Review by buruburu1

"A must-have DS title."

Graphics (24/30, judged by era)- The DS turns out a performance a bit better, seemingly, than its N64 counterpart. Particularly in the newly designed maps the graphics are pretty impressive, although the SNES/GBA classic tracks look decidedly flat even if made to be 3d. Character and kart selection is great and the frame rate holds up well with 7 CPU opponents or online. Because SNES/GBA tracks, which are less graphically impressive make up a large amount of tracks the score can't really be higher. In terms of the overall look, it doesn't depart from the classic Mario Kart formula.

Sound- FX/Voice (8/10) Well recorded sounds and presented in full stereo. The great thing about sound usage in Kart is that the sound is actually important to the gameplay. Playing with headphones is the best way, and the audio cues can be utilized to make the most of your race.

Sound- Music (8/10) Much of the music is certainly remixed from older iterations of the game, or lifted entirely. However even the reused tracks seem to benefit from the DS sound chip and it all sounds great, again making use of the DS' speaker separation very well.

Gameplay- Length/Replay (15/15) There is plenty to do in this game. Getting gold rankings on all cups and playing through the majority of Trial missions to the 1-star rating easily exhausted the required hours to get to a perfect score. Add in the Time Trials--which I didn't find terribly compelling--as well as online play—which I did—and you get a plenty lengthy game.

Gameplay- Game Design (30/35)- I thoroughly enjoyed Mario Kart as a single-player game. The races were decently challenging and the presentation quite good. Control was pretty good given the non-analog setup. A few of the additional items were interesting and useful. Sticking to the old formula rather than Double Dash, they included power sliding as well as hopping, so there are lots of strategies to employ. The selection of tracks from across past games was a great move but the design of new courses left you sort of wanting more of them.

Playing online is a breeze, really. The game does a decent job of handling lag when it occurs, however the lack of the ability to have the server pick friends and strangers together means that if you want to play with friends, you're likely to be in 2-3 player games, and of course Kart shines best when the maximum number of people are playing as the mayhem is exponential for each player added. This means you'll likely spend a lot of time playing with strangers. When the game released, for months it was a snap to gather up a full roster of random opponents—now that the game is older, I wonder if it'd be nearly as easy.

**Final Thoughts: As mentioned, a must-have.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/10/09

Game Release: Mario Kart DS (US, 11/14/05)


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