Mario Kart's formula has proven to be an incredibly fun multiplayer experience. Mario Kart DS is that except its portable, in true 3D, and has wireless multiplayer. Carrying around that experience was refreshing back then. Even just playing the Grand Prix single player was awesome fun. If not then there are missions and time trials. The missions were really simple though, nothing deep. The turbo drift mechanic was done great. Inputs for it felt natural and just difficult enough that it felt satisfying to pull off. The AI and item usage programming was done well. Rarely did I feel completely left behind as 8th, as I still had a chance to catch up with good items. And I couldn't feel completely safe in 1st, as I might get hit by an item.
The map on the bottom screen was well made. Was simple enough, and icons were big enough for me to glance at and locate opponent positions. SNES wasn't done well, because of the map angle, and the unnecessary large kart icons.
The controls however, had issues. Holding L to keep a shell behind me was difficult, because the DS itself doesn't feel good to hold when pressing too many buttons. When drifting, holding a shell, and accelerating, I'm crunching my hands holding 3 buttons at the same time. My hands would cramp up quickly. I just end up not holding shells behind me, which was unfortunate, because I missed out on an important defensive mechanic. There were times when I could've protected myself with a shell, but couldn't because it was too painful to hold L. Though this was a hardware limitation. There wasn't any remapping I could think of that the devs could have set to fix the issue.
This game most definitely caused many detentions for students playing it during class under their desk..