E3 2011: Mario Kart 3DS

E3 2011: Mario Kart 3DS

Nintendo is bringing motorized mayhem back to the race track on the 3DS with a new Mario Kart title slated for release this holiday season. The tentatively titled Mario Kart brings with it some new courses, karts and multiplayer functions that take advantage of the 3DS’ capabilities.

Mario Kart seeks to bring a few changes into the tried and true Mario Kart formula. The most notable of those features are abilities of the karts to hang-glide in the air and drive underwater. Whenever a kart goes off a big jump–think Peach’s Castle from Mario Kart 64–the kart deploys a glider which gives the kart some hang time. Likewise, when a kart delves beneath the waves, it deploys a propeller which lets the kart navigate on the seafloor; they don’t even need scuba gear (seriously, they aren’t afraid of anything). It has been mentioned that some shortcuts will require either of these mechanics in order to reach them.

For those of you who missed it–or want to see it again–here is the trailer for Mario Kart that Nintendo unveiled at E3 this year.

The characteristics of the different karts will also play a role in Mario Kart for the 3DS, a role similar to Mario Kart: Double Dash!! & Mario Kart Wii. This time, however, tires will be taken into consideration along with the kart’s body and the driver’s weight class to add some more strategy to the competitive aspect of the game. For example, larger tires will be great for the rougher off-road courses and the smaller tires are better suited for the city courses where there is more road.

Our very own Lindsey managed to snag some hands-on time with the game at E3 (the lucky devil) and remarked that the game looked amazing and was really easy to pick up and play. For those worried about any notching down of  speed, fear not. “The speed is still there, and that with the glider you can clip corners of the track to help get you further ahead of everybody else,” Lindsey said about Mario Kart‘s gameplay.

As with every other Mario Kart title, Mario Kart for the 3DS features a bit of the old with a lot of the new in terms of race courses. While the details aren’t know yet, a few familiar courses from Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart DS can be seen in the screenshots at the end of the article (Peach’s Castle and Airship Fortress respectively).  Regardless of what we’ll see from the past, Nintendo assures us there will be plenty of recognizable courses like Wuhu Island from Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit and the jungles from Donkey Kong Country Returns alongside a variety of other new tracks.

As for connectivity, not much has been detailed by Nintendo at E3, save that Mario Kart for the 3DS will utilize both SpotPass and StreetPass. To sum it up for the uninitiated 3DS user: SpotPass is the active searching of–and connecting to–WiFi hotspots to download info and StreetPass is the interaction of nearby 3DS systems to exchange game info (like Mii avatars). While it’s unknown what Mario Kart will do with these features, it’s possible time trial data and other player records will be transferred between systems.

Also, following the trends set by Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart for the 3DS will offer multiplayer action via local wireless or the Nintendo WiFi Connection so players can take their kart-driving competition to the rest of the world to see how they match up.

Hopefully Mario Kart fans out there can wait just a little bit longer, after all, the holidays are around the corner!

Below are a few screenshots from E3 this year. Please note that these are 2D images of a 3DS game, the actual 3D effect may only be viewed on the 3DS system.


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