Platforms - 3DS
Genre - Racing
Aust. Classification – G
Publisher - Nintendo
I will be honest. When I played this new Mario Kart (MK) at the launch I wasn't that impressed.
For the short bursts of hands-on time that I had, it just felt like I had played it all before, just not seen it all before as it was obviously now in 3D. But now, after playing this extensively on the comfort of my own 3DS, I have changed my tune.
In single player mode exists four different modes Grand Prix, Time Trials, along with Balloon and Coin Battles. The Grand Prix campaign, just like its predecessors, has 50, 100 and 150CC races in eight different Cups that each contains four tracks. Some are new while others are taken from the previous Nintendo consoles that MK has graced us with in the past.
Taking a pick from only eight characters does seem a little light-on considering the amount of characters now in the Mario universe and I actually expected a lot more new content too, but with the tracks from previous consoles it is a good nostalgia trip for series veterans to now play these in 3D as it gives them a new shine but would be especially great for players who are new to Mario Kart to get to play on those tracks they have missed playing.
There are some cool customisations that can be done to various sections of each Kart and the new tracks are really well designed and now contain some new underwater sections with additional rewards to pick up and these sections of the game (just like pretty much everything else) look fabulous. Flight is another new feature and taking a page out of Pilot Wings resort a hangglider flips out of the Kart allowing you to glide through the sky upon getting some air. The new track designs just leaves all the other Kart racing competitors eating dust, but really all of the tracks both new and old just flow perfectly while still remaining challenging.The Balloon battle mode has three balloons hanging from the back of each Kart, picking up power-ups you use them against the competition to and burst their bubble, or balloons in this case. The player who hit or caused other players to lose the most balloons wins the round and ultimately the whole game. The great thing here is the few pregame customisations that effect the kind of game that will be played. Of course you can customise your Kart but you can also choose what power-up item will be available to all players by driving through the rainbow question mark cubes scattered on the tracks. Alliances can be set up as well to pit one team against another instead of just the usual Free for All.
Coin Battle is similar to Balloon battle with the same but in reverse (kind of), so coins are collected and the idea is to be the one holding the most coin at the end of each round, accumulated over four rounds to win the game. Both of these modes extend the single player experience but are best played multiplayer???
Of course it wouldnt be MK without the Powerups and the old ones like the offensive Shells and slippery bananas and boosts are still here. New ones have now been added into the mix like the Fire Flower and my favourite, the Squirrel tail, comes in handy when in close vicinity to other players spinning your Kart around to send your opponents into a tail spin. Of course when hit by an oponents weapons they not only slow you down but also knock the living coin out of you as well.
The 3D is implemented really well with lots of glittery particles, leaves and even ghosts floating through the air to take advantage of the new dimension, along with the added depth. But this is one game that is almost as enjoyable with the 3D slider down to turn the effect off. As any player of the franchise will tell you, half of the fun in previous Mario Karts was the split screen multiplayer and here you do not have that as an option obviously due to the screen size of a handheld it wouldn’t be viable. Instead it offers Multiplayer via system link and Online. In Online multiplayer there is little to no waiting for players to join and it was only a matter of seconds each time I logged on before I was racing against the world.
This new MK is the best in the series and not just because of the 3D. If this was on the Wii it would still rate just as well because of the polish that has been put into every nuance of the game. Even though I would have liked more new tracks I didn't get bored in any way which I guess is a testament to all of the old tracks being so great that they did not need too much updating apart from the 3D implementation.For the final score and more, go to Maceman Reviews