DS.
    Can't...wait... :D

  34. MartinIsAwesome Tuesday 29th Nov 2011 at 16:25

    I'll be getting it at Christmas so I'll have to wait until the new year to join the ONM Community races, but I'm so looking forward to it.
    I also love the idea of throughing the Time Trial gauntlet to people via StreetPass. I hope it comes with personalised taunts so that when you get a hit you'll get a smack-down message from that person.

  35. mattym727 Tuesday 29th Nov 2011 at 16:52

    Brill. :D
    Expected higher though. Obviously no game is perfect but would a member of staff tell me why this lost 7%? :)

    I'm not member of staff but i think i know why it lost 7% because of this also i be could be wrong.

    Retro Studios had to step in and help Nintendo with Mario Kart 7 as an 'act of emergency'
    http://www.n-europe.com/news.php?nid=1660

    Thanks!Very interesting,and this is believable as 3DS sales were bad,but it seems to be rising!i new retro studios were helping,but not to this extent!

  36. jaco_p Tuesday 29th Nov 2011 at 20:50

    Fools! just because it scored lower than MKDD and MKWii doesn't mean its not as good/better - could've been reviewwed by different people perhaps? Review scores change over time, would ONM still give red steel 91%? ONM consistently over-rate games anyway

  37. George12130 Tuesday 29th Nov 2011 at 20:54

    Will this be in next mag when it comes out on next month :?:

  38. Roswee-son Wednesday 30th Nov 2011 at 14:50

    Got mine this morning ;)

  39. KAMRAN Wednesday 30th Nov 2011 at 17:23

    Awsome game getting it as soon as it comes out, dino dino jungle is gonna be awsome, however 4 new characters isnt so great nintendo could do better. Think about it petey the piranha, diddy kong, birdo alot more characters could be added but i think its the best mario kart game of all time!!! :)

  40. mariobros1015 Thursday 1st Dec 2011 at 16:30

    i must admit, i wasnt expecting mk7 to get as low a score as this. i was expecting it to get somthing like 98%. i havent even played the game yet and i already love it.

  41. Luigimon Monday 5th Dec 2011 at 16:48

    Sounds groovy. Just out of interest, will the ONM community still be active after the launch? Would be refreshing if I was on Twitter and then a sponatneous race was annouced.:)

  42. ben coogan Friday 9th Dec 2011 at 17:10

    this game is immence :D :D :D :D

  43. fennyboy1 Saturday 10th Dec 2011 at 09:51

    This game is truly brilliant, and a great addition to the 3DS catalogue. However, i really hope they get the online sorted out soon :/ also, im still undecided as to whether it really is the best MK game ever. Right now im still thinking mario kart wii, but only time will tell... well, and the sales charts of course... :P

  44. squatch Monday 12th Dec 2011 at 18:31

    Fantastic game. Easily best Mario Kart game ever.
    So much fun, and looks good too.

  45. MR.Jam man Tuesday 13th Dec 2011 at 18:02

    cant wait for christmas! i played the demo for mk3ds at Eurogamer and it was awesome!

  46. HughPR Monday 26th Dec 2011 at 11:16

    I'm a bit behind the times I know, but could someone help me out. I've been reading reviews for MK7 and the things that have seemed to be the problems are that the single-player is rather limited and the online could be improved due to the single races and codes for the communities. I've played MKDS and MK Wii and have enjoyed both of them, but I mainly played by myself or local play. How is the single-player in MK7, and is it likely that Nintendo will/can update the online. Maybe Neil you want to answer this :)

  47. callum2003 Friday 6th Jan 2012 at 13:00

    Mario Kart 7 is AMAZING it is the best Mario Kart EVER!!!!!!! I need all the gold parts I really want them they are just brilliant they look really cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

  48. garsh303 Tuesday 14th Feb 2012 at 10:27

    I don't really see why this is better than Mario Kart Wii, because I think they've made a massive mistake. The new power-ups are over powered, the new tracks look great but the paragliding and driving underwater parts I think are gamebreakers. I won't get this game. But I hope that Mario Kart Wii U will keep the community online stuff, as well as using the ideas from ONM's article of ideas, while keeping away the annoying power-ups and flying and 'swimming' bits.

  49. Reeceiscool5 Tuesday 14th Feb 2012 at 12:22

    Is it the best MK?- well there's you're basic mario kart in there, add gliding and underwater sections, and on top of all that, it's in 3D. So yes it is

  50. mariobros1015 Wednesday 22nd Feb 2012 at 17:28

    well now ive finally got my hands on it i have to say im gonna have to stick with mario kart wii. why? well to be honest i was dissapointed at how a lot of the tracks followed the same basic rule, start the race, drive through the tracks, throw items at somebody, get hit by items then finally do gliding or underwater racing (which is the same as on ground racing). then this repeats. i hope mario kart wii u gives some new features such as track creating or bring back the emblem drawer tool thingy from mkds.

  51. MarioMad2609 Tuesday 10th Apr 2012 at 18:35

    I love the Mario Kart series and recently I haven't been able to play Mario Kart 7 due to addiction of reading ONM (The best Nintendo Magazine on God's earth). However, once I read this review, I got of my backside, opened up my 3DS and had a happy hour of driving round, mindlessly dropping banana skins behind me... Oh the joy of Mario Kart 7 :D

  52. Accelgor7 Sunday 15th Apr 2012 at 14:17

    I personally think that MK7 is better than both its ds and wii predocessors.

  53. j123 Sunday 13th May 2012 at 09:36

    Mario Kart 7 rules! Well, apart from being owned by the blue shells, that is.. :x

  54. Wacko212 Friday 24th Aug 2012 at 08:40

    Its a good game but ive got stuck on the last 150 cc

  55. SM3DL2 Thursday 8th Nov 2012 at 22:56

    They say this is the best MK ever, but it gets 93% where as Mario Kart Wii gets 94% and Mario Kart DS 95%? :?

    I can't believe they got rid of Walugi. It's not MK without him.

    And even worse, they swapped him for a Wiggler and the Bee from SMG. WHY? :evil:

    It's still to easy. I unlocked all the cups in about two days.

  56. SM3DL2 Thursday 8th Nov 2012 at 23:34

    They should bring the bikes back. I like to have the choice.

  57. SM3DL2 Sunday 11th Nov 2012 at 20:41

    I have MK 7, MK DS, MK Wii and MK Super Circuit on the GBA.

    I think MK Super Circuit was a brilliant unforgotton game.

  58. Ghostly_Shadeon Saturday 18th May 2013 at 08:04

    It seems that when I play MK7 online, or watch gameplay videos on YouTube, hardly anyone plays as Wiggler...I mean, what's wrong with him? D:

    It's a shame, though, that MK 7 has no VS mode anymore...it was awsome being able to set up your own little tournament...No. of races...teams...CC and difficulty...

  59. Nintendofreak03 Sunday 11th Aug 2013 at 16:00

    got the game it all right :roll: :lol:

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