Mario Kart gets its 7th iteration this year, and this time, it is on Nintendo's newest handheld. I got to briefly try out the game's demo station at this year's New York Comic Con, and it was a pretty good experience, even if it lacked all the modes mentioned in recent months.
I only played one race, and I could not place the location's name itself, but it was a large collection of setpieces set on a large island. The demo allowed me to choose one of eight characters, the body of the vehicle, the tires, and the hang glider. Hang glider? In Mario Kart? Oh, yes, and there is more, too.
The track I raced had a number of unique setpieces, starting with a cave filled with flying bats which knocked my cart around. Then, all of the racers raced through the cave filled with stalactites, and shortly thereafter, large boulders rushed toward us as we climbed the steep hills. Once I reached the top, Yoshi barreled into the air, and his kart sprouted its hang glider, allowing me to fly through the air and rush between the trees from above. These kart transformations are the newest additions to the franchise, and my experience with this first one was fairly positive. The other additional transformation involves a submarine, but I did not get to try that one out here. These transformations almost makes up for the lack of bikes this time around!
The game's graphics are very smooth, similar to that of Mario Kart Wii. Some elements have been cut back to ensure that the game runs at the full 60 frames per second, but when you are rushing through each track, I do not think many will care. There is some bumpmapping on the vehicles, which helps to mask any lower polygons the karts themselves might display. The 3D effect mixed with the game's worlds and power-ups was great; I got inked by a Blooper and was very surprised about how close the ink looked on-screen. The depth especially showed when in the air, no doubt partly why they decided on using the hang glider in the first place. As this was essentially the E3 demo, I could not experience the new first-person mode, but it should certainly be useful to show off the game's 3D effect.
I would say the game is pretty good so far, but those not interested in Mario Kart will clearly not be won over this time around. We have no footage of the game, but you can surely expect to see more in the coming months!