Review by wolverinefan

"More of the same"

I loved Mario Kart back on the snes and even on the N64. Things sort of went sore with the series for me after that as it failed to do anything new or interesting with the idea and so many more clones had made their way into the market.

I've held off playing this first DS entry for a while now as I only recently played through the Cube Kart title and the Wii title is soon to be released. The first thing that really surprised me with the DS title is not only how many tracks there were but also how many cups. Plus multiple play throughs on harder difficulties meant this game would be a beast to finish 100%.

Well, to be fair I didn't aim for 100% for the entire game but I made my way through all of the cups in a single difficulty. The game is fun, that's a given and fans of Nintendo should be in love as the game does a number of things correctly and actually adds some new features.

The cast is kind of small, which was my first real let down. With about 10 or so characters, none of which I just had to play as, left me wanting a little something else. It does suck when you boot a game up and none of the available characters are appealing. Sure we have Mario, Luigi and the gang but maybe some lesser-known characters? Oh wait, we get Dry Bones... WTF...

The game has some sweet courses, a fair number are classic tracks from the good times with the series and then we also get some new tracks. Much like the previous games in the series we have typical kart racing with random items and obstacles in the tracks. I like the idea that each level, while themed, has a connection to the Mario series. Not only that but cool things happen in the stages. For instance in the clock course we have minute hands that spin or in the Mario course goombas are all over.

The game also looks great with some nice graphics. It did seem like some things, like the goombas, were cell shaded and 2d but maybe I'm just weird and it isn't actually like that. The game does lack in textures though so at times I found a few tracks to be less than interesting to look at.

Nintendo offers a large sum of remixed tracks for this title also so the Nintendo geek within will lap this up like whatever you enjoy to lap up... Little voice samples can also be heard so the sound is well rounded and even the kart sounds good.

Back to the actual game play I don't think a single new attack item has been put into this game. The typical shrinking thunder, mushrooms, shells and what not are still here and spice up the game play enough to keep things fun.

The game has one big flaw, at least to me, but it may not affect everyone. The game lacks any sense of speed, which to me is a very important part of any racer. I don't want to feel like I'm just chugging along, I want to feel like I'm moving and have things to do and see. The game doesn't offer that and feels slow, almost as if you're not going anywhere.

So, the game is actually really well done, besides the few small bumps but I also found the multiplayer to be lacking. I always loved the different mini games and this time around we get two. The balloon pop and the collect a shine. What a bore that is and it's not enough variety to keep me coming back for me,

The game also features single and multi-cart multiplayer. Not sure how it works as I don't know a single person who owns a DS. There is also wifi game play but no one was on so I can't tell you how that is and when I tried to find someone a second time my game got some error so I have no clue how it works.

I wouldn't really recommend this game whole-heartedly but fans will enjoy it for what its worth. Frankly, the lack of a sense of speed really hurts the game in my point of view and some how makes it less fun. The multiplayer also feels lacking as a whole and with no one seeming to be on-line I guess the community is slowly dying out. Here's to hoping the Wii version fixes these problems and adds some more much needed content.

Story - N/A
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 10/10
Control - 9/10
Game Play - 7/10
Replay Value - 8/10

Final Score - 7/10

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 04/28/08

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

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