Nintendo 3DS Guides/Walkthroughs

Guides and walkthroughs to the top Nintendo 3DS games, such as Mario Kart 7.

New Super Mario Bros 2; Secret Exit Guide

Finding secrets in Mario games can be pretty tough, remember those tricky ghost house secret exits in Super Mario World that relied on you finding an invisible door that was activated by a P Switch?  And in terms of hard to find secret exits, New Super Mario Bros 2 is even worse, the secrets are hidden in such a clever way that an unprepared gamer could be searching a ghost house for hours trying to find just one.

That’s where this guide comes in!  Now, you’ll be able to find any secret exit in the game perfectly easily, all the better considering there’s no mark on the map distinguishing places with secret exits!

Table of Contents/Quick Navigation

World 1 Tower

New to this game, the towers now mostly have secret exits!  Also new to this game, they’re an utter pain in the ass to find due to the fact the levels are so cramped and because the game designers had to find extremely tricky locations to put them!

And world 1 tower’s secret exit is one of the worst of the lot.

So to find it, do the following.  First of all, get to the midway point and go in the door just past it.  See that hole in the right wall all the block snakes are going into?

Go in and keep going right.  You’ll get sent to a room with a pipe, so exit and follow the path to find the red secret exit flag that opens up the world 1 cannon.

It’s a terrible secret to find considering how every other ‘hole’ in the wall in the entire level leads absolutely nowhere of interest and considering how most guides are incredibly vague about it.  But hopefully the above description should make it much easier.

World 2 Ghost House

Another extremely tricky exit to find, this one is found in the Boohemoth chase and requires finding an invisible block with a vine in it.

So continue on with the chase until you get to the second star coin (where the platform lowers to let you into a small alcove with the coin).  Just after it there’s a step and then a ghost house column to the right.  There’s also a tiny two block gap between them.

Fall down the gap, and jump up at the left side of the gap to make a hidden block with a vine appear, then climb it to reach a room with a door.  Go out the door and follow the path outside to a red secret exit flag.

World 3 Tower

This one requires more than a bit of courage to reach, since you have to reach the spike column room while Mini Mario and exit through a small pipe.

Go right at this part.

Basically, go up past the moving blocks and Fishbones at the start, and when the two blocks move up and away to let you past, quickly go right to find a Mini Mario only pipe.  Go in, and follow the (tricky and still filled with enemies and obstacles) path to the secret exit.

That mini pipe leads to the secret exit.

World 3-4

The poison pond level right after the tower also has a secret, but this one’s a lot easier to find and reach.  What you need to do is go all the way through the level until you reach the midway point and the rising poison water.  Now, go all the way right, and you’ll eventually see a red pipe blocked off by some brick blocks.

See that red pipe? Secret exit is through there.

Wait until the deadly water is low, break the bricks and exit through the red pipe to find the secret exit flag.  As you may have figured out, it’s best to bring a cape to this level if you want to get there easily, since timing a shell and quickly ducking under a smashed brick before the water kills you isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do.

World 3 Haunted House

Jeez, world 3 sure has a lot of secret exits!  Must be the Forest of Illusion influence creeping in…

None the less, the ghost house also has one, which only works as a shortcut leading to the castle.  And unlike most of the others, this one is obvious enough that some people may have even found it before the real exit!

Go into this passageway here.  It’s simple enough.

Still, what you have to do is go all the way through the level until the last room, the one with the two ghost held lifts that move upwards.  Stand on one of the two smaller ones to the left, and face away from the wall to lure out the Boo.  When you see a gap, go in and then break the brick blocks to reach a door.  Follow the path to the secret exit.

Then break the bricks to get in this door.

World 4 Haunted House

This one is a bit simpler.  What you need to do is go to the long room with the two moving ‘Boo walls’, and keep going until you see a red ring.  Now, wall jump up the two moving walls to a door, and enter it to reach the secret exit.  This isn’t the hardest secret in the game to find, you can likely see the door from the ground anyway.

You will probably find this secret for yourself.  Note the red ring, because that marks the spot.

World 4 Tower

This one however is probably going to be found due to sheer luck at best.  First things first, you have to get all the way to the midway point, and enter the second part of the level.

See that ! marked pipe where you shoot fireballs into it to?  Well the secret exit is a bit beyond this point.  So follow the elevator up to a ledge with a massive Dry Piranha Plant and you’ll see a blue pipe to the left.  Go in the blue pipe to find a secret room, then go up the pipe there to reach the secret exit.  It’s a very, very well hidden secret given that the only hint to this pipe leading anywhere is the blue colouration, and the fact that the ledge below this looked just about identical.

See the pipe Mario is standing just next to?  Go in there.

World 5-1

Did you know there was a ghost house in world 5?  Well there is, and this secret exit takes you there.

But finding it is insanely tricky.  What you need to do is play through the level til you reach the midway point, and keep going until you see a star coin under a rope.  See that Yellow Block and a rope suspended high in the air above it?  Jump under there, then jump upwards in the middle of the rope to make a secret block appear with a vine.  Climb up.

Oh, this is the star coin bonus area?  Err… sort of.

You see, the developers were really, really sneaky here. They hid the secret exit IN the bonus room!  No kidding.

So jump across the Paratroopas and you’ll reach a rope next to a high wall of multi coloured cubes/blocks.  Jump around on this rope to find a secret block with a vine near the middle of the rope.

Here’s where to find the secret within the secret room.

Go up the vine to find a ledge, and then drop down between two walls to reach the other side of the large wall you saw earlier.  There are lots of Paratroopas moving around here, so jump across their heads to reach the secret exit flag.

If you end up here, you’re going the right way to the secret exit.

World 5 Ghost House

Another tricky secret exit, with an alternate path needed that’s almost as long as the main one.  First of all, go to the pendulum in the first room.

When it swings to the right, jump around and you’ll find a secret block with a vine.  Climb up, then go up the stairs to the door.

This hidden block is usually a pain to find.

This takes you to another room, complete with more pendulum and ropes to swing on.  Cross the room (avoiding the Swoopers/bats as best you can), then when you reach the Big Boo hit the switch and exit through the door to the top right.

This will lead you outside, so climb the pole and swing on the rope towards the secret exit flag.

World 5A

And the secret level accessed from the last secret exit has it’s own secret exit?  Yep.

Here though, it’s much easier to ‘find’.  Just ride the airship all the way to the end, and then hit the blocks near the flag.  A vine will appear, so climb it up to a new area, then head right to reach the secret exit flag.

You can get high enough to reach the block with the vine by either bringing the springboard or just becoming Raccoon Mario and flying up.

World 6 Ghost House

This level is a hellish maze when you’re trying to find the real exit, and the secret exit is even worse.

So what you need to do is as follows:

Keep going until you reach the room with the Big Boo right next to the entrance.  Now, go right and go in the door as usual to end up near a switch.

Go back in this door.

However, don’t go left.  Instead, go back into the door you went in before to end up in the Big Boo room near the same switch you were at earlier. Go all the way right until the end of the room, where you’ll see another Big Boo.

Yes, this area is actually made of two seperate rooms, and going in the door above switches what room you’re in.

Here, lure it away and hit the switch that’s behind it to make part of the wall drop down and reveal a door.

This leads to a room with a switch and moving walls.  Hit it to make the walls move and go up to reach the third star coin, then keep wall jumping upwards to find a hidden door.

It’s hard enough to get here.  None the less, keep wall jumping past the star coin.

Go through it to end up outside, and go right to find the secret exit flag.

Mushroom 1

Much easier to find than many other exits, although still requires locating a hidden block.  What you need to do is the following:

Go right all the way past the midway point, until you reach two high columns of walkthrough blocks and a Koopa.  Bounce off the Koopa and get to the top of the right column, and jump while in the centre of it to make two hidden blocks appear, one of which has a vine.  Go up the vine and right to reach the secret exit flag.

 

Mushroom Ghost House

A simple secret exit this time around, proceed through the level as normal until you reach the ? switch that needs to be pressed to make a star coin appear.  Now, go right from there and into the door to find the secret exit.

This one’s easy.  The switch you need to press is only across that small gap.

Flower 1

The sunset level’s secret exit however is actually pretty ingeniusly hidden.  To find it, keep going through the level until you find a yellow pipe with two ? blocks floating above it. Hit the right side one and it becomes a winged block, so jump on top of it and ride it along.

Ride this winged block to the line of coins.

This will end up pulling Mario high into the sky, so in the area you end up just head over to the right across the snake blocks to find the secret exit.

Flower Haunted House

The final secret is easy to find.  Go to the top of the first room, and after you get the Star from the block, just hold right while falling to enter the passage to the right that’s halfway down.  Go through to reach the secret exit flag.

Where each secret exit leads

Finally, here’s a list of where each secret exit in the game will take you.

  • World 1 Tower -> World 1 Cannon
  • World 2 Ghost House -> World 2B
  • World 3 Tower -> World 3 Cannon
  • World 3-4 -> World 3B
  • World 3 Ghost House -> World 3 Castle
  • World 4 Ghost House -> World 4B
  • World 4 Tower -> World 4C
  • World 5-1 -> World 5 Ghost House
  • World 5 Ghost House -> World 5A
  • World 5A -> Green Mushroom House
  • World 6 Ghost House -> World 6A
  • Mushroom 1 -> Mushroom A
  • Mushroom Ghost House -> Mushroom B
  • Flower 1 -> Flower A
  • Flower Ghost House -> Flower B

That should be all the secret exits in the game, so I hope that answers everyone’s questions in regards to how to get all the secret exits.  If you’re still having trouble, either comment below or ask in the Nintendo 3DS Community forums where someone should eventually come and help you.

Images coming soon.

New Super Mario Bros 2 Cheats and Tips

Just like the previous games in the series, New Super Mario Bros 2 has a lot of interesting secrets to unlock.  However, many of these are either barely hinted at in game or hidden away via such a method that reaching them is fairly annoying without a guide, so here’s how to get all the game’s secret stuff.

Stars on File Select Screen

Just like in the DS and Wii game, the concept of having stars listed on your file on the file select screen returns.  However, before you think that unlocking them is just as easy this time around, there are a few extra caveats…

Here’s how to get each star:

  1. Beat the final boss/see the ending
  2. Get all star coins in worlds 1-6, Mushroom and Flower
  3. Get all moon coins in the Star World
  4. Beat all levels, open all paths and find all secret exits
  5. Max out the lives counter so it displays three crown icons

As you can see, some of the criteria that need to be met are brand new, including the point about maxing out your lives counter.

Shiny Stars on file select screen

Don’t use the assist block at all.  Thankfully, unlike in New Super Mario Bros Wii and Super Mario 3D Land, they’ve fixed this so merely seeing the shiny block won’t stop your file select screen stars shining, you actually have to use it to lose the effect now.

Play as Luigi

Hold L and R when selecting a file after beating the final boss/game.

Unlock Mushroom, Flower and Star Worlds

To unlock the Mushroom World, you’ll need to find the secret exit in world 1’s tower level.  To do this, go through the door after the midway flag to be in a room with lots of snake blocks.  Go through the hole on the right which the blocks are going through to reach a gold pipe, and follow the path outside to reach the secret exit.

However, this just unlocks the cannon itself.  To actually get to said world, you’ll need to enter the cannon level (which has you constantly running right and merely having to press the A or B button to jump) and complete it.  Now you’re in the Mushroom World.

To unlock the Flower World, a similar principle applies, except it’s world 3’s tower you’ll need to find a secret exit in.  Go through the level, and when the blocks move up/smashers come from both sides, there’s a mini pipe.  Go in as Mini Mario, survive the rest of the level until the secret exit and then beat the cannon level.

You can also reach it from the Mushroom World, via the cannon.  To unlock this, go to the ghost house, and after you’ve pressed the switches to unlock the path, go to the top of the room where you’ll see a P Switch.  Hit it to make a door appear to the far right near the top of the room and exit through it to reach the secret exit.  Then just beat the new level which unlocks (Mushroom B), then the cannon level to reach the Flower World.

Luigi in Star World

The Star World.

To unlock the Star World, you just need to beat Bowser for the first time in world 6.  However, you will not be able to progress unless you pay 90 star coins to get past the barrier in front of the first level.

Gold Crowns in lives counter

Triple Crown Lives

This is what having three crowns in the lives counter is like.  Also, note the hatless Mario.

When you max out your lives counter, the digits are replaced by gold crown icons like in Super Mario 3D Land.  As mentioned above, this is necessary for one of the stars on the file select screen.

Unlimited Mushroom Houses

To let you use the Mushroom Houses an unlimited amount of times (aka they don’t disappear once you leave), you need to beat the Star World.  Thankfully this is much easier than it sounds, most of the levels bar Dry Bowser’s castle are fairly easy.

Rainbow Levels

Rainbow Level

What a rainbow level looks like.

To unlock these short bonus levels, you’ll need to finish a level with the last two digits of the timer matching the world number.  So for each world, this is what the timer needs to be to make the rainbow level appear (X means it can be any value):

[table id=10 /]

New Title screen

New title screen
What you get for a million coins

Get one million coins.  This gives you an alternate title screen with a Gold Mario statue on it alongside tons of coins.

Messages

You get a message congratulating you for every significant amount of coins you rack up (on the main coin counter).  For instance, at about 100 coins, 1000 coins, 10 000 coins and then every few thousand coins after that you’ll get a congratulations message.

Hatless Mario and Luigi

Get three crowns for your lives counter, and Mario and Luigi will take their hats off.  However, they will put their hats back on if you die and lose the three crowns thing, so be warned.

Mario Kart 7; Unlockables and Tips

Not track specific tips or shortcuts here, since I covered that in an earlier post.  If you need those (like how to do the glitch at Wuhu Mountain Loop), check the link below:

Mario Kart 7 Track and Shortcut Guide

Now onto the more general tips, tricks and unlockables:

Characters

As you may have noticed, you unlock every single secret character in 150cc, bar the Mii.  Strange when you consider how Mario Kart Wii tied them to everything from 50cc to unlocking expert staff ghosts, but I hope this isn’t too annoying.

  • Daisy: Get 1st place in 150cc Mushroom Cup
  • Wario: Get 1st place in 150cc Flower Cup
  • Rosalina: Get 1st place in 150cc Star Cup
  • Metal Mario: Get 1st place in 150cc Special Cup
  • Honey Queen: Get 1st place in 150cc Banana Cup
  • Shy Guy: Get 1st place in 150cc Shell Cup
  • Wiggler: Get 1st place in 150cc Leaf Cup
  • Lakitu: Get 1st place in 150cc Special Cup
  • Mii: Place 1st in all cups at one cc.  If you got all the others, you should get this one too.

Stars next to name

Get at least one, two or three stars on every GP cup (including Mirror Mode) to have that many stars by your name online.  This is based on the lowest result you got for a cup, so if you got all two stars except for one cup, you’ll have one star next to your name online.

As for how to easily get stars, well here are some tips:

One Stars: I think this is the minimum.  Really, you have to either be legitimately trying or terrible not to get this on your first go, since you can even get it while placing second or third overall.

Two Stars: You played okay.  Well, that’s vague, but literally the only requirements are:

  1. You came first overall
  2. You didn’t do too terrible.  Really, unless you fall off a metric ton of times and screw up in every way possible, it’s very likely you’ll get at least this.

Three Stars: You played well.  Hard to judge what counts as ‘well’, but the one real requirement seems to be that you’ve won all four races in a cup.  Other than that, try not to fall off more than once, and generally do as well as possible, and you’ll get this eventually. Yes, shortcuts on Wuhu Mountain Loop, Wuhu Island Loop and Bowser Castle 1 will still let you get three stars, don’t panic.

Mirror Mode

Get gold/1st place on all cups in 150cc.

Kart Parts

You get these mostly at random at these coin amounts:

  1. Random Part – 50 coins
  2. Random Part – 100 coins
  3. Random Part – 150 coins
  4. Random Part – 200 coins
  5. Random Part – 250 coins
  6. Random Part – 300 coins
  7. Random Part – 400 coins
  8. Random Part – 500 coins
  9. Random Part – 600 coins
  10. Random Part – 700 coins
  11. Random Part – 800 coins
  12. Random Part – 900 coins
  13. Random Part – 1000 coins
  14. Random Part – 1200 coins
  15. Random Part – 1400 coins
  16. Random Part – 1600 coins
  17. Random Part – 1800 coins
  18. Random Part – 2000 coins
  19. Random Part – 2500 coins
  20. Random Part – 3000 coins
  21. Random Part – 3500 coins
  22. Random Part – 4000 coins
  23. Random Part – 4500 coins

The pattern gets a bit broken then, since at 5000 coins you unlock the Beast/Ghastly Glider.  Always for some reason.

True Ending

Finish first on all cups in all GP classes.  True here means you see more than just the starting characters at the end.  Note that if you play GP cups again, you see the true ending only after some cups, not all of them.

New Title Screen

See true ending.  Note that this title changes each title you turn on the game, showing one random character who shouts Mario Kart 7 in their voice as the game starts.

Gold Kart Parts

Which unfortunately, happen to be pretty much useless in normal racing (the wheels ae best, but the others are notoriously useless, and all have much the same stats as other kart parts).  But here’s how to unlock them.

Gold Wheels

Get one star on all cups in all ccs.  I think also 15 000 coins or something, but only a fool tries to get them that way.

Gold Kart

Get over 10 000 VR or 20 000 coins.  The VR is much, much easier and quicker, but still not exactly something you can reach quickly.

Gold Glider

Get either 100 StreetPasses or 10 000 coins.  Definitely best to get the coins for this one, as anyone who’s not living in Tokyo is unlikely to find enough people to StreetPass with.

Gold Steering Wheel

Using the gyro/first person controls 80% of the time (in 100 races or more)

Kart Bonuses

See the following table for a list of all the kart bonuses in Mario Kart 7.  The difference is fairly minor, and apparently you can only notice one every so much more points in one stat (I think every .5 points in one stat is another ‘level’).

Staff Ghosts

Two types here, like Mario Kart Wii.  The first ones are, truth be told, terrible.  Anyone with a decent amount of skill will absolutely destroy the times of these guys. Then you have expert staff ghosts, which are pretty difficult to defeat.  Both sets of times are below:

Normal Ghosts

New Tracks

Toad Circuit     

Nin*KATIE 01:35.135

Daisy Hills

Nin*Terui♪ 02:06.351

Cheep Cheep Cape     

Nin*Gonta♪ 01:53.758

Shy Guy Bazaar

Ret*TEAGUE 02:31.167

Wuhu Island Loop

Ret*Bryan 01:44.287

Mario Circuit

Nin*Miki* 02:25.001

Melody Motorway

Nin*wtnbt 02:19.336

Alpine Pass

Nin*Morimo 02:35.105

Piranha Plant Pipeway

Nin*tBando 02:20.186

Wario’s Galleon

Nin*Miyamo 02:26.268

Koopa City

Ret*Chuck 02:11.032

Wuhu Mountain Loop

Ret*Reed 01:50.607

DK Jungle

Ret*Derek 02:24.040

Rosalina’s Ice World

Ret*RLingo 02:25.784

Bowser’s Castle

Ret*Matt M 02:34.815

Rainbow Road

Nin*Takamu 02:10.090

Retro Tracks

N64 Luigi Raceway

Nin*McCoy 02:04.317

GBA Bowser Castle 1

Nin*Hayata 01:31.030

Wii Mushroom Gorge

Nin*Kataok 02:02.292

DS Luigi’s Mansion

Nin*Konno 02:09.982

N64 Koopa Beach

Ret*Amanda 01:54.274

SNES Mario Circuit 2

Nin*ITRO-S 01:28.106

Wii Coconut Mall

Ret*Thomas 02:30.117

DS Waluigi Pinball

Ret*Bill 02:44.372

N64 Kalimari Desert

Nin*Nishim 02:01.932

DS DK Pass

Ret*Sean 02:35.045

GCN Daisy Cruiser

Nin*Dai8 01:49.564

Wii Maple Treeway

Nin*Asakaw 02:53.560

Wii Koopa Cape     

Ret*Quinn 02:49.046

GCN Dino Dino Jungle

Nin*iwaco 02:29.837

DS Airship Fortress

Nin*OBSHNN 02:23.323

SNES Rainbow Road

Nin*YABUKI 01:34.459

Expert Ghosts

New Tracks

Toad Circuit

Nin★Ishi 01:26:632

Daisy Hills

Nin★SASAKI 01:51:111

Cheep Cheep Lagoon

Nin★Tkdr 01:42.011 (with first person view)

Shy Guy Bazaar

Ret★RWO 02:14:714

Wuhu Island Loop

Nin★nkm 01:32:854

Mario Circuit

Nin★raba 02:10:018

Melody Motorway

Nin★Masa 02:07:511

Alpine Pass

Nin★Hiroma 02:19:149

Piranha Pipeway

Nin★JIKU 02:06:540

Wario Galleon

Nin★syun1 02:12:313

Koopa City

Ret★Matt M 01:58:996

Wuhu Mountain Loop
Nin★chucky 01:39:361

DK Jungle

Ret★Dupree 02:10:777

Rosalina’s Ice World

Ret★Dax 02:13:091

Bowser’s Castle

Ret★Tom 02:15:244

Rainbow Road

Nin★Asakur 01:52:077

Retro Tracks

Luigi Raceway

Nin★miyakw 01:52:206

Bowser Castle 1

Nin★hokwai 01:22:221

Mushroom Gorge

Ret★Jay 01:50:526

Luigi’s Mansion

Ret★Vince 01:58:539

Koopa Troopa Beach

Nin★ueda 01:42:909 (with first person view)

Mario Circuit 2

Nin*==Kony 01:17.777

Coconut Mall

Ret★RyanP 02:14:167

Waluigi Pinball

Nin★Nshhr 02:27:574 (with first person view)

Kalimari Desert

Nin★KOZ★ 01:48:707

DK Pass

Nin*MaTU 02:16.534

Daisy Cruiser

Ret★Carlos 01:43:341

Maple Treeway

Ret★Bill 02:34:877

Koopa Cape

Ret★Shane 02:28:585

Dino Dino Jungle

Ret*Will  02:14.430

Airship Fortress

Ret★Shane 02:07:704

Rainbow Road (SNES)

Nin★SRIWtm 01:21:994

Character Stats

Because just like in Mario Kart Wii, the stats of the kart are also affected by what character to use.  They’re different this time though.

First number is speed, second acceleration, third weight, fourth handling and fifth off road.

Toad, Koopa Troopa, Lakitu, Shy Guy 3 4 2.25 3 4
Peach, Daisy, Yoshi 3.25 3.5 2.75 3 3.75
Mario, Luigi, Mii 3.5 3 3.25 2.75 3.75
Donkey Kong, Rosalina, Wiggler 3.75 2.5 3.75 2.5 3.75
Bowser, Wario, Metal Mario, Honey Queen 4 2 4.25 2.5 3.5

Rocket Start

Hold down A from when the 2 is disappearing in the pre race countdown to do a rocket/turbo start when the race begins.

Boost when Lakitu puts you back on track

Press A the moment your kart hits the ground to immediately boost away.

Kart Stats

For good or bad, all kart parts make a slight difference to the stats of the finished vehicle.  Here’s what they all are:

Full List of Mario Kart 7 Part Starts

Note: They’ve been added to a different page because the javascript/code for filtering and searching the tables breaks when used in the normal ‘post’ template.

And that’s all the unlockables and miscellanous tricks I can give, I hope this article helped people!

Mario Kart 7 Track and Shortcut Guide

Whether it’s time trials, local vs or online, knowing the courses in Mario Kart 7 can be vital.  So if you’re having lots of trouble beating your opponents online, this short guide should help even the odds.  What’s more, not only does it tell shortcuts and tricks to go faster, but also how to sabotage your opponents with well placed Bananas and Bob-ombs, carefully used shells and whatever other items you may happen to get in game.  Let’s begin!

Toad Circuit

The simplest and most basic track in the game, it’s admittedly rather difficult to give advice on this one.  This is because there is absolutely nothing bar items that makes a particularly big difference between who happens to win or do well and who happens to lose miserably outside of time trials.

However, some minor bits of advice that apply in all modes of the game:

1. Don’t take the glider.  It seems weird to suggest this, but as far as pure time goes, it’s slower than just use the standard boost pads next to it.  There’s a reason no world record runs use that route.

2. Certainly don’t take the boost pads on the outside of the final turn, they are far slower than taking it more tightly.  You can easily get the required coins on the main path.

3. Cut through the sandy area with the pipes at the end with a Mushroom.

As for time trials and coins, try to collect as many coins as possible in the first lap, since it’s entirely possible to get about seven or eight just by taking a fairly good path.  If you can get all of them by early into the second lap, this will help tremendously.

Where to use bananas or other dropped items: Nowhere is particularly perilous for anyone racing, but putting them directly on the spot where an item box spawns is a great way to annoy whoever you’re racing with.

Daisy Hills

Daisy Hills, also known as that course based heavily around gliding.  Still, some tips and tricks for it:

First of all, you’ll soon get to a part with some logs that you can trick off of.  After doing that, you can use a Mushroom to take the ramp to the left, which is in the middle of the grass and cuts a corner.  Not much, but it’s useful enough.

However, the major ‘shortcut’ is just before the glider segment.  Go left to find a narrower path with a speed booster and second glider pad, which saves a fair amount of time.  Then, glide between the windmill and wall of the houses to the left and across the grass there to save a bit more.

Under no circumstances (at least if you want to win), take the rooftops or boost pads on the outside of the bends. They’re much slower than just taking the corners tightly.

Cheep Cheep Cape

First water track in the game, and it’s not a particularly interesting one. Cheep Cheep Lagoon however does have some interesting tricks to it, so here’s the tips:

For one thing, if you go right at the first jump, you can drive along the underwater stone wall.  Not much of a shortcut, but there are some coins over there for those who want them.

You can also trick off the bumps underwater.  It’s slightly more difficult than to do so on land, but easy and useful enough.

Also, you can trick off the clamshells, and then benefit by getting the item box that’s inside them.  Just don’t get crushed or hit the things themselves, it wastes quite a bit of time.

At the end, there are three paths. Left is a glider path, right is a normal one.  Now, despite the glider one being narrower and harder to traverse, it’s not that much faster, so it might be advised to skip it and just go underwater.  You can also trick off the ramp near the booster too, to get a last minute speed boost as you approach the final corner.

Item Usage Tips: Use bananas on the narrow glider path (and Bob-ombs, if you want to be even crueler).  You can use other items wherever, don’t worry about it.

Shy Guy Bazaar

One of my favourite courses this, it’s an Arabian Nights inspired carnival level with plenty of obstacles, ramps and sections to take shortcuts.  Nice music too.  Here’s what I advise:

At the start in the actual market, you have three routes.  You can go left, which is pretty much the long standard way around.  No one tends to take this road.  You can go up a ramp and across the rooftops, which has a few ramps to trick off of and generally looks cool, or you can go right on the ground to find a speed booster after some coins. Take one of the latter two routes.

After some tight corners ahead, you’ll see some odd vases.  Be warned, these move around a bit and are enemies, so don’t crash into them.  However, you can break them with a shell, which gives you either a Banana, Mushroom, Star or perhaps shell on the floor.  If you can get a star, that’s pretty useful.

There’s also an alternate route a bit later.  Go left a bit ahead to drop down to a side alley with a ramp leading you back up.  I’m not sure if this route is more or less useful than the typical one, so don’t worry if you don’t take it.

Some ramps are here, so trick off each one in turn up to the gliding pad.  From there, glide across while dodging the Shy Guys (and honestly, hope you fall towards the end if you screw up, since that puts you after the gliding section and doesn’t cost much time), and take the final corner to the finish.  Oh, and if you have a Mushroom, you can boost across some sand near the end and cut part of the corner, saving time and getting a few coins in the process.

Where to use items: Either on the ramps on the rooftops at the market (if you go right) or on the boost pad on the ground (if you go that way).  Bananas can be laid on the ramps and glide pad near the end, and Lightning should be used when people are gliding over the gap at the end.

Wuhu Island Loop

You know how Wuhu Mountain Loop has a game breaking glitch that people are abusing on wifi?  Well unfortunately, the other Wuhu Island track ALSO has such a glitch.  Not quite as useful, but damn it’s being used a lot on wifi in higher VR rooms and some communities.

Sort of fortunately, it’s right at the end of the track, not the very beginning.  So until then, try these tips.

First of all, don’t take the glider/tunnel ‘shortcut’.  It’s actually slower than the normal way, and twice as inconveniant.  You can however ride the ledge on the left with a ramp at the end, that seems to be a bit quicker.

You can also jump across some rocky islands a bit later. However, they’re extremely small, so if you’re not an expert or haven’t practiced a lot in time trials first, probably not best to use the shortcut.  Saves too little time for getting it right.

And here’s an interesting glitch that technically doesn’t save much time, but really screws up the lap counter.  Prior to section 3, there’s a tree near the edge of a cliff.  Jump off the cliff near it with a boost and you’ll get placed in section 3… with the lap counter thinking you’re still in section 2.  It doesn’t trick the game’s item system unfortunately (it’ll still think you’re in first if you really are), but it does mean the record at the end is messed up, since it’ll immediately start and end section 3 as you cross the line, giving you a possible time of about zero seconds for the last lap.

Finally, the big shortcut. Right at the end, there’s a windmill and a glide ramp down a side road.  Now go down there to the boost pads, then charge off the cliff to the right.  Angle it right, and Lakitu puts you down right before the finish line, cutting about four or five seconds and sometimes letting you gain quite a few positions.  You will NEED this at higher VR levels, since there are people there who use it and sometimes spam this track hoping to do it.  Good luck.

Above: Video of the Wuhu Island Loop glitch

Mario Circuit

Not much advice I can give here, since it’s neither a track I’m good at nor one with too many extra strategies.  Basically, take the ramps if you have a Mushroom or Star, and when you reach the section with the glider and the two pipes at the end, you can quickly trick off the ramp and still stay gliding if you don’t touch the ramp for too long as you do so.

Music Park/Melody Motorway

One of the better new tracks in Mario Kart 7, it has a few interesting strategies to learn:

For one thing, don’t take the outside of the turns with the boost pads.  Yes you’ll get coins, but they’re much slower than taking the corner tightly.

After the Piranha Plant tunnel, there’s a ramp to the left.  You can take it with a Mushroom, but it’s no big deal if you don’t use it.

Keep in mind the next turns have holes between the edge of the road and the fence/railing.  Don’t drift outwards too far or you will regret it.

There’s a glider section around here, take the glider if possible.  However, if you do take the ground route, jump whenever the music notes hit the ground and you can do some tricks to go faster. If you’re even better, you can do something like this, but it’s really, really difficult to do in the heat of a race:

Finally, there are two last time savers.  One is the shortcut where you bounce across the drum to the right, and the other is cutting through the grass at the end.  Try to do both if you have a Mushroom, it saves an awful lot of time at a very important moment in the race.

Alpine Pass

Also known by the more generic name of ‘Rock Rock Mountain’ in other regions, this is arguably one of those ‘love it or hate it’ levels, where no two people seem to agree on the quality of anything bar its music.  That said, it’s not a track I have much personal expertise with, so take my advice with a pinch of salt.

Shortcut wise, there isn’t much until the second and third lap. However, there is a ramp out in the grass before the slope going up on the mountain, if you want to try and take it.  Just remember to have a Mushroom.

Gliding wise, it’s hard to really suggest how to go more quickly. Seems to generally be best to keep gliding for as long as possible over the first jump though, since ground level really doesn’t contain a whole lot of interesting things.

Watch out for the section where you go up the slope at the end.  The boulders pretty much come from above the screen, so you’ll need to know the general pattern to not get hit.  That is, they alternate.  One comes down from the left, the next from the right, repeat.  So if the last boulder came from the left, don’t go on the boost pads on the right side of the slope.  Opposite is true if it came from the right.

But the big ‘shortcut’ is at the end.  Here you can keep gliding past the finish line in laps 2 and 3, and go past the pipes, cutting off much of the first corner.  It’s a bit harder on wifi (I think because one wind pipe has been altered not to produce an updraft), but it’s a useful ‘trick’ to know, and vital when facing better opponents.

Piranha Pipeway

A pretty cool course which is remniscient of Super Mario Bros 1 and Super Mario 3D Land, this course actually manages to use both the underwater and gliding mechanics pretty well.  Here are some tips for it:

At the Piranha Plant, go where it’s not looking to avoid being bitten.  You can also go on the ramp/narrow path behind it with a Mushroom and good timing.

And a bit ahead, cut the corner rather than follow the water round.  Yes you lose the slight speed boost the current gives, but you save a fair amount more time going tightly round the corner.

When in the gliding section, you can glide over the castle wall for some coins.  Doesn’t seem to save much time though.

Finally, you can cut through the holes in the fences at the end to cut the final corners.  Also, if you’re gliding and don’t have a Mushroom, you can do this without one, but it’s technically a bit slower for time trials:

Oh, and here’s a Japanese video with a few more tricks for the level:

Such including jumping at the first ramp and down the pipe to the underwater section I think.

Where to use items: In the pipe leading to the underwater area.  This is because you have near enough zero visibility in regards to what’s at the bottom of the drop, and a carefully placed banana here will almost always screw up at least one opponent.

Wario Galleon

Wario’s first ever track to be based on his actual video game series and not just whatever Nintendo can come up with out of wholecloth, Wario Galleon/Shipyard is, for good or bad, an interesting underwater level.  Here’s how you can do well:

First off,  be careful at the first jump, since it’s very easy to miss the item boxes and end up not having any means of defence when someone attacks you afterwards.  But once you’ve got that (it’s advisable not to take the left route, it’s not particularly practical), you can trick off the side of the next ramp to get a boost.

When the path splits, go down the path nearest to the abyss. Yes there’s a pipe blowing out air that could push you off, but hey, it’s easy enough to negate the effect and saves a good few microseconds.  In the ship, take the right path.  Harder, but it’s quicker by a fair bit.

Finally, when at the end and gliding, don’t go left.  Those boost pads are just not worth it.

There’s also a possible shortcut where you can glide over the pit at the end, but it’s not been tested much, and I don’t personally use it.  See it here:

Also, you can cut part of said corner with a trick or Mushroom, which is a bit easier, but doesn’t save enough time to really be worth it.

Where to use items: For trap items, ramps, the narrow outer path with the air pipes and the inner path on the ship.  For Mushrooms, the patch of mud after you cross a gap, just before the anchor.

Neo Bowser City

A rainy dystopic city straight out the Super Mario Bros movie, this level is one where you really need to be careful with your kart’s handling due to the torrential rain.

Still, here are some tips:

First things first, as far as I am aware, the rain only affects your kart’s handling/drifting in open air parts of the track.  So in tunnels, don’t worry, the handling is pretty much normal.

Secondly, cut across any mud with a Mushroom if you have one, it saves a decent amount of time.

And at the final bend, go as close to the inside of the bend as possible, even narrowly missing the puddles that cause you to spin out.  Is it a bit difficult?  Yes.  But it saves time, and that’s all that matters.

Finally, there’s a useful glider shortcut which can only be done at the start of lap 2 and 3.  Simply glide left before the finish line to reach an updraft coming from a copy of Bowser’s Koopa Clown Car, then continue on to the first corner.  You can also go through a hole in the wall to skip even more of the bend, but it’s pretty hard to pull off.

Wuhu Mountain Loop (Maka Wuhu)

Also called that track everyone hates due to a glitch that lets them skip most of the second section of the course, the strategy provided here is based on the general assumption you’ll be using said glitch.  Never the less, here’s my advice for the level.

1. Use any items you happen to get prior to the glitch shortcut. This is because falling off the track gets rid of any items you may have, hence things like Mushrooms and Shells need to be used as quickly as possible if gotten in section 1.  If you’ve got a Mushroom/Gold Mushroom/Star, cut across the grass/dirt by the turn before the first checkpoint, then use them as extra boost to land in the water for the shortcut.  If you’ve got any kind of shells, use them to take out opponents about to use the glitch, which can screw them up and let you get a few seconds lead on them.

2. Use the glitch.  So when you get to the second section, right at the cave entrance, drive along, turn around and jump into the purple water to your right.  Lakitu should drop you on the straight just before the end of the second section.  This trick is 100% necessary if you plan to race online, since just about every single player with 3000VR or more will use it.

3. Be aware that there are absolutely no item boxes between the area where Lakitu drops you after using the glitch, all the way to the glider section.  This means that you should damn well be in about the top three positions in the race by the time you use the shortcut, since otherwise you have a snowball’s chance in hell of catching up.

Where to use items: On the glider ramp, then the second one on the floating platform.  This is because hitting someone and knocking them down will usually cause them to either respawn right back on land before the glider part or at the floating platform, significantly costing them a lot of time.

DK Jungle

Retro Studios made this track, and it shows, being based heavily on Donkey Kong Country Returns.  A good track, although it has a lot of different obstacles and tricks you need to use to win, so keep reading for more.

First things first, you can trick off the tree ramp before the flower, as well as the ramp and the bouncy flower in front of it to go faster and save a bit of time.

However, watch out for the Tikis here, best to play safe and go the longer way rather than slam right into one and lose valuable time and coins.

Afterwards, get a line of coins on the bridge, and try and cross to the glider ramp, since flying and bouncing over the ramps to the golden temple is quicker.

Unfortunately, the temple itself has another glitch shortcut, which saves a second or so.  Never managed it, but fall off just right and you get put right in front of the glider, saving a bit of time.  See in this video:

It’s pretty hard to do, but damn, two and a half seconds saved there, in a crucial point in the race. Damn.

After the ramp, fly down and take the nearest path to the finish line, doing a trick at the very last ramp/jump.

Rosalina’s Ice World

Obligatory ice level.  Unfortunately, this is an annoying one to some degree, since the ice screws up a lot of the turns and at least one minor jump seems to let you go over it completely based almost on luck.

Still, some tips.  You can jump the giant gorge at the start for a shortcut of sorts, although the jury’s still out on how well it works.  See the video for how to do it, although truth be told, it’s easy to figure out with a Mushroom.

After that, there are some tricky turns.  Try and get a few mini turbos here, and don’t be surprised if your kart ends halfway up the slope for whatever reason.

Next though, the interesting part.  There’s an above water and underwater section, with a ramp linking to the above one.  But after lap 1, an ice flow vanishes and while you can still make the jump without a Mushroom, it seems to be fairly random whether you’ll have enough speed to do so.  A bit annoying.

The ice cave has a proper shortcut, a secret path with some boost pads.  Take it to save a few seconds, and just continue along to the finish line.

Item Use tips: Put traps near the gorge at the start, and on the boost pads in the ice cave.

Bowser’s Castle

Surprisingly, it’s sort of an underwater track.  Not exactly what you expect for Bowser’s Castle, is it?  Never the less, here’s some advice:

First things first, there are two roads.  Don’t think either is significantly quicker, but maybe take the top road, that’s what most other players take.

There’s also a turn where you go up a staircase, and a ramp near the top.  Jump over the lava with it to save some time.

Past the Thwomp here, you can go left onto a small platform then into a tunnel full of coins, which brings you out on top of the rotating log.  It’s a bit quicker, but beware of the propellers at the end, they will slow you right down if you hit one.

In the underwater section, take the ramp to skip part of a turn. Fairly useful….

But the ramps near the end of the track don’t save anywhere near as much, so they honestly might not be worth it.

Finally, you can go left or right to other ramps with coins in the second and third lap, although again, they don’t seem to save time.

Rainbow Road

This is it.  The big finale track, the one which Nintendo likely put the most effort into.  And damn is it a good track, with three long varied sections and all kinds of obstacles and things to avoid.  Here’s how to do well:

First thing first, after the items, mini turbo around the planet near the start.  You can get a fair few coins doing this, and it saves time.

There’s later a drum type thing, do a trick off it, and try to power slide round the following quite tight corner.

Whenever the track goes up and down randomly, you can do tricks to go faster.

At the second gliding ramp, there’s this shortcut, where you skip a few turns.  Very useful:

Stay on the speed boost strip before the tunnel, it acts like the water in Piranha Plant Slide and Koopa Cape, making you go a bit faster. When out of the tunnel, then try to stay on the ground and take the ramps from there, you’ll gain speed via going through the launch stars, yet won’t be slowed down, like what I’m sure gliding there does.

Finally, there’s a shortcut at the end.  When there’s a bend and a straight near a fence, Mushroom boost and jump off by the bend to land on the straightway right before the finish line.  You can see it best at the end of this video:

Luigi Raceway

Do you feel lucky?  Because honestly, when items are active, that’s literally all Luigi Raceway comes down to, who gets the best items. Get a Golden Mushroom?  You’ve probably won, at least for half a lap.  Get Triple Red Shells?  You’re going to gain an awful lot of places.  Got a single Mushroom or Blooper?  Sucks to be you.

So for strats, there aren’t really any.  You can trick off the bumps in the road, about once a race.  Yeah, thrilling.

Bowser Castle 1

Another glitch track this one.  Obviously it’s not as useful as on Wuhu Mountain Loop, and it’ll only save a few seconds, but it’s extremely easy to use said glitch and cuts a good second or three off your time, so this guide will tell you how to use it.

Go along the track until you encounter a long patch of mud on the right, with a right turn towards some Thwomps just afterwards.  There’s a wall in front of you, so jump the wall with either a Mushroom and jump, or just a jump at a moderately high speed (easiest with the B Dasher).  You’ll fly over, fall in the lava and get placed before the gliding ramp, cutting a corner and saving a good few seconds.

Above: A pretty useful video showing exactly how to use the glitch.

However, keep in mind a few things:

  1. In time trials, you lose your Mushrooms by doing this.  Hence if you don’t plan to use the shortcut on all laps, don’t use it until lap 3.
  2. In vs/online, you don’t get any items until a fair while after the ramp, so check for any incoming Blue Shells, Red Shells or powerful items people behind you may have, since they’ll still have them for when you land.

After the shortcut, you don’t need much explanation for how to win.  Just do tricks at each mini jump in the lava section, then avoid the mud on the last bend to claim victory.

Where to use items: On the glider ramp, if you take it.  Right by the shortcut if against savvy opponents who’d use it against you, since you need pretty good speed to make the jump.  And right before any small trick ramp, obviously.

Oh, and you know that old trick of putting bananas by Thwomps to get your opponents crushed or slowed down by them? Do that here as well.
Mushroom Gorge

Possibly the most aggravating track in the game due to the bouncy Mushrooms and high chance of being blasted into the abyss by a well timed item hit, Mushroom Gorge is filled with interesting tricks.

Unfortunately, the mega shortcut where you go up the mountain via the cliff face is no more.  Indeed, the whole Mushroom to the left of the starting area has been removed to prevent that.

Above: This doesn’t work in Mario Kart 7 unfortunately.

But there are other things to know.  Namely that you should always take the right hand route across the mushrooms when the path splits before the cave.

Also, if you take the glider from the blue mushroom in the cave and aim just right (to the right as you glide), you can fly straight over the giant gorge at the end of the level, saving a significant amount of time.  It’s a bit hard to explain, so here’s the shortcut in video form, courtesy of someone on Youtube:

Yeah, like that.  Just try not to hit the wall afterwards.

Luigi’s Mansion

Another fan favourite, this track seems to have two interesting distinctions among the others in this game, namely because the most or second most edited retro track, and best ghost track in the entire series.  None the less, some strats and advice follows…

Trick off the top of the stairs.  Timing is a bit dodgy, but it acts just like a ramp.

Place any items you don’t want on the slopes inside the mansion.  This is because these can very easily become blindspots for those not paying close attention.

After the tunnel, there’s a ramp in the graveyard.  Take it for more coins, and to save time.  You can also use a Mushroom to boost through a hole in the wall, but where’s the fun in that?

Don’t bother with the second glider part.  Doesn’t seem to be too useful, might actually lose time.

Try to stay in a drift as you go through the mud at the end. It slows you down normally, but it seems drifting will curb the loss of speed just a tad.

Oh, and in case you’re a Mario Kart DS veteran… no you can’t crash the game by holding A and B and turning on the mansion steps any more.  Did you really think Retro would leave that in?

Koopa Beach

A classic Nintendo 64 track, it’s unfortunately been toned down quite a bit, with the well known shortcut with the ramp being made much less useful.  Still, here is one tip:

Take the major shortcut with the ramp.  If you have a Mushroom this is extremely easy, if not you can also make the jump if you’re going at a decent enough speed as you approach.

Mario Circuit 2

Boring is arguably the best description of this track, which is entirely flat bar a glider ramp and lacking in any obstacles bar pipes.  Plus, it’s short, and items play a massive part in whether you do well or not.

Still, some minor advice.  Well, one bit of advice:

At the gliding section, go left to reach a yellow ramp on the wall and you can cut the corner right next to the finish.  Useful to save time, nearly 100% required online.

Coconut Mall

Fan favourite track from Mario Kart Wii, it returns in Mario Kart 7 minus a glitch shortcut and with the same annoying cars before the finish line.  Fun.  So to avoid getting stuck, here are some tips:

Ride on the escalator handrails at the start.  You can trick off these, and they act as normal road, even when the thing is going down instead of up.  Recommended to avoid going out of the way when the upwards escalator is away from the upcoming turn in the track.

If you do however just go up the escalator, remember you can do a trick at the top by pressing R with good timing.  Small boost, but it helps.

On another note, the shop you could drive through in the Wii version of the track still returns, but unfortunately so does the carpet which slows you down massively.  Use a Mushroom and boost through it if possible.

The outside courtyard is as far as I know, a place without much of a preferred strategy. There are boosts to the far left and right, you can trick off the raised patches of dirt the palm trees are planted in, as well as the fountain with the item boxes.  Go any way you please, as long as you get an item.

And the split path afterwards?  As far as I am aware, the glider is faster.  It wasn’t faster in the Wii game, but now it seems to be, so take it.

Item Tips: Well, hitting people with items in the section with the cars and boosts tends to screw them up pretty badly, so try that. Similarly, placing a Banana or a Bob-omb on the escalators or the entrance to the shop shortcut makes it pretty much impossible for any opponents to get past safely, giving you a good lead.

Waluigi Pinball

Best track ever bar Airship Fortress, and it’s back in Mario Kart 7!  But like many other tracks, Waluigi Pinball can be a pretty difficult track to race on when you’re against decent opponents, so here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind:

First things first, the glider section/tunnel/cannon at the start.  Hold down to go faster when going upwards, and try to land as quickly as possible afterwards.

Secondly, watch out for the pinballs.  They take up a lot of room on the track, can be difficult to dodge with multiple players and held items, and in a few memorable cases, fall directly onto people unlucky enough to be under them at the time.

And the actual table part itself, can be hell.  Stay alert at all times on laps 2 and 3 (the pinballs mentioned above are at full force then, and can easily hit an unwary player multiple times in a row), and for the love of [whoever], stay sort of to the centre/right of the section prior to the flippers.  Sound a bit arbitary?  It’s not.  If you go too far left, you’re pretty much in the pinball line on fire when it gets flung backwards by the right flipper.  That can very easily cost you the race.  If you’re too far right (and a bit too quick) on the other hand, you can easily go too fast and slam right into a pinball just as it hits the flipper, which is just as ‘lethal’.  Staying where I recommend lets you think carefully and have enough time to dodge the deadly projectile/metal ball being fired straight in your general direction.  Oh, and don’t hit the flipper itself, that spins you out.

If you’re a bit of a wuss, you can technically go through walled off areas to the far left or right of the ‘table’ section, where no pinballs will be hit you, but it’s much, much slower than going straight, so don’t bother.

Item Tips: Place items at the entrance or landing point to the cannon/launcher, on any ramps, and on the downhill slopes leading to the main table area.  Use other items in the more open areas.

Kalimari Desert

Annoying track unfortunately, due to the sand of the track making the controls feel all slippery and handling seeming to take a right hit.  However, it’s the perfect track for item use, because one careful item can put you a fair distance in front.

That’s one tip here.  If you get either Triple Mushrooms, Star or Golden Mushrooms, cut straight across as much sand as possible and try and cut the large corners near the end, you’ll be guaranteed to beat at least one person in the process.  Just be careful, since failing will cost you dearly time wise.

Secondly, look out for the ramps at the start and end of the track, which let you glide and skip the train tracks.  Seeing as you’ll have to stop if a train goes by otherwise (especially if no one has a star and blasts the train upwards for a bit in the meantime), this is pretty much required in time trials or against better opponents.

You can’t drive through the tunnels any more, but you can go along part of the train track.  Some say this is a shortcut.  I’m not convinced.

Item Use Tips: Use bananas on ramps, lay Bob-ombs near the train track and use Mushrooms to cut corners.

DK Pass

Probably the least exciting level in Mario Kart 7, and the one which most people tend to dislike.  Still, assuming you care enough to win there…

Be careful with mini turbos.  Sometimes the ice makes it hard to get the boost to activate before the corner is over.

The item box on top of the hill after the first rolling snowballs is a Super Item Box, and will always give either a Mushroom, Triple Mushrooms or Star, even in first place.

You can’t cut the corner at the end with the glider.  It unfortunately counts as ‘out of bounds’.

Item Usage Tips: Anywhere.  There aren’t a lot of spots where items are guaranteed to catch people out.

Daisy Cruiser

Yet another fan favourite of a track, this one is another course that’s been massively changed for its inclusion in Mario Kart 7 as a retro track.

Namely you can go through the swimming pool rather than round it, and the locker/hold area is now flooded with water and filled with aquatic wildlife.  Here are some tips:

At the start, it doesn’t seem to matter which way you go.  Don’t worry about it, both are roughly the same and have item boxes about halfway through.

At the pool, it’s arguably best to stay out of the water, although it’s not dangerous to fall in this time around.  However, you cannot do a trick as you come out the swimming pool.  Looks like you can, but trust me, its impossible.

The bit with the moving tables is arguably the most aggravating part of the level, the bane of many a person playing time trials.  Just stay alert and at the first sign of movement, get out the way, quick.

There’s also an alternate route coming up, the ship hold.  It’s not really faster than the normal route (might be a bit slower), but it gives you an easy to get item box, and you do get shot out a cannon and sent to full speed.  That’s quite useful.

Finally, you can do a trick on the steps.  Useful for a boost at the last second.

Maple Treeway

Now this is a pretty fun track.  Not only is it quite long and filled with obstacles that keep the race both challenging and interesting to play, you can easily use actual strategy to mess up other people who’re racing with you.

To start off, remember the shortcut from Mario Kart Wii?  Still exists, so if you have a Mushroom you can speed off down an alternate route to the right which goes around to the cannon.  Seems a tad quicker.

Similarly, like an earlier Retro track I won’t name, you can still get hit in the cannons.  Useful to lay traps at the start to cause people to fall in and be counted as ‘out of bounds’, and even better to use that gliding time to knock people out the sky with fireballs or well aimed shells.

Put an item down as you land.  If it’s a Bob-omb, watch as mass havoc/carnage ensues.

Those leaf piles hold items in.  Usually just coins, but sometimes you’ll also get Mushrooms or even Stars from them.  Watch out for bananas and green shells though, since these can also be dropped at random.

In the section with the Wigglers, try to avoid them as best you can.  Also, while it’s not well known (and the reason it occurs is currently being researched), you can apparently drive through a Wiggler’s legs in some circumstances.  Don’t count on it, but as the following video shows, it’s possible in very rare instances:

Up a bit ahead are some boost pads.  If you lay items on them, you can easily screw up the savvy players who know to use them.  On that note, try and hit both of them, obviously.

There’s also a bridge a bit further up, in what seems like a cave.  Lay an item on the bridge or the ramp to take out some unlucky opponents, and whatever doesn’t initially fly off from the hit will likely be pushed off by the other racers charging along behind them.

Finally, there are three paths at the end.  Two of which are shortcuts though carved trees, with some speed boost pads and ramps, one of which just has you go straight and trick off of the tree roots.  Choose the ramps I say.

Koopa Cape

Technically, this is another glitched level, but few people know about it.  It’s also been a bit toned down since the Wii version, with the tunnel filled with water and Cheep Cheeps rather than electrical beams and a cool aquarium type effect.  Here are some techniques you may need:

First of all, the very unknown, quite useful but extremely hard glitch shortcut.  Now, you won’t see people using this online, but if you follow the below video and jump off the edge just right before the cave, you get put right before the glider pad:

Saves about two and a half seconds, but isn’t easy to do and probably not worth it outside of time trials.

After this, there are some more minor, legitimate tricks you can do.  Like trick off the ramp while gliding, then glide a bit further over the grassy section to the left.  Or going through the arch near the giant shell, or cutting behind the giant shell thing at the end with a well timed Mushroom boost (or a star).

It’s quicker to drive down the pipe rather than jump.

Finally, at the very end, you can boost through the fast water if you have a Mushroom/Star/some other speed boosting item.  If you don’t though, you will certainly be thrown off the edge by the current, so beware.

Item Advice: Place any trap items in the pipe leading to the underwater area.  There is practically no way to see them in advance or dodge them if you do this.

Dino Dino Jungle

Some tips here, in case you’re having trouble.

1. There is exactly no practical difference in time taken if you choose the narrow bridge after the first Dinosaur.  This is because while the narrow path has some boost pads on, it also goes quite far ‘back’ when rejoining the main path, hence the path pretty much doesn’t matter.

2. Always take the shortcut with the ramp, regardless of if you’re using a Mushroom.  You don’t know how many times it’s been where I’ve ended up leading the race by about half of a lap because my opponents always decided to go around.  The time you lose from the mud is nothing compared to how much you save from gliding across the large gap.

3. At the end where the bridge is, you can glide over the left fence and save some time.  It’s much easier with a Mushroom, but possible without.  Another useful shortcut few people tend to use.

Where to use items: Most obvious place is on the ramp where the shortcut is, since the amount of room to dodge there is practically non existant, and anyone who hits it is likely to fall off and waste a ton of time. Even better with Bob-ombs, since you can take out the first three or so people following you if everyone’s close enough.

Other places include the bridge by the dinosaur, and the narrow bridge prior to the cave that everyone seems to think is a shortcut.

Airship Fortress

What is in my opinion the best track in the game, Airship Fortress is one long, epic throwback to Super Mario Bros 3.  With you racing across an airship and various castle rooftops, this track is a long, difficult level filled with opportunies to do better than your opponents as well as to screw them up.  Here are my tips:

1. Try and land on the wall to the left of the start when racing there. It’s not a major time saver, but it does save some time, and presumably makes you immune to red shells depending on when they’re fired.

2. At the section with the Rocky Wrenches on deck, try to go through the narrow ‘path’, near to the metal thing in the centre.  It’s easy to screw up and hit one, but it saves ever so few microseconds it could be useful.

3. The boxes may leave Mushrooms and stars when hit.  Obviously don’t try and ram them with your kart, that slows you down, but try and break them with items, or if invincible, and pick them any items dropped by your opponents smashing the boxes.

SNES Rainbow Road

May as well start this strat with a warning or two.  This is a difficult track.  It’s not so much because the layout or the obstacles are annoying, but because what position you’re in on lap 2 or the start of lap 3 is very likely to be what position you’ll end in due to the short track length, and one good Blue Shell hit here can easily cost you the whole race.  Be warned.

As a result, here’s some advice that should help you survive. Number 1, take corners as tightly as possible. Obvious, but you need to save as much time as possible, and ideally get into first and stay there.

Pick a heavy character and likely kart.  Why?  Because the first set of item boxes is pretty much a free for all brawl between all eight players, and it’s fairly likely you’ll be hit and knocked around if you can’t quickly get in front of the pack.  And featherweight characters like Shy Guy, Toad or Lakitu?  Go flying when someone smashes into them, likely right off the track.

Take as many trick ramps as possible.  You can also use some to cut certain bends, as well as cut others just by jumping.  That can be useful.

Don’t take the ramp at the end without a Mushroom.  You won’t make it all the way across, and this is probably the number 1 newbie mistake on this track.  If you do have a Mushroom it can be sort of useful, but the shroom’s probably best used to dodge a Blue Shell.

Still, it’s not that bad if you’re in first place, bar occasional Blue Shells and Lightning.

Where to use items: Many good places here.  Before/under Thwomps is a killer, as is by item boxes.  But some others include:

  1. On the shortcut ramp.  If anyone gets hit here, they’re not making it across
  2. Between the two Thwomps at the end.  Someone ALWAYS gets hit here…
  3. Between the two near the start.  Not as effective since the Thwomps don’t fall at the same time, but quite useful.
  4. Near the single Thwomp on a narrow straight found early on the track.  Very hard to avoid this, and you’re guaranteed to catch anyone not paying attention.

Well, that’s my Mario Kart 7 track guide over and done with, here’s hoping people find it useful.  It’s not the most professionally laid out guide, but hey, I covered everything I could and as far as I know, have written about every single shortcut and track tip of use to be found in Mario Kart 7 as of this time.  Now let’s see if it helps people get better at time trials or wifi!