Review by 47pik

"Buy this NOW"

This is by far the best Mario Kart game ever made. With a ton of courses, incredible graphics, and ONLINE PLAY, there is no reason not to buy it. It does indeed have flaws but that should not be much of a problem. So without further ado, lets go in-depth.

GRAPHICS 10/10

Okay compared to consoles, these graphics suck. But this is a handheld with last-gen graphics which is incredible. This game has the best 3-D graphics so far on the DS. They never slow down either. The characters and cars look very good, ditto for the courses. This is obviously the least important area of any game so this is not what should make you buy this game. Nope not at all. This next part however is.

GAMEPLAY 10/10

This is what should make you buy the game. I cannot stress enough the brilliance of the course design. The new courses at least. The retro ones are kinda meh, but they are still classic, being changed very little. (But the cool shortcut from Yoshi Circuit (Double Dash!!) is gone!!!) But back to the new courses, there are 16. Which is what you get in all Mario Kart games. Then there is the 16 retro courses, making this the most massive Mario Kart game to date. Of the new courses, several are VERY memorable. Like Waluigi Pinball, (A giant pinball table) Wario Stadium, (A massive dirt track) and Rainbow Road. (LOOP THE LOOPS!!!!! Nuf' said) Then there is the awesomely addictive Mission Mode, very fun, very challenging. (I still can't unlock the 7th set of missions) And of course there is the battle mode. Gone is the junktastic battle mode from Double Dash!! and there now is a battle mode similar to the one from Mario Kart 64. They even brought back Block Fort. There is also a new team option in battle. The coolest thing about battle though, is that if you play balloon battle (pop your opponent's balloons) you inflate the balloons by blowing into the mic. Then there is the Nintendo WFC (Wi-Fi connection) but that will be talked about later. Truly gameplay is where MKDS shines.

MUSIC 9/10

Nothing out of the ordinary here. Just what you'd expect from a Mario game. And that's a good thing, and by itself insures this an 8/10. Why does this get a whole point higher you ask? Well the Mario Kart theme. It has been given an AWESOME jazzy remix, that causes me to wait on the title screen for several seconds just to hear the beginning.(the best part)

SOUND 8/10

This is rather good, especially the engines. The spiney shell makes an awesome noise too as it swoops in to nab you. The karts colliding is good too. However the voices are somewhat unclear sometimes. Fairly decent sound.

MULTIPLAYER 9/10

This is what the Mario Kart franchise is all about. Multiplayer Mayhem. The vs. mode is good because you can play it with anyone who has a DS regardless of if they have MKDS or not. But there is a catch. You can only do the first four new courses and the first four retro courses. If your friend has MKDS however you get unlimited access. The only problem with the LAN vs. mode is that your friend must have a DS. This causes serious problems for me, because none of my friends have a handheld system newer than a Game Boy Colour! My sister however does have a DS, but is no good at playing anything that isn't a basic RPG or a simulation game. So for me the vs. mode sucks. But if you have friends that are equipped with the best handheld system ever (DS) you are going to have a TON of fun. The battle mode is also extremely good, boasting 8 battle areas that are all quite imaginative and equally fun to battle on. Some are new some are retro, (BLOCK FORT!!!) and its a blast to play. There are two different modes to play. Balloon Battle and Shine Runners. Balloon Battle is the basic Mario Kart battle mode, with a slight twist. You have 5 balloons. But you only start with one inflated. To inflate more you blow into the mic. You can have a total of three balloons inflated at one time. With Shine Runners, several shines appear around the stage you are battling on. (I find the best one to play this on is Twilight House, because of its maze of rooms) There is a clock ticking down at the top of the screen. Whoever has the least shines when the time runs out loses. Then the time starts ticking down again until there is only one person left. You can steal shines from other players too. Another large difference in multiplayer battle (and vs.) is that 8 players can play at once. None of this 4 player stuff with the console games. 8 players. Another thing about battle mode is that you can also play team battle for a real twist. Multiplayer is awesome but somewhat suffers from the fact that you need to know others who have DS's. But thats what the NFC was supposed to solve right?

ONLINE (NFC) 8/10

This is a wonderful addition to MKDS which is meant to get rid of some problems from Wireless LAN play. That it does but it has its own problems. First of all, to connect to the NFC you must either a) have a wireless router, or b) go to a Wi-Fi hotspot. This is not a problem for me, since I have a wireless router, but most people don't seem to have one. So they have to go to a hotspot. Which isn't that much of a problem if you live in the U.S. suburbs. But if you live in a rural area, or downtown in a big city with parents that won't let you go anywhere, or in Canada (where I'm from), or in a lot of other places your in for some trouble. After you get connected to the NFC you have four options: Worldwide, National, Rivals, and Friends. Worldwide lets you play people of random skill levels all around the world. National does the same, but only within your country. Friends pairs you up with your friends who are playing online. (Q: How can I get the friend code of someone I just raced? A: You can't) These have to be real friends you actually know in the real world. Rivals mode is great. This is what separates MKDS from all other online games. It puts you up against people of your skill level. Very good stuff. So you chose an option and then you get a screen that says its looking for opponents. This takes about 2-3 minutes. Which sucks. But when the race gets started you'll be able to race on four courses without having ot wait anymore. Then you pick the course (each person picks a course and it picks one randomly) and then the race starts. With only four people. *sigh*. Now the biggest problem of all with NFC is that not all the courses are available. Of my favourite 5 courses (Wario Stadium, Waluigi Pinball, Bowser's Castle, Peach Gardens, and Tick Tock Clock) only 1 is available for play. This is just bad luck. Most courses are available, just so happens my faves aren't. So you're probably reading this thinking HOW IN THE HECK DID THIS SECTION GET AN 8 OUT OF 10? Well, quite simple. Despite the flaws NFC succeeds in giving the game just what the Mario Kart franchise has always needed. It causes the game to become better than good. It also solves the problem of unDS owning friends. You can play against anyone else in the world who has the game. It is really incredible.

PROS

-Stellar graphics
-Awesome Multiplayer
-ONLINE

CONS

-Some problems with playing wireless LAN and on the NFC

BOTTOM LINE

Buy this now. It is probably the best DS game available, you should especially buy it if you own a wireless router. Or frequent at wireless hotspots. Happy Mario Karting, and if you ever meet me online someday (I'm called 47pik) PREPARE 4 TOTAL PWNAGE!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/16/06


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