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A new dimension of kart racing!
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The seventh game in the Mario Kart series, released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2011.

This installment features many assets from Mario Kart Wii, but adds in several new additions to the series. Karts are now capable of driving underwater and are fitted with gliders, allowing them to travel through the air after driving off of a gliding ramp. Many of the returning tracks from previous games have been altered to incorporate these new mechanics. The game also introduces kart customization beyond simply choosing which character and which kart. Karts now have three separate parts: chassis, wheels, and gliders.

Coins return after having been absent from the series since Mario Kart: Super Circuit, making this the first 3D Mario Kart to include them (not counting the Arcade GP games).

If you're looking for tropes for the Game Mod CTGP-7 (which uses this game as a base), here is is.

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This game contains examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Piranha Plant Slide makes you drive through one, albeit a colourful Nintendo version.
  • Airplane Arms: Wiggler is almost constantly doing this with his upper two arms.
  • Amphibious Automobile: After all, underwater racing wouldn't be the same without them.
  • Antepiece:
    • Rainbow Road features one. Partway through the track, a glider launchpad leads directly into a large star ring that gives the racers a small speed boost. In the final third of the race, the track opens into an open gliding section where racers have to avoid floating asteroids and fly through a series of smaller, spread-out star rings to stay in flight.
    • Toad Circuit has an optional ramp with a glider launchpad, usually only used after the first lap. Using it doesn't take your kart very far (it's actually better to ignore it), but it lets the player get used to the gliding controls. Then the next level, Daisy Hills, has a larger gliding section at the end, with more obstacles to avoid (and the lake below acting as a Bottomless Pit) and its launchpads are mandatory to progress.
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  • Anthropomorphic Typography: Music Park from both Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8 have giant music notes with faces that act as obstacles in the track, bouncing back and forth to the music.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The Shy Guy Bazaar is a nocturnal racetrack with Arabian architecture and soundtrack. Likely a Mythology Gag to Shy Guys' origin game, the Arabian-themed Doki Doki Panic.
  • Astral Finale: Rainbow Road, as usual. However, this one is unique in that the racers drive on more than just rainbow. The rings of Saturn (with sections cut out for difficulty) and the moon are also part of the track.
  • Band Land: Music Park, a track where racers drive atop piano keys, drums, and other assorted musical instruments.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: 7 includes the first and only appearances of Wiggler and Honey Queen/Queen Bee as playable drivers.
  • Continuity Nod: Quite a few. Nintendo EAD and Retro Studios really went all out to fill this Mario Kart with references to the Mario series's past.
    • The starting roster is identical to Super Mario Kart, with Donkey Kong replacing Donkey Kong Jr.
    • Shy Guy's Bazaar takes place in a desert a la World 2 of Subcon, bringing back a Middle Eastern motif of Doki Doki Panic as well as the vases from that game.
    • Piranha Plant Slide has the look and feel of the Super Mario Bros overworld in 3D, with structures resembling that game's tiles and their bright, iconic colors. In an especially subtle reference, its bushes and clouds have the same polygonal geometry with different textures applied to each - a reference to the bushes and clouds in Super Mario Bros. being the same sprite with different palettes.
    • Wario's Shipyard brings back a musical motif from the first two Wario Land games.
    • DK Jungle is one big reference to Donkey Kong Country Returns, also developed by Retro. It features the return of the Frogoons and Tiki Goons from that game.
    • Rosalina's Ice World has some references to Super Mario Galaxy, such as a downed Toad Brigade Starshroom, the Comet Observatory in the background, and a portion of the music being remixed from the Space Junk Galaxy theme. Rainbow Road (making its annual appearance) is also filled with references to Galaxy, for example incorporating Launch Stars into its layout.
  • Cyberpunk with a Chance of Rain: The futuristic Neo Bowser City always has rainy weather.
  • Dark Reprise: The music for Neo Bowser City includes quite a few reprises. Including the music of Toad/Mario Circuit, Toad's Turnpike, Mario/Luigi Circuit, and even this game's title theme.
  • Derelict Graveyard: Wario Shipyard takes place in a graveyard of sunken ships.
  • Determinator: The red shell. Even if you take to the air with a glider launchpad, it will still hunt you down.
  • Dub Name Change: Quite a few course names differ between the American English and British English localizations. Here's a list of them, with the American names on the left and the British names on the right.
    • Cheep Cheep Lagoon/Cheep Cheep Cape
    • Wuhu Loop/Wuhu Island Loop
    • Music Park/Melody Motorway
    • Rock Rock Mountain/Alpine Pass
    • Piranha Plant Slide/Piranha Plant Pipeway
    • Wario Shipyard/Wario's Galleon
    • Neo Bowser City/Koopa City
    • Maka Wuhu/Wuhu Mountain Loop
    • N64 Koopa Beach/N64 Koopa Troopa Beach
    • Honeybee Hive/Honeybee House
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: All of the character unlocks are tied to 150cc, the hardest difficulty.
  • Egopolis: Neo Bowser City is one. And moreso in its upgrade for Mario Kart 8.
  • First-Person Perspective: A new feature in this game. It's required to use this feature 80% of the time to unlock the gold steering wheel.
  • Foreshadowing: If, when starting the race, Lakitu is wearing a snorkel mask and his cloud is wearing goggles, that's a way of telling you that you will have a significant amount of underwater driving. He does this on Cheep Cheep Lagoon, Piranha Plant Slide, Wario Shipyard, Rosalina's Ice World, N64 Koopa Beach, GCN Daisy Cruiser, and Wii Koopa Cape. Interestingly, he does not do this on Bowser's Castle even though that track has an underwater segment.
  • Forest of Perpetual Autumn: Wii Maple Treeway remains just as autumny as it was in Mario Kart Wii.
  • Fragile Speedster: Kart combinations below give the best air top speed in the game.
    • Concerning characters, the game distinguishes feather (Toad, Koopa, Shy Guy and Lakitu) and light characters (Peach, Yoshi and Daisy): both have the best handling and top speed underwater and while the latter have a better weight and land top speed than the former, they are worse everywhere else. They also are the same size as middleweights, making them more vulnerable.
    • Regarding kart bodies, Birthday Girl, Bumble V and Egg 1 have the best acceleration while Cloud 9 and Pipe Frame are close second, but are the lightest. Bumble V's turbo is also the most powerful while others' are only average and is faster than others on land (even if only above average), but is the least controllable on land. On the other hand, Birthday Girl and Cloud 9 are extremely precise but the slowest while Egg 1 and Pipe Frame are average in these two areas. Their off-road, however, is variable: Bumble V and Pipe Frame are excellent in this area while Cloud 9 and Egg 1 are average and Birthday Girl is mediocre.
    • Roller, Sponge and Wood tires amplify this trope for these vehicles in varying ways (though all of them give a great acceleration and the best air top speed): the first gives the best acceleration, handling, turbo and stability, but no weight, land top speed or drift, and average off-road; Sponge also gives a good acceleration, an incredible drift, a decent off-road and an average stability, but a moderate handling, a lightweight and a small land top speed; Wood tires give a ludicrous drift, stability and good handling and off-road, but a lightweight (but not as light as others), a bad land top speed and no mini-turbo.
  • Glass Cannon: Put a Fragile Speedster in these vehicles and you have this trope in action:
    • The Soda Jet offers the second-to-best top speed and acceleration with a decent turbo, handling and the best drift, but is extremely light and endures off-road more than the Bruiser.
    • B Dasher is heavier than Soda Jet and has the best top speed in the game, but can be considered this because it is as vulnerable to off-road, which is the Mighty Glaciers' privilege in this game. It is also slower to start and gives an average drift couple with a lame mini-turbo.
    • Slick tires are the Glass Cannon tires of this game: they give the best land top speed and the most precise drift with a decent turbo and stability (and weight), but only a small acceleration, no handling and are the most vulnerable to off-road.
  • Glacier Waif:
    • Once again, Rosalina needs larger karts due to her height. However, she is now considered a Cruiser character (a subtle line between middleweights and heavyweights).
    • On the other hand, Metal Mario plays this trope straight: while he is as small (and chubby) as the original character and has middle-sized vehicles, he is classified as a pure heavyweight.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Queen Bee from Super Mario Galaxy is a playable racer in this game, but she was renamed "Honey Queen" for some reason.
  • Interface Spoiler: A subtle one, but when the player completes the final race required to achieve a star ranking in every cup of every class, the star(s) will be added to the player's league table position before the trophy reveal. In a way this is a good thing, as immediately upon completion the player will be able to see if, for example, they have managed to achieve one, two or three stars overall.
  • I Want Mommy!: Subverted; The playable Lakitu may say this while falling off the track, but is soon rescued by the green-shelled Lakitu.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats:
    • Once again, Mario and Luigi are the representants of this trope along with the Miis.
    • Light and Cruiser characters are this for nervous and powerful characters respectively: their goods and flaws are more moderate than feather and heavy characters, but the former are middle-sized and the latter are large-sized.
    • While there are standard combos for kart bodies, tires and gliders, any character can approach this trope thanks to the endless combinations: a heavy character with a light combo (or the perfect opposite) can become a balanced character to some degree.
  • Land of Tulips and Windmills: The incredibly upbeat Daisy Hills give very strong vibes of this trope, with its windmills and flowers. Although it is mixed with some alpine, Austrian flair.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Barrel Train comes back as a vehicle body: its acceleration and off-road are average but still decent compared to heavyweights, it makes you gain the maximum weight bonus and the second land top speed, and while the others speeds are mediocre, it can compensate with a monstruous turbo. However, it is among the hardest cars to drive.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Getting three stars on any Grand Prix Mode requires you to — at the very least — win every race, finish every race with ten coins, and lead for more than half of the second and third laps. Anyone who knows anything about the 150cc and Mirror modes in this series is probably going to immediately realize just how difficult this is going to be; a perfect race with the player in 1st can easily end in tears before the finish line if an NPC fires a blue shell, and/or several of them get red shells and barrage you. Especially frustrating is if this happens on the last lap of the fourth and final race.
  • Lucky Seven: This game introduces the "Lucky 7" item, which surrounds you with seven items you can use as you want. But it's a double-edged sword and can backfire in several ways, as the items will also activate if someone else touches you, and can be lost entirely if you get hit by an item or course hazard. Its successor, the Crazy 8, spawns eight items to use at once.
  • Magic Carpet: Ridden by some Shy Guys in Shy Guy Bazaar.
  • Medley:
    • The music for the Wuhu Island tracks is a medley of the themes of Wii Sports Resort and Wii Sports.
    • Neo Bowser City is a medley of the circuit/title themes from 7, Toad's Turnpike from 64, and the circuit theme from Wii.
  • Mighty Glacier:
    • A distinction is applied between Cruiser characters (Donkey Kong, Rosalina and Wiggler) and Heavy characters (Bowser, Wario, Honey Queen and Metal Mario): the former share some flaws of the latter like a weaker turbo and drift, a larger hitbox and their advantages like weight and top speed aren't as strong, but some flaws like the weak acceleration aren't as problematic and they also benefit middleweights' off-road.
    • 7 vehicle bodies like Bruiser, Zucchini, Blue Seven, and Bolt Buggy give a great top speed, a good weight to push opponents and a decent off-road, but lame acceleration. Gold Standard is heavy and powerful, but is weak to off-road, while Barrel Train actually has a good acceleration.
    • Gold and Slick Tires give the best top speed with a decent weight and turbo, but a lame acceleration and off-road. Monster and Red Monsters also give a good top speed coupled with a good weight and off-road, but are unstable and make the vehicle slower to start.
  • Musical Nod:
    • Neo Bowser City's music is a blend of N64 Toad's Turnpike, the title theme of 7, and the Circuit themes from Mario Kart Wii and 7.
    • New Rainbow Road uses the chorus from N64 Rainbow Road. The section before that is a variation of the N64 Staff Roll.
    • The results music is that from Mario Kart 64, raised up a full step.
  • Neon City: Neo Bowser City has a futuristic theme which involves a lot of neon lights and bright displays (many of which serve to glorify Bowser).
  • New Neo City: Neo Bowser City
  • Nintendo Hard: Most players of reasonable ability will be able to breeze through the 50cc and 100cc classes and achieve three stars regardless of player/kart selections. Then there is a noticeable difficulty spike on 150cc and 150cc Mirror where the enemies become much more ruthless, have a better spread of items and track specific hazards become much harder to dodge because of the speeds involved. Achieving a three star rating on every cup takes a LOT of perseverance.
  • Nitro Boost: Features many ways - a variety of different dash pads, stored nitro charges in the form of mushrooms, and a self-regenerating boost achievable by holding the right trigger and steering heavily into corners (or on certain straights by zig-zagging, if they're wide enough).
  • Numbered Sequels: This is the first game in the series to be numbered.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Like the previous installment, top speed is the central criteria to settle records.
  • Palmtree Panic:
    • Cheep Cheep Lagoon are Wii Koopa Cape are this with Under the Sea vibes.
    • Wuhu Loop is the summer town track for this game while Maka Wuhu is the summer island's exploration equivalent.
    • N64 Koopa Troopa Beach, on the other hand, is a more traditional example.
  • Pinball Zone: Waluigi Pinball, returning from Mario Kart DS (although Waluigi himself is absent from this installment).
  • Promoted to Playable:
    • This is the first game in the series where Lakitu is playable. The playable Lakitu has a red shell to distinguish him from the one who starts the race, rescues you when you fall into pits, etc.
    • This is the first time, and so far the last, that Honey Queen from Super Mario Galaxy and Wiggler are playable.
  • Red Baron: Each player is given a title (the player can view their own under Mario Kart Channel, at the face icon) based on how they play (for example, Quick Starter is for those good at hitting a boost at the start, while Dolphin is for those good at racing underwater). When racing against the AI-controlled version of those players gained through StreetPass, their play style is informed by their title.
  • Red Ones Go Faster: The Red Monster wheels are a bit lighter and have a touch more acceleration than the regular Monster wheels.
  • Retraux: The music for the retro courses was also remastered, and the music tends to sound very similar to how it originally sounded, but with an added Truck Driver's Gear Change for the last lap/segment, and better instruments. The SNES version of Rainbow Road sounds fairly close to the original, just with cleaner synths and a better mix, for example.
  • Scenery Porn: In classic Nintendo fashion, the new levels are all bright and colourful with the power of the 3DS utilised to make the backgrounds eye-popping. Even the retro courses receive a significant facelift as compared to the originals.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Shy Guy Bazaar is the "Arabian Nights" Days version while N64 Kalimari Desert is The Wild West equivalent.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World:
    • Rosalina's Ice World lives up to its name. Most of the track is snow and ice.
    • DK Pass returns from DS. There's no ice, but plenty of snow. Snowballs and snowmen show up as obstacles on the course.
  • Snowy Sleigh Bells: While all three nitro battle tracks have the same melody, the music playing on Sherbet Rink has added sleigh bells.
  • Socialization Bonus: The StreetPass feature unlocks the Gold Glider part. The more people you connect with the feature, the fewer coins you need to unlock the part. Don't live in a place where lots of people own a copy of the game and use the StreetPass feature? Have fun grinding for 10,000 coins to get that Gold Gilder.
  • Springy Spores: Mushroom Gorge from Mario Kart Wii returns, featuring bouncy mushrooms that racers use to cross gaps. This game's incarnations of Mario Circuit and Rainbow Road also have one apiece.
  • Stone Wall:
    • Tiny Tug is a fairly controllable kart with a decent acceleration, a good weight to protect itself and is among the most resistants to off-road. However, its turbo are mediocre and its (land) top speed below average (it has the best underwater top speed, however).
    • Cact-X has the same off-road advantage and is more controllable, but is lighter and slower.
  • Under the Sea: Cheep Cheep Lagoon is the introduction to underwater's mechanic while Koopa Cape's Shark Tunnel became this.
  • Windmill Scenery: Daisy Hills has three windmills that lie at the bottom of the gliding section, and their sails can block the racers.

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