E3 2011: Mario Kart 3DS Hands-On

In Mario Kart for the 3DS, we take our custom kart for a test drive and sample the game's hang gliding and underwater racing.

by

At its E3 2011 press conference, Nintendo unveiled Mario Kart as part of its strong second wave of titles for the 3DS. A hands-on confirms our first impression: that it looks and plays much as you'd expect a handheld Mario Kart to, albeit with the graphical pep and stereoscopic 3D made possible by the Nintendo 3DS. But there are new touches to be found among the instantly familiar kart racing, classic characters, and power-up items--chief among them flying and underwater racing.

As you drive, you can pick up gold coins dotted along the tracks. Nintendo isn't yet sharing what the coins are for, but they could feasibly be meant for spending on the kart customisation options that are another new feature in Mario Kart 3DS. Before we raced, we were presented with a kart customisation screen. Here, we could trick out Mario's ride with our choice of kart chassis, set of wheels, and accessory. The accessories include a propeller and a hang glider attachment, with a number of other unseen options waiting to be unlocked.

The fattest tyres made for a slower vehicle, but one with reliable performance both on- and off-road. We sampled both on a trio of circuits, which also took in stretches of underwater track and hang gliding segments. The kart propeller kicks in automatically when you hit the water, spinning while you race along the seabed and get snapped at from either side by giant oysters. Likewise, the hang glider deploys whenever you take your kart off a sweet jump, letting your driver of choice soar over great gaps in the course, dodging pipe obstacles and collecting coins as you go.

The game will also add Mii drivers, letting you race as your custom 3DS avatar alongside Bowser et al, though these didn't feature in the version available for play at E3. Look for this and more on Mario Kart 3DS from GameSpot ahead of the game's release this winter.

Discussion

32 comments
Jonwh18
Jonwh18

normally i woul dcall foul since they totally took the kart custimization idea from the makers of modnation racers, however modnation took so many pages out of mario karts book its only fair that they get something in return for it so i suppose its fair.......the game looks better graphically than MK ds but the hang glider seems gimmicky they already had cannons shooting you now your just going slower and idk it isn't what i would have done.....if they had made te graphics for this on par with the wii it would have actually convinced me to buy a 3ds ......maybe ssb portable will do the trick =)

fossda92
fossda92

this game is the best game out of all the 3DS games at E3!

JoePiervincenti
JoePiervincenti

can't wait for this! they do a great job at adding features to each new mario kart game to prevent them from feeling too redundant...

Castor3ds
Castor3ds

OMG!!! I want it sooo much!!!! OMG!!!

arabianboss1999
arabianboss1999

avatarman96, what snake63 means is to make small game crossover like what they did in games like soul caliber2. and they should do some sort of crossover in the game p.s.building your own karts will be awesome

renji4eva
renji4eva

Third wave, not the second wave. The second wave was the games realeased through April all the way to E3.

ShadowofSonic
ShadowofSonic

Makeing.........MY OWN KARTS?!?!??!?!?/1 Thank you Nintendo :D

The-Longshot
The-Longshot

Groovy, i cant wait!! Awesome it will allow the inclusion of Mii drivers as well.

mcdabee3
mcdabee3

I can't wait for this game! The hang glider and diving aspect of the game make it look better than MK and MKWii. Thank you Nintendo!

AvatarMan96
AvatarMan96

@snake63 It's Mario Kart, not Nintendo Kart

TheBlackEclipse
TheBlackEclipse

This guy must be from the UK, look at how he spelled "tyres".

earthshaker1213
earthshaker1213

Looking pretty good. Even though snaking in MKDS is "cheating" for players, I still liked snaking because in grand prixs in 150cc and Mirror I could use it to my advantage. The main problem is that sometimes it makes my thumbs sore from overusing it. One of the primary reasons why MKWii was chaotic in terms of difficulty is because Nintendo added 4 more players which added more difficulty to a racer that's in 1st since all the CPU behind the racer will be aiming on torturing the racer that's in 1st. In this game, what I want Nintendo to do to before the game comes out is make graphics and the character design to be a little more similar to the Wii. But overall, I'm looking forward to this game.

ad0234
ad0234

Why aren't the game trailers in the eShop of my 3DS? Is it because I live in Europe?

OneMoarLevel
OneMoarLevel

I just hope drift will work differently now. i dont want to break my d-pad again

Super-Poke-Bros
Super-Poke-Bros

@TwinGemini25 You can use mini-turbos in Mario Kart Wii... How the heck is it cheating anyway?

TwinGemini25
TwinGemini25

Looking great so far. I'm liking the hand-gliding and underwater racing, but I'm wondering how it controls in the later segments. From what it looks like in the trailer it looks rather floaty. It also looks like they are keeping Mario Kart Wii's drift system which means there will be no snaking, of which I'm am greatly pleased. Say what you will about it, snaking is cheating in my book and ruined Mario Kart DS' online for those who can't or refuse to use it.

mario-nin-freak
mario-nin-freak

I wish it had motorcycles still, and 12 players per race, and I hope they add a track editor with online level sharing!

snake63
snake63

Put Link and Zelda in the game

monkeyman737
monkeyman737

mmmm..... just might be my first 3ds preorder

GunBladeHero
GunBladeHero

Great! Maybe it can surpass Mario Kart DS which in my opinion, is the best MK yet!

Flint247
Flint247

The hang gliding was a win for me. :D I do hope it isn't as chaotic as MKwii and I hope they keep out snaking. Please bring back the Emblem editor like in MKDS. :D

Linkari
Linkari

This is looking like the best Mark Kart EVAH!

Bogroll101
Bogroll101

I'am glad i can play as DK once more around a exciting and chaotic racing track throwing bananas and shells everywhere, i'm glad i got a 3ds. i'm getting it!

Ovirew
Ovirew

Okay, this sounds awesome now. And the addition of hang-gliders and underwater propellers makes a little more sense now that I know that you can only equip one accessory. This is a pretty cool addition to Mario Kart.

FlamingFury
FlamingFury

As long as this doesn't have the horrific item imbalances of MKWii, then I will totally get it. MKWii was almost unplayable with items on lol.

jedinortd_basic
jedinortd_basic

I have never been dissapointed with a mario kart and I can't wait for this!

pH347m3
pH347m3

This honestly looks like a lot of fun. I've always liked Mario Kart games, except for MK Wii and MK 64.

TheLast1Left
TheLast1Left

3d game trailer now in the eshop for 3ds. This one looks cool