NYCC ’11 – Mario Kart 7 Preview

Karts! Bananas! Good times!

Mike Whiteby Mike White

mario_kart_7

Our first stop on the show floor at NYCC this year was the Nintendo booth. Flanked by rows of TVs showing off the new Zelda and Kirby Wii games were a cluster of stations sporting multiple 3DS games.

My immediate attraction was to the new Mario Kart 7 coming out in early December. This was my first chance to spend some time playing the 3DS outside of the mini-games demoed at PAX East this spring.

The circle pad control works incredibly well with normal driving conditions but really shines when used with the glider, a new addition to the Mario Kart franchise. Another new travel form happens when a course takes you under water, bringing out a propeller to help your kart navigate the sea floor.

The transitions between normal driving, under water and flight are seamless. The tracks we’ve seen so far are the normal brand of Nintendo creation. That is to say they are well planned and offer variety and an advantage to anyone who has traversed them more than once.

The usual cast of playable characters are all available, as well as the tried-and-true power-ups. Gamers also have the option to drive as their Mii this time around. Players can compete online with up to seven others using local WiFi, but can also choose to play over a broadband internet connection as well.

The three tracks we saw at Comic Con showed off a variety of environments and highlighted most of the new features. This feels a lot like the original DS version of Mario Kart in all the right ways. The AI is solid without resorting to cheap tricks when you’re in the lead or being a pushover when you’re behind. Overall, the game looks ready to hit store shelves.

New maps, upgradeable gliders, wheels and carts and a few surprises to come will make purchasing this title for any DS owner or Mario Kart fan alike a no-brainer.