Mario Kart 3DS Impressions
Hang gliders for everyone.
Mario Kart 3DS plays exactly as it should, and the video game world is therefore a better place because of it.
You won't find any crazy gimmicks. If anything, it feels like a natural extension of Mario Kart DS in the sense that you can still navigate around the tracks using the real time map, located on the touch screen. You'll even find the same power-ups, including the blooper that sprays black ink on opponents' screens.
That said, this enjoyable kart racer manages to stand out for several reasons.
First, it's super fast. This is without question the quickest portable Mario Kart we've seen, all thanks to 60 frames per second speed.
Second, you have the option of creating karts using a simple editor, instead of just selecting pre-made vehicles. Now you can select the body, type of wheels (small and skinny, big and fat) and one of the coolest additions, the hang glider.
While on the subject of the glider, this bad boy automatically appears whenever a character takes a jump, which gives you a chance to skillfully maneuver the kart in mid air. We love it.
If you go underwater, the kart sprouts a propeller. We also spied clams that open up, revealing gold coins to grab; they eventually shut.
The tracks, designed in part by Retro Studios (of Metroid Prime fame) fit perfectly into the Mario Kart series. We sped through a Donkey Kong Country inspired location, complete with DK barrels, as well as a coastal town with hot air balloons.
That aside, the game looks and feels like the Mario Kart fans know and love, just with cooler graphics and subtle tweaks that enhance an already addictive experience.
Expect more glowing coverage leading up to its late 2011 launch.