This is the first Mario Kart game I bought. It was also one of my first DS games, along with Animal Crossing Wild World and Super Mario 64 DS. The first I played was Double Dash at a friend's house a while back. This game got me hooked on the series.
There is no story in this game, like the other Mario Karts. Nintendo does a great job making a game popular if Mario is in it. You might think "why would anyone want to play a racing game with a fat Italian plumber?" Everyone apparently!
In this game, there are 16 new tracks, and 16 old tracks ported over from previous games. The new tracks are basic but fun, and the old ones are just the same, with the graphics updated so they don't look like crap.
The graphics are fine for this game. The DS was only around for a few monthes at the time, so it's full potential hasn't been fully unlocked yet.
The controls are fine. Use the Control Pad to steer, A to accelerate, B to back up or use the brakes, R to drift and get a speed boost, and press L to use items.
In Single Player, you can play Grand Prix to unlock new courses and characters. You can also play VS, where you play the computer. There is Time Trial, where you play yourself and try to get the best time. You can save ghosts and trade with other players via DS-DS communications. Battle Mode is good too. In Shine Runners, you have to collect Shine Sprites, and the players who have the least are eliminated. Balloon Battle is where you pop opponents balloon's and if all balloons are lost, they are eliminated.
You can play multiplayer with nearby players in two ways- Single DS Card and Multicard. With Single DS, there aren't much courses to play, and much simpler. You can play with someone without a Gamecard. Multicard, you can play with people with gamecards, and you can play all the stages you have. For example, if you are hosting and have the special cup, but the other person you are playing with doesn't have it, you can still play. However, if the other person is hosting and doesn't have it, you can't play.
Mario Kart DS also has WiFi. You can race against other players online. However, you can't race on all the courses for some unknown reason. Hmm?
Mario Kart DS is a great game. The graphics, controls, multiplayer, and WiFi compability were all great. The only downsides were.....hmmm. I don't really think there were any shortcomings in this game. Even so, this game gets a 9.0 out of 10 with the title of Superb.