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Mario Kart 7 Hands On Preview

Mario Kite...i mean Kart races on to the 3DS, and it's AWESOME

Mario Kart for the Nintendo 3DS is definitely looking to once again suck up massive amounts of playtime from gamers. My hands on with the game surely proves that may very well be the case this holiday.

The first thing that I noticed about the game were the graphics and the use of 3D. The graphics are a definite step up from its handheld predecessor. Environments are colorful and vibrant, and some characters, most notably characters like Donkey Kong are a lot more detailed with his fur clearly standing out. Aside from Donkey Kong, other Nintendo mainstays appeared as well, such as Mario, Luigi, Toad, Bowser, Peach, and Wario.

The first big difference from past iterations came after character selection, where you get the opportunity to customize your kart to an extent. You can choose from various body types, wheels, and gliders. Yes, gliders! Now when your kart gets shot into the air, a glider pops out of the vehicle and allows you to glide through the air until you land. It's a very small change to the series, but it works well, and is very welcome.

As far as gameplay is concerned, it plays like a hybrid between Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii. It's more like Mario Kart Wii in a sense that you don't manually drift boost like you do in Mario Kart DS, but instead it happens the longer you stay in a drift. It was said that there were a few new items as well, including the propeller mushroom from New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

Also of potential interest to fans, Retro Studios has been assisting with development of the game, providing some level and kart designs. It's not clear how much of an influence they've had on the title, but given their past work, their involvement is likely an asset.

Overall the game played fine, and was insanely fun. After winning the race I wanted to play more, and I got that addictive feeling that I got from Mario Kart DS. This is a very good thing. I'm definitely looking forward to more from this game. Mario Kart 3DS is to be released this holiday season.



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