Mario Kart 7

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Mario Kart 7
Mario Kart 7 box art.jpg
Packaging artwork released for all territories.
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD Group No. 1
Retro Studios
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Director(s) Kosuke Yabuki
Producer(s) Hideki Konno
Yasuyuki Oyagi
Composer(s) Kenta Nagata
Satomi Terui
Series Mario Kart
Platform(s) Nintendo 3DS
Release date(s) JP 20111201December 1, 2011

EU 20111202December 2, 2011
AU 20111203December 3, 2011
NA 20111204December 4, 2011
Nintendo eShop
PAL 20121004October 4, 2012
NA 20121018October 18, 2012
JP 20121101November 1, 2012

Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution Nintendo 3DS Game Card, Digital distribution

Mario Kart 7 (マリオカート7 Mario Kāto Sebun?)[2] is a 2011 racing video game and the seventh major instalment in the Mario Kart series, developed by Nintendo EAD and Retro Studios and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 3DS.[2] Similar to previous games in the series, players participate in go-kart racing on various Mario-themed tracks, playing as one of seventeen different Mario characters. While racing, the players make use of power-up items that hinder opposing characters. New additions to the game include hang-gliding attachments for karts, the ability to drive underwater, and the ability to fully customize the vehicles' builds.[3] Mario Kart 7 supports both local and online multiplayer for up to eight players.[4] The game was released worldwide in early December 2011.[5]

It is the second 3DS game to sell over 5 million units after Super Mario 3D Land. Nintendo announced that they would re-release the game, along with some of their earlier published games for the Nintendo 3DS, as a downloadable title via Nintendo eShop. The downloadable version was released in the PAL region on October 4, 2012,[6] October 18, 2012 in North America,[7] and November 1, 2012 in Japan.[8] At 9.35 million copies sold as of December 2013, it is the second best-selling 3DS game of all-time,[9] behind Pokémon X and Y. Mario Kart 7 received positive reception, gaining aggregate critical scores of 85% and 84.96% on Metacritic and GameRankings respectively.

Gameplay[edit]

Racing in first-person is one of the new elements in this game along with hanggliding.

Mario Kart 7 carries on traditional Mario Kart gameplay in which players race against each other in go-karts across a variety of themed tracks. Most tracks are based off various locations in the Mario series, but two tracks are set on Wuhu Island, which was featured in non-Mario video games Wii Fit, Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort.[10] While driving, the players use power-up items, obtained from running into item boxes located at specific points on the track, that are used to hinder the progression of opponents or to help the player in the race. Some of these power-ups include the series staple items Koopa Shells, Banana Peels, and Super Mushrooms. Mario Kart 7 also features three items new to the Mario Kart series: the Fire Flower, the Super Leaf, and the Lucky Seven, which bestows seven items at once.[11] Coins, originally introduced in Super Mario Kart, are scattered about the tracks; collecting them increases the kart's top speed. Up to ten coins can be collected in each race, but some will be lost if the player comes into contact with hazards or goes out of bounds. Jump actions, which were introduced in Mario Kart Wii as tricks, lets players obtain a brief burst of speed when driving off ramps.[4][12] In addition to traditional controls, Mario Kart 7 can be played using the Nintendo 3DS gyroscope, in which the action is viewed in first person and the player steers the kart simply by turning the entire game system.

Mario Kart 7 is particularly notable for sporting features unseen in previous installments. Players are able to customize their vehicles, choosing from various frames which range in weight, a selection of tires which affect a kart's handling on certain surfaces, and a choice of retractable hanggliders, which allow players to glide through the air. Hang gliding may allow players to skip over parts of the track or locate new routes and shortcuts that are otherwise inaccessible.[4] There are 17 frames, 10 tires, and 7 gliders, which makes a grand total of 1,190 possible kart combinations for the players to use during the game. In previous installments, driving the kart into a body of water has been considered going out of bounds and would penalize the player by delaying them for several seconds. In Mario Kart 7 however, the karts are fully submersible and the tracks feature segments that are completely underwater.

The game features sixteen playable Mario characters, including Wiggler, Honey Queen, Lakitu, and Metal Mario, who are new to the series, as well as Mii characters saved in the Nintendo 3DS Mii Maker for a grand total of seventeen. The characters are divided into different weight classes, which impact their driving styles. Mario Kart 7 offers 32 different tracks, which consist of 16 tracks unique to the game and 16 "classic" tracks, remakes of tracks featured in the previous six installments.[4] Each race consists of three laps around each track, with the exception of three tracks that are completed in only one.

Game modes[edit]

Mario Kart 7 features four single-player game modes: Grand Prix, Time Trial, Balloon Battle, and Coin Runners. Some modes feature multiplayer options. In Grand Prix, the player races against seven computer-controlled opponents in one of eight different cups, each featuring four tracks. The player receives points based on his or her finishing position in each race. After all four races, there will be a trophy presentation and the player receives a trophy depending on the final standings; bronze for third place, silver for second place and gold for the winner. Along with the trophy, players will also receive a star rank for their performance. In Time Trial, the player races alone to finish the course in the fastest time possible using three mushrooms that can be used at anytime during the run. The best time for each track is saved as a ghost, which the player can compete against in later trials. If the player has SpotPass enabled on his or her Nintendo 3DS, he or she will be able to download ghosts from other players and can race against up to seven other ghosts simultaneously.[10][13] In the Balloon Battle and Coin Runners battle games, the players drive around one of six closed arenas (three for this game and three from previous installments) to collect items and attack their opponents to score points within the time limit of two minutes. The player can play online via Nintendo Network, participating in races or battles with up to seven other players. Game data can also be exchanged with other Nintendo 3DS consoles via StreetPass.

Development[edit]

Nintendo EAD began development on Mario Kart 7 in early 2010.[14] The idea to have hang gliding and submersible karts came during the development of the previous Mario Kart game, Mario Kart Wii, and was one of the first gameplay mechanics implemented.[15] The ability to customize the player's kart was added in order to make gameplay more strategic and to boost the multiplayer experience.[16] The game was first publicly announced at E3 2010 under the tentative title Mario Kart and then shown again at E3 2011, where it was announced for a late 2011 release.

Because Nintendogs + Cats was scheduled to be released first, Mario Kart 7 was given lower priority and only eight staff members were assigned to begin work on it. When it was time to focus on the game, producer Hideki Konno realized that there was not enough staff available due to many other titles being developed at the same time, including The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword which had its production extended into 2011. In order to finish the game in time for the 2011 Christmas season,[4] Nintendo consulted with Retro Studios, which had just finished making Donkey Kong Country Returns, to co-develop the game.[14] Retro started work on Mario Kart 7 in December 2010. The team focused on producing the classic racing courses, remakes of courses from earlier Mario Kart titles, in order to learn both "lessons about the development process [for Mario Kart games]" and "about what makes a good course from a design perspective."[17]

The game's soundtrack was composed by both Kenta Nagata, who worked on previous Mario Kart titles Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and Star Fox 64 3D composer Satomi Terui.

Technical issues[edit]

Shortly after the release of Mario Kart 7, it was discovered that three of its available race tracks, Wuhu Loop (Wuhu Island Loop), Maka Wuhu (Wuhu Mountain Loop), and GBA Bowser Castle 1, had each contained a glitch that allowed players to skip over a significant portion of the track, often exploited as a cheat during online play. Although Nintendo initially reported in January 2012 that there were no plans to release a fix,[18] a downloadable patch that removes the glitches during online play was released in the Nintendo eShop on May 15. Players who do not download and install the patch will be unable to connect and play Mario Kart 7 online.[19] However, the patch does not affect single-player and local multiplayer.[20] The patch was later incorporated into retail cartridges after the release.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 85.17%[21]
Metacritic 85[22]
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 9.4/10[23]
Eurogamer 8/10[24]
IGN 9/10[25]
Nintendo World Report 8.5/10[26]
Destructoid 5/10[27]
Giant Bomb 3/5[28]

Mario Kart 7 has received mostly positive reviews. It holds an 85/100 rating on Metacritic based on 60 critic reviews and an 85.17% rating on GameRankings based on 45 reviews.[21][22] IGN scored it a 9/10, praising "a handful of incredible innovations" and the game's multiplayer, particularly community features and customizable racing rules, but criticizing the small roster of only 17 characters, compared to that of Mario Kart Wii's 25 characters.[25] Computer and Video Games gave the game a 9.4/10[23] and Eurogamer gave it an 8/10.[24] Nintendo World Report gave the game a 8.5, stating that it is more of the same and the gliding mechanics feel underutilized.[26]

On the more critical side, Jim Sterling of Destructoid gave the game a 5/10, stating that "sticking to tradition has not worked in Nintendo's favor" and saying the new glider and underwater sections "exist to provide the illusion of variety rather than actually altering the core experience".[27] Giant Bomb scored the game a 3/5, noting "your enjoyment of Mario Kart 7 will likely hinge on your continued appreciation of [the series'] formula".[28]

IGN awarded Mario Kart 7 the IGN's Editors' Choice.[25] Mario Kart 7 was nominated for "Best 3DS Game" and "Best Driving Game" at GameTrailers' 2011 Game of the Year Awards, but lost both respectively to Super Mario 3D Land and Forza Motorsport 4.[29][30] Digital Spy awarded Mario Kart 7 the "Best Game of 2011" for the Digital Spy readers' awards of 2011.[31] Edge awarded Mario Kart 7 as the best portable game of 2011.[32]

Guinness World Records awarded Mario Kart 7 as the best selling racing game on a portable console in its Gamer's Edition in 2013.

Mario Kart 7 sold 2.84 million units in the U.S. as of September 12, 2013.[33] In Japan, the game has sold over 1.5 million units as of January 25, 2012.[34] As of December 31, 2013, the game has sold 9.35 million units globally, becoming the second best-selling 3DS game.[9] The game has been nominated for "Favorite Video Game" twice in the Kids Choice Awards, but lost to Just Dance 3 in the 2012 edition and Just Dance 4 in the 2013 edition.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MARIO KART 7". Australian Government. 26 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Nintendo 3DS Price Drops to $169.99, as Great Value and New 3D Games Come Together". Nintendo. Retrieved 13 August 2011. 
  3. ^ "Mario Kart 7 at Nintendo :: Games". Nintendo. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Hill, Jason (6 December 2011). "Mario Kart 7 = fun". The Sydney Morning Herald's Digital Life. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Mario Kart 7 Related Games". GameSpot. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  6. ^ Jackson, Mike (2012-10-04). "Nintendo launches early 3DS games on EU eShop today". ComputersandVideoGames.com. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  7. ^ Goldfarb, Andrew (2012-10-04). "Mario Kart 7, Zelda, Mario 3D Land, Star Fox 3D on 3DS eShop". IGN. Retrieved 2012-10-05. 
  8. ^ McFerran, Damien (2012-10-03). "More 3DS Download Titles Coming To Japan's eShop". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  9. ^ a b "Top Selling Software Units - Nintendo 3DS Software". Nintendo. 2013-03-31. Retrieved 2013-04-24. 
  10. ^ a b "Mario Kart 7 Will Allow You To Register StreetPass Contacts As Friends". Siliconera. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  11. ^ "Mario Kart 7 Video Game, Japanese Overview Trailer". GameTrailers.com. 2011-11-17. Retrieved 2011-12-09. 
  12. ^ "Mario Kart 7 Video Game, TGS 11: Hang Time Trailer". GameTrailers.com. 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  13. ^ "Mario Kart 7 Video Game, TGS 11: Iwata Asks Gameplay". GameTrailers.com. 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2011-10-26. 
  14. ^ a b "It All Began with a Yakiniku Party". Iwata Asks: Mario Kart 7. Nintendo of America. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  15. ^ "Instantly Enjoyable, But Deep". Iwata Asks: Mario Kart 7. Nintendo of America. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  16. ^ Drake, Audrey. "Why Blue Shells are Mandatory in Mario Kart 7". IGN. Retrieved May 2012. 
  17. ^ "Starting with Classic Courses". Iwata Asks: Mario Kart 7. Nintendo of America. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  18. ^ Ivan, Tom (17 January 2012). "Nintendo has 'no plans' to fix Mario Kart 7 track glitch". Computer and Video Games. Retrieved 11 May 2012. 
  19. ^ Bray, Nicholas (15 May 2012). "Nintendo Releases Mario Kart 7 Game Data Update". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved 15 May 2012. 
  20. ^ Nintendo eShop
  21. ^ a b "Mario Kart 7". GameRankings. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  22. ^ a b "Mario Kart 7 for 3DS Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2011-12-09. 
  23. ^ a b "3DS Review: Mario Kart 7 Review". ComputerAndVideoGames.com. 2011-11-25. Retrieved 2011-12-09. 
  24. ^ a b Parkin, Simon (2011-11-25). "Mario Kart 7 Review • Reviews •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2011-12-09. 
  25. ^ a b c Drake, Audrey (2011-11-29). "Mario Kart 7 Review". Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  26. ^ a b Ronaghan, Neal (2011-11-29). "Mario Kart 7". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  27. ^ a b "Review: Mario Kart 7". Destructoid. Retrieved 2012-01-11. 
  28. ^ a b "Mario Kart 7 Review". Giant Bomb. 2011-11-29. Retrieved 2012-01-11. 
  29. ^ "Best 3DS Game". Game of the Year Awards. Gametrailers. 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-26. 
  30. ^ "Game of the Year Awards 2011 – Best Driving Game". 2011-12-20. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  31. ^ Reynolds, Matthew (2011-12-22). "'Mario Kart 7' voted Digital Spy readers' favorite game for 2011". Retrieved 2012-02-27. 
  32. ^ "Portable game of the year". 
  33. ^ Makuch, Eddie (12 September 2013). "Pikmin 3 US sales reach 115,000 units". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  34. ^ "Japan: 3DS continues to dominate sales". Computer and Video Games. 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2012-02-27. 

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