|North American Box Art
There are four modes to Mario Kart 7: Grand Prix where you can race in 8 cups with 4 courses in each cup. In the Grand Prix mode, you can choose the level of difficulty: 50cc Easy, 100cc Average, and 150cc Challanging. 4 cups are full of brand new tracks, and the other 4 contain classic tracks with new tricks and secrets added with the new funtions of Mario Kart 7. The next mode is Time Trails, where you race for the fastest time agaist your own time or ghost data collected over Streetpass and Spotpass. The other two modes are Coin Runners, where you go against other players to get the most coins in a certain time, and Balloon Battle, where you try to pop your opponents balloons to get points. All of the modes make for a fun and even challenging experience for the new player or even a veteran fan.
The main selling point, the Kart Customization, is not eye-popping, but is in no-terms bad by any means. In fact, it is actually a little fun to see what works and what doesn't at first, but after a while you might get tired customizing your kart and end up settling for one design, like I have. This does add a little bit of creativity to an already custom experience. It's no emblem creator like in Mario Kart DS, but it's still a cool feature that should not be looked upon.
Gliding in the air with the new gliders is amazing. Flying around without a track makes players, myself included, makes me feel like I can go places usually off limits by driving on the ground. Gliding can take you to secret areas, get you ahead in the race, and let you drift away admiring the excellent visuals of the world. Use a super mushroom (or three) while gliding in the air, and you might just find a glitch or easter egg that was not intended to be seen, and finding easter eggs is one of my favorite things to do in a video game. Underwater physics, though, are about the complete opposite. Going underwater, especially for a long period of time just like in Cheep Cheep Lagoon, feels a little floaty but at the same time slow. The one highlight of this mode, though, is the splash of water that runs down the screen once you dive in and come out of the water. This effect makes you feel like it's you that's racing, especially in 3D.
The graphics are charming at the least and amazing if anything, especially with the 3DS's hardware graphical limitations. Small details and lighting effects have been added to each and ever course, along with splashes of color added in the sky and background, and it looks stunning with the 3D effect. Honestly, the graphics are one of the best things about this game and may be the best visuals of any game that I've played on the 3DS.
The music is very well produced and preformed. The music makes the game, and without the music Mario Kart would be nowhere compared to where it is today. The game's music this time around does not disappoint. Improving on some of the classic course's tunes and creating some new memorable songs as well. Seeing Wuhu Loop inspired by Wii Sports Resort on the 3DS and hearing the classic tune played at the start of Wii Sports made me shocked, and at the same time, happy. The music and visuals of the new Rainbow Road made me almost, admittedly, cry tears of joy.
Overall, this game is a welcome addition to the well-loved franchise of Mario Kart. It introduces some new features that work and some that do not. This is a great game to play on long car trips or for short periods of time. Race in theGrand Prix, beat your best score, or just admire the visuals or music, there are plenty to do.