brooklyngrenade's Mario Kart DS (Nintendo DS) review

Mario Kart DS improves upon previous entries in the series in eve

Remember the good ol’ SNES days, when Super Mario Kart was released? For those who remember these times, wasn’t the game addictively fun? Well, nearly fifteen years later, the same can be said for the latest iteration of the Mario Kart series on the Nintendo DS.

From the gameplay aspect, it all feels very polished in Mario Kart DS. If you’re familiar with the series or even a complete newbie, there’s nothing to be skeptical about. Mario Kart games have always offered an easygoing pick up and play experience, and this time it’s really no different. However as you progress through the several kart classes, races noticeably become more challenging. A fairly new gameplay mechanic in Mario Kart DS is power-sliding. This is performed with the L and R buttons on the DS and a turbo boost can come as a result when simultaneously pressing left and right on the D-pad. Some players may become confused on how to do this, but it’ll become second nature to pull of fairly quickly. An improved map also provides as a helpful tool, while making a simple but effective use of the touch-screen. You can switch between two map views on the fly, a zoomed out version, showing the entire track and what racer is in what position, then a zoomed in perspective, giving you a more vivid idea of how far you are in front or behind.

Another huge aspect of Mario Kart’s gameplay has always been the items. Bananas, Koopa shells, bomb-oms, stars, and item stealing Boos all make a return. Several new items include Bloopers, the squid-like foes in most Mario games, whom blast an area of dripping ink on the screen, slightly hindering the vision of other racers. Additionally, you can transform your racer into a Bullet Bill, and make your way to the front of the pack at near hyper-speed. All the items are pretty fun to utilize and help the player in their own unique way. However, I did find myself sometimes getting the same items repetitively using most characters, and that kind of got annoying after a while. Races consist of up to eight participants. In the grand prix mode, there are three classes, 50CC, 100CC, and 150CC. Inside each class exists 8 cups with four races in each. Now that alone adds a strong bit of variety in the game’s value. In fact, variety is the strongest attribute of Mario Kart DS. Time trials and a battle mode serve as good add-ons, but the one game mode that stands out greatly and makes this version of Mario Kart a classic is the mission mode! It spans over six levels and you’ll complete challenges like: driving backwards through a number of gates in order with an allotted time of forty-five seconds. Progressing through these small missions leads up to an unlockable boss fight on each level.

While much is served on the single-player side, the greatest thing about Mario Kart DS is the multiplayer. Without question, this entry in the series delivers the best multiplayer action in any Mario Kart game to date. All game modes can be used in the multiplayer component. With the Nintendo Wifi capability, take your kart online with folks from around the world. You can even connect to players wirelessly within thirty feet of you, and them having a copy of Mario Kart DS isn’t even required. They can simply download a mirrored version of the game. The multiplayer is widely and easily accessible which extends the game’s overall value.

Mario Kart DS contains a pretty decent presentation. Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and the rest of the gang are all here, with a few unlockable characters. The graphics are in 3D and look pretty much exactly like the N64 Mario Kart. What’s great is that most of the tracks are a collection of the best and most memorable ones from previous entries in the series. The sound isn’t too shabby; in a nutshell it’s all the sound effects and music from the Mario universe recycled.

In summation, Mario Kart DS is clearly the best Mario Kart game out. With a solid presentation, traditionally good gameplay that is significantly improved on, the load of extra content and game modes, and some of the best multiplayer around, it’s a must own for those with a DS. In essence, it maintains and at the same time expands on what made the original Super Mario Kart a classic back in 1992. Addictive and great fun!

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