Nintendo's influential kart-racing series hits new highs and lows in its stereoscopic debut on 3DS. Players steer their favorite Mushroom Kingdom residents -- or their own Mii characters -- through more than 30 new and classic courses, making use of hang-gliding high-jumps and submarine shortcuts. Extended kart customization options allow players to choose the best tires and special accessories for their next race. In the spirit of the series, a variety of multiplayer options are available, for as many as eight, along with single-player racing.
Tilt-to-steer controls and a first-person perspective mode are options. As in the Wii edition of Mario Kart, 3DS players can collect coins for added defense, and earn an extra boost by performing in-air tricks. Inspired by the classic Super Mario Bros. platform games, Mario Kart 7's new power-ups include the Super Leaf, which adds an swiping Tanooki tail to the vehicle, and the Fire Flower, which allows karts to shoot fireballs at opponents. Turtle shells, ink blots, banana peels, and other familiar Mario Kart items also add to the chaotic racecourse competition.
The game's graphics are designed to make use of the three-dimensional display, making it easier to judge the relative distances of objects than in the past parallax and polygonal Mario Kart games. The characters themselves are lively and reactive, shooting glances at their opponents as they pass and making other facial expressions when they feel singled-out. Players can race against one another, online, or over a local wireless connection. Racing records and ghost-run data can be traded through the game's StreetPass and SpotPass features. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide