Preview: MK3D has earth, fireballs, wind, water

June 17, 2011

Hey everybody! Mario Kart!

Let’s be honest: there are those who are excited just by us saying that, and there are those who are just totally burned out on the series as a whole. Mario Kart 3DS isn’t going to change that, but it does add some things that modify the formula a bit.

How does it change things up? By going up. And down. This version adds gliders and underwater sequences, each with a different control dynamic. From what we’ve played, this feels a bit weird, but then again, so did jumps when we first played the Wii version, and that worked out fairly well. It’s reminiscent of Diddy Kong Racing, a game we know many liked. We… weren’t in that camp. That said, it’s only for seconds at a time, and it’s implemented fairly well.

The team is focusing on having the game run at 60 frames per second. In 3D. With 8-player online. The game looks like this is their focus. It’s not bad, exactly, but for a system capable of more, the game’s less detailed than even Double Dash!! and has fairly simple scenery around the track. It’s hard to argue with a focus on making multiplayer great, though.

Mario Kart 3D takes an interesting approach to kart selection. You choose a body, which gives you a base value. You pick a wheel size, which seems to influence mobility, traction and weight. Then you choose a special feature. The glider is one of these, and the only one shown off in the E3 demo. If the bonuses are properly balanced for each track so one’s not clearly superior, this could bring some much-needed strategy to pre-race preparation.

We hope to learn more about Mario Kart 3D before it releases sometime later this year.