#659 Mario Kart DS

Posted: 18th October 2016 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , ,

550th played so far


Genre: Racing
Platform: DS
Year of Release: 2005
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

About a decade ago, on my first holiday to London, I met up with a large group of people from the Pokemon site I did/do work on. We used our DSes to trade for the fairly recent Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, but in the evening, as we sat in the pub, our DSes came out for other games. Mario Kart DS has shared play – where if you don’t have it, you can download part of the game to play multiplayer. Only one person needs to have the cartridge for a bunch of people to race.

It was my first exposure to the series in years (possibly since the SNES days of Super Mario Kart) and was a lot of fun to play together. I sucked – probably – but that just didn’t matter. And now it’s time I play it for real.

Our Thoughts

Mario Kart DS really follows the formula of other games in the series – it feels like a handheld version of something like Mario Kart Wii, obviously with weaker graphics, but as it mostly just uses the bottom screen for a map and general status, there’s no real difference there. Controls pretty much match those of others.

It’s a good formula, and as much as an update is to be expected, it is the superior handheld version (the 3DS version was released too late to be on the list anyway). That part is pretty plain though. What really adds to the game and makes it stand out is what I referred to earlier – the expansion of multiplayer. Rather than just having split screen play – effectively an impossibility on the DS – both download play and online play is supported and play becomes even more seamless. The Mario Kart games thrive most when played as multiplayer anyway, which pays off here by offering the superior appearance. There really is something special about being able to play the game while you’re sitting in the pub, using the various multiplayer modes.

Another interesting feature that I found this time are the different challenges in the game. Running through gates in order, collecting a certain number of coins, that sort of stuff. It’s a known idea, but works well to add longevity here, especially when the difficulty really ramps up.

Final Thoughts

The Mario Kart series isn’t always one that jumps ahead in leaps and bounds. Mario Kart DS is a very good game, but after that you do compare it to others in the series that are just as good. Still, this is probably one of the staple DS games everyone should play. If only for the party modes.