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E3 2011: Mario Kart 3DS First Impressions

Feature; Jun. 7, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Robert F. Ludwick
Subtypes: Opinion, Preview
We get some hands-on time with Mario Kart's newest iteration on the 3DS
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Mario Kart on the 3DS plays just about as you'd expect for a Mario Kart title. You pick one of eight characters and select your kart. New to the game is the tire selection, allowing you to outfit your racer with lighter or heavier wheels to give you more options in a race. Players also get to use a hang glider in this version.

Mario Kart

The hang glider allows you to float down from ledges and other drop-offs, giving more distance than before when falling. This could lead to tactical decisions, such as trying to fly over tricky terrain or trying to use speed boosts. Another addition to the karts is an underwater propeller. In shallow water, it seems, you can go underwater and continue to race. As expected, you'll drive a little slower, and your falls off of underwater cliffs will be slower, thanks to the resistance and friction of the water. Again, there are tactical decisions to be made here.

This is actually the first time I've used a 3DS. It plays as well as I'd expect a handheld system to, and the 3-D without glasses is pretty nice. Mario Kart looks good in 3-D and is entertaining as always. The additions of the hang glider and water propeller are good, as they add more depth to the karting experience and give more variety to a player's arsenal of strategic options. The eight-player multiplayer that Nintendo is promising should be pretty good too, but it was unavailable to try out.

So far it seems Mario Kart on the 3DS will be a nice addition to both the Mario Kart franchise and the 3DS' games library.

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