It was odd when the Nintendo 3DS did not immediately release a 3D Mario Kart version when the device launched as Mario Kart was usually the first game available for any Nintendo device. It turns out this was because they were actually investing a lot of time, energy and content into retooling Mario Kart for the 3D medium of the 3DS. Steve Boxer, game reviewer for The Guardian, got a sneak peak at the game and this is what he had to say about it.
That isn’t to say that all the old stuff isn’t there, too: it’s a reassuringly familiar game, and its perfectly judged mechanics (such as drifting round corners and piling on the opposite lock for a speed-boost) have, wisely, not been tampered with. But one difference becomes apparent the moment you dive into your first race: you can customize your kart by picking from a selection of bodies, wheels (some of which jack your kart up like a monster truck) and glider-wings for the rear.
That’s right: in Mario Kart 3D, when you launch your kart off one of those characteristic cliffs or jumps, a wing opens up, and you will glide back to earth. We discovered that speed-boost power-ups work in mid-air, and there’s a delightful trade-off between staying in the air and thereby avoiding ground-based traps, and getting back to earth as early as possible, which is usually a slightly quicker way to proceed.
Another innovation is the ability to drive underwater – in previous versions of Mario Kart such as Mario Kart 64, there were plenty of water’s-edge tracks and, if you ended up submerged, you would be fished out and replaced on the track. But in Mario Kart 3D, when you go underwater, your car sprouts a propeller, and you can drive normally.
Plenty of work has gone into Mario Kart 3D’s tracks – while some feel familiar, albeit with new additions, the majority of the ones we played were new. Some featured multiple paths, with thin tracks, requiring precision driving and providing the best short-cuts. There were rolling boulders to be dodged, and a Donkey Kong-themed jungle track – unfortunately, crashing into the DK barrels, we discovered, didn’t yield any power-ups. The bottom screen showed a top-down map, so you could keep tabs on competitors: up to eight people can race against each other, either locally or via the web. Although the stereoscopic 3D made it marginally easier to judge distances and aim green shells accurately, it couldn’t really be said to have added much to Mario Kart’s classic gameplay.
Source: The Guardian
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