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All new ways to drive. All new ways to customize. Same old Mario Kart skills on the go.
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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.


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This game contains examples of:

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    A-C 
  • 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.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The Shy Guy Bazaar is a nocturnal racetrack with Arabian architecture and soundtrack.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    D-F 
  • 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 hunt you down.
  • Dub Name Change: Quite a few course names differ between the North American and European/Australian localizations. Here's a list of them, with the NA names on the left and the EU 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
    • Honeybee Hive/Honeybee House
    • In addition, for space limitations, N64 Koopa Troopa Beach is displayed as N64 Koopa Beach in the North American version.
  • 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 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.
    I-L 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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    M-P 
  • 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 theme from 7, Toad's Turnpike from 64, and the circuit theme from Wii.
  • Musical Nod:
    • Neo Bowser City's music is a blend of N64 Toad's Turnpike, the Menu music from 7, and the Circuit themes from Mario Kart Wii and 7.
    • New Rainbow Road uses the chorus from N64 Rainbow Road.
    • The results music is that from Mario Kart 64, raised up a full step.
  • 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.
  • Pinball Zone: Waluigi Pinball, returning from Mario Kart DS.
  • 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.
    R-W 
  • 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 remastered less thoroughly than in the previous two games, so the music tends to sound very similar to how it originally sounded, aside from possibly having clearer audio depending on the original system, and of course the bass percussion added if you build up a large lead, and the Truck Driver's Gear Change for the last lap/segment. This means that, for example, the SNES version of Rainbow Road sounds incredibly close to the original, just with cleaner synths and a better mix.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Under the Sea: Wii Koopa Cape, Cheep Cheep Lagoon
  • 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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