We sent our intrepid reporter down to the LA Auto Show to check out two unusual vehicles. While he was there he just happened to try out Mario Kart 7
As I descended the escalator into the throbbing heart of the LA Auto Show, I spotted in the distance an unusual sight. Were my eyes deceiving me? Was that a Nintendo 3DS stand right beside a huge sign for Yokohama tires? That seemed odd. But then I saw them. Two sheet-shrouded shapes bearing the distinct outline of certain video game vehicles. Karts to be precise.
As I drew closer, I spotted Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime, his hand poised above the sheet. Beside him stood West Coast Customs chief executive Ryan Friedlinghaus, a wide smile on his face
These unlikely cohorts had a tale to tell.
Fils-Aime told the audience that Nintendo had approached West Coast Customs and asked them to design and build two cars with the capabilities to drive underwater and fly through the air. What!
Obviously, this was an impossible task, but it was a humorous way to introduce the project West Coast Customs had been working on for Nintendo. They have created two exact – drivable – replicas of Mario’s Standard Go-Kart and Luigi’s Bumble-Bee Go-Kart. And, with that revelation, the sheets were whisked away and the colorful machines displayed to all.
“We’ve played Mario Kart games for years, so it’s a dream come true to bring these karts to life,” said Friedlinghaus. “We think people will be blown away by seeing these cool video game vehicles in person.”
“Mario karts offer more fun per mile than any other vehicle,” said Fils-Aime. “Mario Kart 7 is a perfect example of the many great games Nintendo has lined up for the holidays.”
As luck would have it, Nintendo also had a fully playable version of Mario Kart 7 on hand and Press2Reset got the chance to take it for a spin.
The controls were instantly familiar with the ability to power slide and grab items following the same intuitive control scheme as previous Mario Kart outings. There are 24 tracks to choose from with more to unlock, and levels include classic layouts from Wii, DS and N64 versions of the game, alongside completely new levels.
The newest feature is the ability to race underwater as well as in the air. These new modes of transportation are extremely fun and add in some diversity to the levels in how you cross the finish line. One of the tracks I played had me jump off the road into a pool of water only to immediately have a propeller pop out the back of my Kart.
Because I was underwater, the game physics adapt and gave me a sense of floating. Once I came out and dried off, the next jump lifted me in the air and deployed my hang-glider attachment from the top of my Kart in time to let me fly over a large gap, dodging the obstacles along the way. Expect to have some awesome land, water, and air races with your friends.
Mario Kart 7 will be available on the 3DS and will let you experience Mario Kart in 3D for the first time. Nintendo developed this game themselves and their familiarity with the imaging software shows. The 3D is some of the best I have seen with leaves and dirt kicked up from your tires flying at you off the screen. The 3D also gives you some more depth perception, providing a better idea for when you should start your power slide for the next turn.
After my short time with the game, I am very excited for its release. Fans of the series or those who just enjoy a good arcade racer need to put this game at high priority. Mario Kart 7 will only be available on the 3DS and is scheduled to release December 4. Stay tuned to Press2Reset for the full review.
More exclusive shots from the show: