Earlier today, during its E3 2011 press conference, Nintendo showed a brief but impressive demo for the upcoming 3DS version of Mario Kart. There were plenty of familiar faces on display, including Yoshi, Mario, Bowser, and Donkey Kong, and it wasn't immediately apparent that the game is going to offer much that's new. Some of the tracks even appeared to be recognizable from the superb Mario Kart DS with improved visuals, though Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime did mention at one point that the game is "entirely new," so perhaps portions of those tracks have been redesigned.
Features shown that were definitely new included an option to customize vehicles with different-sized wheels that will, presumably, have an impact on their handling, and courses that will see Nintendo's racers taking to the skies and diving underwater. Karts were shown sprouting hang gliders and, more exciting still, using propellers to move through the water like submarines.
The 3DS version of Mario Kart is currently scheduled for release this holiday season. We look forward to bringing you a hands-on report on the game when E3 officially opens later today.