Mario Kart 7 box art
Race across land, air, and sea in the wildest Mario Kart game yet!


Mario Kart 7[1] (previously titled Mario Kart) is a racing game for the Nintendo 3DS, and an installment in the Mario Kart series. Developed by Nintendo EAD and Retro Studios, the latter who helped on aspects such as character and course design [2], the game was released December 1, 2011 in Japan, December 2 in Europe, December 3 in Australia, and December 4 in North America.

It was later released as a digital download on the Nintendo eShop October 4, 2012 in Europe, October 18 in North America, and November 1 in Japan. [3] [4] As of January 26, 2012, the game has sold 4.5 million units globally, becoming the second best-selling 3DS game. [5] [6] [7] [8]

The title was promoted at the 2011 Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, where life-sized karts from the game, Mario's standard vehicle and Luigi's Bumble V were displayed for people to view and take photos with from November 18 through the 27th. [9] [10] An update for the game entitled "Mario Kart 7 Version 1.1" was released on the Nintendo eShop on May 15, 2012, fixing shortcut exploits found in 3 courses (online only). The patch is required in order to play online. [11] [12] [13] [14]


The game includes up to 8 player multiplayer play, both offline and online, with features like Grand Prix, Time Trials. Coin Runners and Balloon Battles. The graphics are also similar to Mario Kart Wii with the addition of the 3D stereoscopic capabilities, which enhance the depth while driving on racecourses. It also brings a "bunch of new elements" to the series. [15] Such new elements include the ability to use air gliders, which can be useful for navigating through the air, and the ability to drive underwater. Players can also change to first-person gameplay, which allows one to steer the kart using motion control by shifting the 3DS system.

Coins return, which have not been featured since Mario Kart: Super Circuit for Game Boy Advance. The option to select classic Mario Kart tracks is also available again in this game. In addition, players may now assemble their own karts, rather than select pre-set karts as in older Mario Kart games. Players can now select the body of the kart, the wheels, and other additional accessories such as the glider. Some parts need to be unlocked before they can be used.

Mario Kart 7 features sixteen new courses, but some of the past courses making a return have had the underwater sections added to them. StreetPass is used to exchange ghost data with people that you pass on the street. You also can use that data to register that person as your friend on the system itself and proceed to play online with them.

The new Community feature allows players to create groups with other Mario Kart fans while setting up specific rules to make customized racing environments. Easy setup allows players to quickly create a community and share with others via the StreetPass™ feature. Community leaderboards will also show the most up-to-date information from recent races. [16]

Walking by other Mario Kart 7 players in real life with StreetPass enabled allows gamers to exchange racing scores, win/loss records, number of collected coins and other game data. With SpotPass enabled, players will be able to receive ghost data to race against. Up to seven ghosts can be downloaded at the same time, allowing for a full eight-player race. [17]

Playable Characters

There are only 17 playable characters in Mario Kart 7, short of Mario Kart Wii's 25 playable characrers, though some downloadable content is being considered to add more courses and characters to the game.

Starting Characters

Unlockable Characters

  • Mii (Unlocked by getting in 1st Place Trophies in all cups on any CC)
  • Daisy (Unlocked by getting 1st in the 150 CC Mushroom Cup)
  • Wario (Unlocked by getting 1st in the 150 CC Flower Cup)
  • Roslina (Unlocked by getting 1st in the 150 CC Star Cup)
  • Metal Mario  (Unlocked by getting 1st in 150 CC Special Cup)
  • Shy Guy (Unlocked by getting 1st in 150 CC Shell Cup)
  • Honey Queen (Unlocked by getting 1st in 150 CC Banana Cup)
  • Wiggler (Unlocked by getting 1st in 150 CC Leaf Cup)
  • Lakitu (Unlocked by getting 1st in 150 CC Lightning Cup)


Returning Items

  • Green Shell
  • Triple Green Shell
  • Red Shell
  • Triple Red Shell
  • Spiny Shell
  • Bob-omb
  • Banana
  • Triple Bananas
  • Blooper
  • Mushroom
  • Triple Mushrooms
  • Bullet Bill
  • Super Star
  • Lightning Bolt
  • Golden Mushroom

New Items

  • Fire Flower
  • Super Leaf
  • Lucky 7 [18]


The full list of tracks are as follows: [19] [20]

New Courses

Mushroom Cup Flower Cup Star Cup Special Cup
Toad Circuit Wuhu Loop Piranha Plant Slide DK Jungle
Daisy Hills Mario Circuit Wario Shipyard Rosalina's Ice World
Cheep Cheep Lagoon Music Park Neo Bowser City Bowser's Castle
Shy Guy Baazar Rock Rock Mountain Maka Wuhu Rainbow Road

Retro Courses

Shell Cup Banana Cup Leaf Cup Lightning Cup
N64 Luigi Raceway N64 Koopa Beach N64 Kalimari Desert Wii Koopa Cape
GBA Bowser Castle 1 SNES Mario Circuit 2 DS Dk Pass GCN Dino Dino Jungle
Wii Mushroom Gorge Wii Coconut mall GCN Daisy Cruiser DS Airship Fortress
DS Luigi's Mansion DS Waluigi Pinball Wii Maple Treeway SNES Rainbow Road

Battle Courses

New Retro
Honeybee Hive GBA Battle Course 1
Sherbet Rink N64 Big Donut

Wuhu Town

DS Palm Shore


Mario Kart 7 sold between 420,000 to 450,000 copies during its first week in Japan. These sales and Super Mario 3D Land's sales have impacted hardware sales too, as Nintendo reports the 3DS will soon cross three million hardware units sold in Japan and they expect it to reach the four million mark before its one year anniversary. [21]

The game has mainly received positive reviews from video game critics.

Famitsu gave the game its first review, a 37/40, saying "The game’s made so you’re always able to stage a comeback, making it approachable and enjoyable for anyone. Competing for time is also exciting, and there’s more than enough room for hardcore play here. The Community feature makes netplay a lot more accessible than before, and finding opponents via StreetPass is also impressive. It’s really exciting to think how the Community is going to unfold. There are a lot of changes here, but play it and it’s definitely still Mario Kart. That goes to show how complete a game it’s become. It’s accessible enough that even new players can enjoy it, and when you get into it, you really get into it." [22]

Gameblog gave the game a 100, stating "With almost ten years of thrilling races behind them, even the most fine-tuned racing fireballs can show signs of fatigue. But rather than risking a break-down, Nintendo was smart enough to dismantle its Mario Kart core formula in order to correctly refreshen each and every one of its clogs before putting them back together. As an added bonus, the mechanic repainted it nicely and added some of the latest technologies. The end result roars at soon as the engine starts, and promises to run nicely for quite some time thanks to solid online features." [23]

Modojo too gave it the highest score they had, reason being "It's ... the greatest handheld Mario Kart yet, and a welcome addition to a phenomenal series." [24] Game Radar also gave it a 100, stating "Mario Kart 7 is THE game the 3DS has been in dire need of. Sadly, it raises the bar so high for almost everything else, most 3DS games don't even look like they belong on the same system." [25]

Computer and Video Games gave it a 94, stating "As complete a racing game as you could hope to play. All that's good about the previous Karts, distilled and mixed with a trillion ideas of its own. Excellent." [26] Official Nintendo Magazine gave it a 93, reason being "[It's] the best Mario Kart game yet with an online platform that'll keep you racing for years." [27]

Game Revolution, who gave it a 91, said "You've got to own this game if you've got a Nintendo 3DS. If you find a shiny new 3D handheld under the Christmas tree, don't hesitate to pick this game up. It'll surely prove to suck hours and hours of your system's diminutive battery life away, but once you plug in, you won't want to put it down." [28]

GamingXP gave it a 90, saying "After Super Mario 3D Land, Nintendo has another hardware seller in Mario Kart 7. While Super Mario 3D Land redefined 3D jump'n'runs, Mario Kart 7 sets also new standards for fun and arcade racers. Mario Kart 7 offers the deepest multiplayer experience in the franchise, but that's not all. It's the cool mix of good old features and fresh gameplay elements, which makes the game so cool." [29]

Cheat Code Central also gave it a 90, stating "With a good amount of unlockable content and plenty of multiplayer options, this is a biggest and deepest Mario Kart experience yet." [30] Nintendo Power gave it a 90, reason being "Mario Kart 7 certainly delivers on that [novelty] front with some excellent track design, the solid controls that we've come to expect from the series, and some worthwhile additions (like added items and the ability to fly.)"

Edge Magazine gave it a 90 as well, and said "Nintendo has clearly been experimenting with how to better exploit its system's obvious potential, and its solution is a natural, graceful implementation of 3D that complements and even improves its games, rather than feeling tacked on." [31] Joystiq called it "an exquisitely polished game with few flaws." [32]

In the "Maka Wuhu" course, there is a glitch that allows players to skip quite far ahead in a race, which has gained negative backlash from the community, as it presents an unfair advantage online when racing on this course. At first, Nintendo had no plans on fixing this glitch, but on May 15, 2012, Nintendo released a patch for Mario Kart 7 on the Nintendo eShop entitled "Mario Kart 7 Version 1.1," fixing the glitch alongside removing shortcut exploits from 2 other courses (applied only when racing those courses online, but however, you can still perform the shortcuts offline in Single Player mode). The update is required to play online.


Main article: Mario Kart 7/Gallery




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