Mario Kart 7: Changing Strategy
Increased speed and new power-ups can only mean one thing: this isn't your dad's Mario Kart.
For the most part, Mario Kart 7 plays similar to the six games that have come before it. You still compete to win trophies across various cups, navigating your way through a variety of colorful tracks while nailing opponents with turtle shells. The basic formula remains intact.
That doesn't mean, however, that Mario Kart 7 doesn't have its own intricacies. Rest assured, this is a brand new entry in the celebrated franchise, one with its own unique features that set it apart from its predecessors.
With this in mind, you may need to switch strategy just a bit to adjust. Otherwise, the computer and millions of online competitors will leave you sucking exhaust.
On that note, make sure you get used to...
This is the first portable Mario Kart to run at a 60 frames per second. What does this mean in layman's terms? It puts Mario Kart: Super Circuit, and even the sublime Mario Kart DS to shame in the speed department.
Mario Kart 7 is much faster, to a degree that you'll need to pay even more attention to the road and your surroundings to take full advantage of shortcuts and hazards along the way.
Don't get us wrong. This isn't F-Zero style racing, but it's definitely a step up for the series.
This time around, Nintendo lets you customize these vehicles with a limited editor comprised of different body types and wheels. The latter is especially important, because the type of wheels you choose affects the way the tires grip the different surfaces in the game.
One of the coolest features in Mario Kart 7 is the ability to glide (via hang glider, no less) through the air, collecting coins before hitting the ground.
Just make sure it's a safe landing. Flying gives you the opportunity to choose your spots. Will you land in front of the other racers, or into a bottomless pit? Up to you.
First person racing
For the first time in the Mario Kart franchise, you'll be able to view the action from the first person, which should make the game seem even faster. Keep in mind, though, that this perspective works in tandem with gyroscope controls, and that'll probably take a little while to get used to.
Yes, red turtle shells and banana peels make a triumphant return, but there are at least three new items to experiment with.
The Tanooki Tail from Super Mario 3D Land lets you hit players and objects nearby, while the Fire Flower allows you to shoot fireballs at the opposition. Finally, Lucky Seven provides players with seven different power-ups that slowly spin around the kart, used one after the other. This probably appears for the person in last place.