Mario Kart DS came out here today so I got a copy and having spent some more time with it my previous opinions haven’t changed. If anything, I like it even more than the quick blast that I had a couple of days ago. The last two Mario Karts, Mario Kart Super Circuit (GBA) and Mario Kart Double Dash (GCN) didn’t strike the same chord with me that the first two, especially Mario Kart 64 (many disagree with me on that one, I know) did, but this one just seems to work. No gimmicks like the tag teams of the Cube version, but makes some real progress for the series unlike the GBA one.
Single player is fairly standard fare, with the prerequisite Grand Prix, Time Trials, etc and the addition of various missions which give you tasks to do within increasingly strict time limits. It doesn’t help the single player become the real draw (which it obviously isn’t), but it’s a change of pace from the racing. Speaking of racing, you’ll want to jump right in at 100cc or 150cc because it will make the races faster and the rival AI more competitive, and if you’ve played Mario Kart before the 50cc races are frankly a cakewalk.
Apparently what everyone wants out of this game, however, is multiplayer. That’s always been where Mario Kart’s heart is and this is no different. Playing against people in the same room is as seamless and easy as you’d expect with no lag issues whatsoever, and, impressively, online multiplayer over Nintendo’s WFC service (take note Sony: you’re now the only ones without a dedicated online service) is seamless and easy with no lag issues whatsoever. I had a couple of games which ran perfectly and setup couldn’t be easier. The fact that Nintendo now have wi-fi infrastructure bodes well for future games and from what I’ve seen this couldn’t be a better flagship title. I know what I’m going to be playing until the Xbox 360 comes out next week.
My friend code is 141793886571 so feel free to look me up online.