Backlog: Mario Kart 7

Today, internet, we will be looking at Mario Kart 7. This is the first of my backlog games. Now that Christmas is over, I’m going to be going though a lot of games between September and December. We start off with Mario Kart 7 since I’ve had the most time to play it. This is a ridiculous title as there has never been a numbered Mario Kart. What I mean by this is that Mario Kart 2 was called Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart 6 was Mario Kart Wii. There has never been a number in the entry, and it does seem pretty lazy that they just threw out a number. Really, was it that hard to call it Mario Kart 3DS. Mario Kart 7 just sounds like it was a development title. At least we can be thankful the final name wasn’t Untitled Mario Kart Game.

Code name: Double Team

Mario Kart 7 can be accused as being lazy on the whole. Nintendo is pretty strict in making sure its main franchises don’t deviate from their formula. Hell, the industry this year has been all about playing it safe with very few new IPs or changes to established series. That being said, the accusation that Mario Kart 7 is lazy, I would say, is false. The game does follow the same pattern as previous games, but the polish and design show that this was not just a quick cash-in. Despite lack of serious innovation, it is quite clear to me that this is the best in the series at this point (unless you liked Double Dash, then its that).

This blurry…thing is the worst

There are two major new additions to the game: flight and underwater portions. When you hit a ramp you’ll bring out your glider and fly a little bit, and when you go in water you’ll spawn a propeller. These additions balance each other out in the fun scale. Flying is fun, underwater is not. You see, when you’re underwater, the physics change, but you are basically just going slower than on land. This is not an improvement. However, these new mechanics allow for the courses to have a myriad of secret or alternate routes. Nintendo even added these segments to legacy levels from older Mario Karts.

If he’s just holding his breath, can we kill him by stopping the car?

Mario Kart 7 brings back powersliding, and thus is considerably more skill based than Mario Kart Wii. It also brings a slew of items, some new most old. The new items include a tanooki tail (cross promotion with Mario 3D Land), a fire flower (mind boggling that it took this long to add it) and a lucky 7 (get it?). The lucky 7 is actually interesting. It gives you seven different items that rotate around you and you use whichever one is in front of you when you press L. This has its advantages, but a bob-omb is one of the items and if a player rams you then you’re both going to get blown up. Mario Kart 7 also brings back coins, absent since the first Mario Kart. You can pick these up to get speed boosts and you loose them by being hit by an item or falling off a ledge.

Don’t be fooled by their cuteness. They are pure evil

Mario Kart 7 plays it safe, but if we judged games based on that, none of the high profile releases this year would have scored more than a 2 and Catherine would be the undisputed game of the year. Despite the safety, Mario Kart 7 is easily the most competitive and strategic game in the series. The coins add a lot of depth to races as making sure you have as much as possible is important in order to keep your speed up. Powersliding and jumping are back and the online play has never been better. Its a game with no surprises, but it does bring you in because of how well made it is. Now here is a picture of some people with too much time on their hands.

Yoshi scares me like spiders 

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer


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