Mario Kart Is Back!

User Rating: 9.6 | Mario Kart DS (DS Bundle) DS
This is one of the greatest racing games of all time. Forget "driving sims" Mario kart brings us what we want from a racing game, no nonsense driving with weapons thrown in for good measure.
The usual gameplay is here, you choose your racer from a list of famous Mario names and whip round famous locations from previous games. The carts handle beautifully and the weapons add a new dimension to the game instead of swamping the driving like it did in Super Circuit and Double Dash. This game is very focused on the pureer Karting joy, weapons are stingier so it is harder to win by simply firing your way to the top, the carts are more classic and the famous jump has returned. If you loved the original and the N64 version but the focus on weapons in Super Circuit and the alterations to gameplay in Double Dash put you off then this will take you back to heaven once more.
It doesn't hurt that the graphics are amazing either. Lots of people criticise the DS graphical capabilities just becasue the PSPs are better. This game shows you that the console is capable of sweet 3D and it looks about twice as good as the N64 game. One of the best thing about the graphics is the draw distances, you can literaly see all the course while driving so there is little to no pop-up at all.
Soud wise this game rarely fails to dissapoint, classics return and some sweet new melodies have been put in, these too will go down as classics in time.
In terms of value this game is the deepest and richest Mario Kart ot date. There are DOUBLE the normal amount of tracks, half are remakes but they are no worse for it. Missions and bosses help to mix up the gameplay and the multiplayer will literally own your life.
In multiplayer you can race 7 of your friends at once with only one cart but your options are limited. If everyone has a cart then this game is in a league of its own, I drained my battery from a full charge with one session of multiplayer. Battle mode returns with some brilliant lands for you to fight in. A new mode called Shine Run sees you collecting Shines and when the timer runs out the player with the least will be booted. It makes for some hectic gameplay as you frantically attack your friends for their shines before the timer hits zero.
This game makes progress in some ways but also regresses. An online feature and a more comprehensive single player experience take the series forward but the gameplay elements from Double Dash are gone. This could be considered regression but it is more of a good thing.
In terms of the genre Mario Kart DS shows the others what a real kart game should be like.
On the side of innovation this game can't be faltured. The second screen is used as a map and the touch functions let you zoom in and out. This isn't particulaly big but racing games aren't designed around a touch screen but the map is invaluble and after a few hours of gameplay you will be using it instinctivly. The mic is used to blow up you balloons in battle which just adds more fun. The real innovation comes in the multiplayer. Even with one cart the multiplayer is un matched and the addiction of online (the first for Nintendo not just Mario Kart) makes this game one of the most pioneering on the machine.
This is the best DS game available and brilliant for both novices and veterans.


Gameplay - Takes MK back to its roots, great driving with the weapons adding to the fun (not taking away from the driving)

Graphics - The best on the DS, looks sweet with great draw distances and only the slightest hint of lag online

Sound - What you would expect, hum along tunes that complement the gameplay

Value - The deepest Mario Kart game to date although the missions get a bit dull. If you have friends/online this could lasts a YEAR easy, if not then a month
at most
Innovation - great use of the lower screen, not much touching or mic but online shows just what this machine is capable of doing.
Progress - More of a regression than a progression but in no bad way. It seems more pure than Double Dash and the gameplay is definitely more focused for it. The online takes the series forward better than Double Dash did. In terms of the genre this shows the wannabe kart racers what they should be like.

Overall a brilliant experience and worth getting a DS for