Mario Kart 7 Impressions – 7th Heaven!

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When purchasing a new Nintendo console/handheld, the thing I’m always most excited about is the inevitability of a new Mario Kart game appearing on the system. There are few things in life I enjoy more than discovering a new Mario Kart level or item for the first time and now that the seventh MK game is just around the corner I feel like a kid counting down the days until Christmas!

The demo which Nintendo showed at EGXP featured three tracks and eight playable characters (Mario, Luigi, Toad, Peach, Yoshi, DK, Bowser and my childhood hero Koopa Troopa!).  The big new feature in Mario Kart 7 is your ability to both glide and swim thanks to specialized attachments which automatically extend from your cart whenever you’re airborne or submerged underwater. Mario Kart 7 also features basic vehicle customization which allows you to modify your kart’s body, tires or glider using spare parts which can be unlocked.

The first level in the demo looked very similar to Koopa Cape and featured huge gliding opportunities and deadly boulders which fell from up-hill, forcing me to switch lanes in an effort not to get crushed. The following level took place on a vibrant resort which took me through a relatively lengthy underwater section, riddled with pesky clams! And finally the demo ended with a Donkey Kong themed Jungle level complete with road-blocking djembe drums, hazardous mud puddles and a golden banana temple located near the finish line.

Graphically the game looks very similar to Mario Kart Wii, only much crisper thanks to the 3DS’ smaller screen. The 3D effects look fantastic especially when you encounter a Blooper who sprays ink on your screen, temporarily impairing your vision. As with Mario Kart DS, the bottom screen is used to display a zoomed in section of the map and each driver’s current position. Speaking of the DS version, Mario Kart 7 feels almost exactly like its handheld predecessor except snaking has been optimized (thank god!) and made less painful thanks to the 3DS’ circle pad.

Best Mario Kart Ever? This just might be!

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