Mario Kart 7
|Mario Kart 7|
As with the previous games in the Mario Kart series, players participate in racing on various Mario-themed tracks, playing as one of seventeen different Mario characters. While racing, the players make use of power-up items that either assist their character or hinder opposing characters. New additions to the game include hang-gliding attachments for karts, the ability to drive underwater, the ability to drive in first person, and the ability to fully customize the vehicles' builds.
The game supports both local and online multiplayer for up to eight players. It was released to positive reviews with praise for the new additions, tracks and gameplay although the limited single player modes (such as the removal of the customizable Versus mode), item balancing and difficulty curve received criticism. Mario Kart 7 was the second 3DS game to sell over five million units, following Super Mario 3D Land.
Mario Kart 7 carries on traditional Mario Kart gameplay in which players race against each other in go-karts across a variety of themed tracks. Most tracks are based on various locations in the Mario series, but two tracks are set on Wuhu Island, which was featured in non-Mario video games Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus, and Wii Sports Resort.
While driving, the players may use power-up items, obtained from running into item boxes located at specific points on the track, that are used to hinder the progression of opponents or to help the player in the race. Some of these power-ups include the series staple items Koopa Shells, Banana Peels, and Super Mushrooms. The POW Block, Mega Mushroom, and Thunder Cloud from Mario Kart Wii are absent from the game, as well as the Fake Item Box from previous installments.
Mario Kart 7 also features three items new to the Mario Kart series (the last two of which do not return in Mario Kart 8). These items are the Fire Flower, which allows the player to shoot up to ten fireballs, the Super Leaf, which gives the player a tail that allows them to flip over nearby players, collect nearby Coins, and deflect items, and the Lucky Seven, which bestows seven items at once.
Coins, originally introduced in Super Mario Kart (1992), are scattered about the tracks; collecting them increases the kart's top speed. Up to ten coins can be collected in each race, but some will be lost if the player comes into contact with hazards or goes out of bounds.
In addition to traditional controls, Mario Kart 7 can be played using the Nintendo 3DS gyroscope, in which the action is viewed in first person and the player steers the kart simply by turning the entire game system.
Mario Kart 7 is particularly notable for sporting features unseen in previous installments.
Players are able to customize their vehicles, choosing from various vehicle bodies which range in weight and engine power, a selection of tires which affect a kart's handling on certain surfaces, and a choice of retractable hang-gliders, which allow players to glide through the air.
Hang gliding may allow players to skip over parts of the track or locate new routes and shortcuts that are otherwise inaccessible.
There are seventeen kart frames, ten wheels, and seven gliders, which makes 1,190 possible kart combinations for the players to use during the game.
In the previous installments, driving the kart into a body of water has been considered going out of bounds and would penalize the player by delaying them for several seconds after being picked up by Lakitu. In Mario Kart 7, however, the karts are fully submersible and some tracks feature segments that are completely underwater.
While underwater, an unfolded propeller motor appears out of the vehicle.
A distinction from Mario Kart DS, the preceding portable game in the series, is that the bottom (touch) screen no longer displays obstacles and moving items and objects other than players.
These include breakable boxes (both wooden and item boxes), bare items (bananas, Koopa Shells (including their colour), bombs, boost mushrooms, invincibility stars), bullet bills (as seen in the Airship Fortress stage and the item), snow balls (as seen in the Donkey Kong Pass stage) and moving non-player vehicles and busses (as seen in Shroom Ridge and the GCN Mushroom Bridge retro stage).
Mario Kart DS displayed these obstacles on the bottom screen when in the default map viewing mode that shows the area of the map surrounding the player and the vehicle's orientation, unlike in the alternative (full course map) view.
The course introduction, a panoramic view of the course displayed before each Grand Prix race, only occupies the top screen, while it occupied the bottom screen as well on Mario Kart DS, where Mario Kart 7 shows course details (name of track, selected cup and difficulty level (as indicated in engine displacement cubic centimetres) above the surrounding map as viewed on starting position. [check quotation syntax]
The game features sixteen playable Mario characters, including Wiggler, Honey Queen, Lakitu, and Metal Mario, who are new to the series, as well as Mii characters saved in the Nintendo 3DS Mii Maker, bringing the total to seventeen.
Like in the previous installments, characters are divided into three different weight classes, which impact their driving styles.
In Grand Prix, the player races against seven computer-controlled opponents in one of eight different cups, each featuring four tracks.
The player receives points based on their finishing position in each race ranging from one to ten. After all four races, there will be an award ceremony and the player receives a trophy depending on the final standings; bronze for third place, silver for second place and gold for the winner.
Along with the trophy, players will also receive a star rank for their performance ranging from one to three stars.
A distinction from Mario Kart DS and Wii is the removed race timer and the lap timer review in the results seen after finishing a race, as those are not fundamental like ranks to the Grand Prix game mode, in which the order of players reaching the goal matters.
In Time Trial, the player races alone to finish the course in the fastest time possible using a Triple Mushroom that can be used at any time during the run. The best time for each track is saved as a ghost, which the player can compete against in later trials.
In the Balloon Battle and Coin Runners battle games, the players drive around one of six arenas (three for this game and three from the previous installments) to collect items and attack their opponents to score points within the time limit of two minutes. The player can play online via Nintendo Network, participating in races or battles with up to seven other players. Game data can also be exchanged with other Nintendo 3DS consoles via StreetPass.
While playing through wireless communication and/or online communication, certain courses (i.e. Toad Circuit, DS Airship Fortress, etc.) are different[how?] from the single-player versions.
Mario Kart 7 offers 32 different tracks, which consist of 16 new tracks and 16 "classic" tracks, remakes of tracks featured in the previous six installments.
The tracks are split into 8 cups, with 4 tracks in each cup. The cups are the Mushroom, Flower, Star, Special, Shell, Banana, Leaf, and Lightning Cups. The Shell, Banana, Leaf, and Lightning Cups form the "Retro Grand Prix" and contain classic tracks, while the Mushroom, Flower, Star and Special Cups comprise the "Nitro Grand Prix", which contain the completely new courses.
As usual in the Mario Kart series, tracks are based thematically on locations in the Mario universe, with the notable exception of the new courses Wuhu Island and Maka Wuhu, both based on Wii Sports Resort.
In addition, there are six arena courses available for Battle mode, which includes three original courses and three retro courses. Each race consists of three laps around each track, with the exception of three tracks (Wuhu Loop, Maka Wuhu, and Rainbow Road) which consist of only a single lap divided into three sections.
Nintendo EAD began development on Mario Kart 7 in early 2010. The idea to have hang gliding and submersible karts came during the development of the previous Mario Kart game, Mario Kart Wii, and was one of the first gameplay mechanics implemented. The ability to customize the player's kart was added in order to make gameplay more strategic and to boost the multiplayer experience. The game was first publicly announced at E3 2010 under the tentative title Mario Kart 3DS and then shown again at E3 2011, where it was announced for a late 2011 release.
Because Nintendogs + Cats was scheduled to be released first, Mario Kart 7 was given lower priority and only eight staff members were assigned to begin work on it. When it was time to focus on the game, producer Hideki Konno realized that there was not enough staff available due to many other titles being developed at the same time, including The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword which had its production extended into 2011. In order to finish the game in time for the 2011 Christmas season, Nintendo consulted with Retro Studios, which had just finished making Donkey Kong Country Returns, to co-develop the game. Retro started work on Mario Kart 7 in December 2010. The team focused on producing the classic racing courses, remakes of courses from the earlier Mario Kart titles, in order to learn both "lessons about the development process [for Mario Kart games]" and "about what makes a good course from a design perspective."
Shortly after the release of Mario Kart 7, it was discovered that three of its available race tracks (Wuhu Loop/Wuhu Island Loop, Maka Wuhu/Wuhu Mountain Loop, and GBA Bowser Castle 1) had contained glitches that allowed players to skip over a significant portion of the track, often exploited as a cheat during online play. Although Nintendo initially reported in January 2012 that there were no plans to release a fix, a downloadable patch that removes the glitches during online play was released in the Nintendo eShop on 15 May. Players who do not download and install the patch will be unable to connect and play Mario Kart 7 online. However, the patch does not affect single-player (Grand Prix, Time Trials, and StreetPass) and local wireless-multiplayer.
|Nintendo World Report||8.5/10|
Mario Kart 7 has received generally favourable reviews. It holds an 85/100 rating on Metacritic based on 60 critic reviews and an 85.17% rating on GameRankings based on 45 reviews. IGN scored it a 9/10, praising "a handful of incredible innovations" and the game's multiplayer, particularly community features and customizable racing rules, but criticizing the small roster of only 17 characters, compared to that of Mario Kart Wii's 25 characters. Computer and Video Games gave the game a 9.4/10 and Eurogamer gave it an 8/10. Nintendo World Report gave the game an 8.5, stating that it is more of the same and the gliding mechanics feel underutilized.
On the more negative side, Jim Sterling of Destructoid gave the game a 5/10, stating that "sticking to tradition has not worked in Nintendo's favor" and saying the new glider and underwater sections "exist to provide the illusion of variety rather than actually altering the core experience". Giant Bomb scored the game a 3/5, noting "your enjoyment of Mario Kart 7 will likely hinge on your continued appreciation of [the series'] formula".
IGN awarded Mario Kart 7 the IGN's Editors' Choice. Mario Kart 7 was nominated for "Best 3DS Game" and "Best Driving Game" at GameTrailers' 2011 Game of the Year Awards, but lost both respectively to Super Mario 3D Land and Forza Motorsport 4. Digital Spy awarded Mario Kart 7 the "Best Game of 2011" for the Digital Spy readers' awards of 2011. Edge awarded Mario Kart 7 as the best portable game of 2011.
Guinness World Records awarded Mario Kart 7 as the best selling racing game on a portable console in its Gamer's Edition in 2013.
Mario Kart 7 sold 3.48 million units in the U.S. as of August 2014. In Japan, the game has sold over 1.5 million units as of 25 January 2012. As of 31 March 2021, the game has sold 18.94 million units globally. The game has been nominated for "Favorite Video Game" twice in the Kids Choice Awards, but lost to Just Dance 3 in the 2012 edition and Just Dance 4 in the 2013 edition.
- Mario Kart 7 (マリオカート7, Mario Kāto Sebun)
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