Contrary to popular opinion, I don't think Mario Kart 7 is anything special. Although it would be unfair to say that it is a 'bad' game, I just don't think it is that good, and isn't really worth your time. I don't think that it adds anything much, the things that it did add were forgettable (apart from gliding), and I don't think that it lived up to Mario Kart Wii or has the spice that normally comes with Mario Kart.
So, lets get to it. Although I do thank it for removing all of those annoying baby characters that were just there to fill space, some of the added characters were laughably bad. Wiggler? Rosalina? Honey Queen? Could they not think of anything else. I'm all for removing the faults of previous games, but you have to then repair them!
Some of the courses aren't great. I ended up playing the retro courses much more. Although it does mean that they have chosen some good courses (and probably left Mario Kart 8 with all of the leftover rubbish ones), it does say something about the new courses. The new, innovative courses are meant to be the ones that you enjoy, with the retros being added bonuses. Some courses were good, like Rainbow Road, and Melody Motorway/Music Park, but lots of the others are so bland and forgettable. Some of the things that made the courses so fun have been cut out. For example, I used to love going round and round the Kalimari Desert tunnel, but you can't do that anymore. The loop over three lap idea is meh. Doesn't make much difference. The battle courses are all rubbish apart from Wuhu Town and the retro ones.
This game is pretty simple. Even on 150cc mirror, you can find yourself beating the AI by a long way. It made me fall in love with the Mario Kart 64 AI. What doesn't help is the fact that you can hold items behind you- this removes all chance of challenge and even other human people from catching up. Even the time trial staff times are pretty simple. However, if you have Spotpass, some people have some great times that can be extremely hard to beat.
I don't think that Mario Kart 7 has put much innovation on the table. All of the Mario Kart games have some special feature- Super Mario Kart spawned the franchise, DS added retro tracks, Double Dash had two people... what has 7 added? It has gliders, but they aren't a massive game-changer. I was fine with being shot out of cannons. This takes out replay value- I think it has next to none. The first-person mode was cool-ish, but the amount of people I've seen using it online shows how good overall it is.
It's pretty glitchy. There are no game-breaking or really obvious ones, but ones that will make you think 'really? Could they seriously not be bothered to patch this up?' Ad people have discovered loads. Hundreds. Lots are nifty little shortcuts which just make for annoying trolls, as they completely flip the race over. Also, so many people use cheats online that it's really just not worth it.
Some of the courses are very annoyingly mixed. The good courses are mixed with the rubbish ones. This was probably to get people playing all of the cups, but it can be annoying playing through to get two minutes on a good course (oh, and almost none of the courses has good music, by the way). This wouldn't be a problem, if VS mode wasn't removed. This is the one game that really need it, and it hasn't got it! Why? VS made for great fun on all of the other games, so why is it skipped here?
Final complaint. Coins. I'm all for power-ups and stuff, but coins just got annoying. I think the idea of getting coins is a good idea, but I think that it's done wrong. Especially for the rewards. You can only collect 40 coins max. a tournament, even if you collect 100. Rewards are unlocked randomly, removing all sense of progress throughout the game. Maybe a shop would've worked. And for the Gold Kart, just forget about it. 20,000 coins. That's a lot. Don't even bother.
Alright, I suppose I have to do the good things, but only shortly. The graphics are good for the system. There is a good range of karts and combinations. Some tracks are good, especially the retro ones. The handling is pretty good, and the drifting works very well. The new items are imaginative- I couldn't think of any better ones. The items and item selections are balanced very well. The different battle modes worked well. Online was pretty fun- the community system worked well, although you won't find any now. The sound effects are spot on and the physics work well. It needed skill, it didn't rely on people getting lucky with items. Mario was in it. Peach did Gangnam Style or something when you chose her.
So overall, it's ok. It does the things that other Mario Karts have done well. It has polished on some things. Some aspects that you have enjoyed form previous games, you will like. If that's all you car about, you'll have a great time. However, there are some alarming issues that are annoying and can easily make your experience more frustrating than fun. I think that it's unfair to say it's one of the better Mario Kart games; I think that it's one of the worst, but you can still get stuff out of it.