Game review- MarioKart DS

The screen saver on my computer currently reads “No MarioKart until you’ve edited something.”

I think I’ve always been drawn to racing games. I hate driving in real life, but for whatever reason, I love racing games. I first ran into MarioKart on a friend’s SNES years ago. I was awful at it, but had a blast playing it. Then my roommate got MarioKart for the N64. He and I were racing to see who could unlock more of the game first. If we were playing at the same time, we tended to work together to make sure we always came in first and second. (I used to feel sorry for the gamer when we did that. We were utterly merciless.) When I landed on a friend’s couch a couple of years ago and discovered he had MarioKart for his GameCube, I became obsessed. I spent a lot of my free time trying to unlock it.  Before long, a friend discovered MarioKart, and she and I spent hours upon hours working together (I was the driver, she was throwing items at the other carts.) working to unlock the game. She was extememly competitive, and I quickly wore out before we could unlock the last goodie.

This doesn’t even begin to cover my relationship with Pole Position, F-Zero, and IGPX (I’ve only played the online version…I should see if there’s a console game!)

About a week ago, my roommate let me rummage through his DS games, where I discovered MarioKart DS. I think my little fangirl squeal was able to be heard by dogs in Japan. My roommate hadn’t unlocked very much of the game yet. I sat down and started figuring out how this new version worked, and before had nearly every single track unlocked.

For the most part, I like it. The settings are fun. I’m especially fond of the lushness of Peach’s Garden and the insanity that is the Airship Fortress. The drive is relatively smooth. Some of the new items (the bullet, in particular) are more fun than anyone person should be allowed to have. The characters each have a race car and a special vehicle. I tend to stick to Yoshi and his race car, but I’m secretly in love with Toad’s Mushmellow, which is surprisingly maneuverable. I still haven’t figured out how to burst off the start line, but I’m guessing it’s just a matter of time.

The best part about MarioKart DS, though, is the fact that there are two circuits you can run. The Nitro Circuit is the one created for the DS. The tracks feel much shorter than the console games, even at the Special Cup. The Retro Circuit has four cups comprised of tracks from each of the four prior MarioKart games (minus the cool ways to cheat to win). It’s been a blast!

It’s probably a bit easier than either the GameCube and N64 versions were, but it’s a great way to dodge editing a novel!

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