As the years have gone on, it seems like a fair amount of reviewers have begun to get tired of Mario Kart. With all the other Nintendo series getting regularly changed up and gimmicks being thrown in all over the place, the Mario Kart series has begun to seem like a series which merely makes evolutionary rather than revolutionary changes to the core formula in every game.
But forget that. Mario Kart 7 is a good game not because of any crazy gimmicks or massive ‘innovation’, but because the timeless formula works perfectly. It’s improved on the past games in every way that actually matters, the graphics and music are arguably better, the track design and choices are much better, the online is better and the gameplay itself is much fairer than the almost party like free for all that Mario Kart Wii turned into with twelve players.
For one thing, the graphics are fairly good. Are they perfect? No, they look a bit less clear than those in the Wii installment. But they have far more charm than many other recent Mario games do, and the tracks look amazing due to it. There’s no overwhelmingly bland New Super Mario Bros styling here, each track is filled with personality and actually looks top notch. You can see this best with Wario’s Galleon/Shipyard (which looks as eerie as possible), and Bowser’s Castle, which actually looks sort of menacing for once (especially those windows)
Plus, all the retro tracks look at least as good as in the source games (there’s nearly no difference between the Wii versions and 3DS versions), or much better in the case of anything from Mario Kart DS or prior.
Music is pretty good too. Bowser’s Castle has some nice music for instance, which even remixes parts of the theme from the Gamecube version into it! Other notable examples of good music include the theme from Rainbow Road (obviously), Donkey Kong Jungle (a remix of the Jungle Japes theme from Donkey Kong Country), Neo Bowser City (which actually mixes in part of Toad’s Turnpike from Mario Kart 64), and some of the retro tracks (Airship Fortress especially). At worst some music is a bit bland, but nothing gets grating or takes away from the atmosphere, and there’s thankfully no tunes that could be described as anything worse than ‘good’.