Mario Kart Series Retrospective – Part 2


Mario Kart 7 (3DS, 2011)

Mario Kart 7 built upon the success of Mario Kart Wii and made polarizing new additions at the same time. This was the first game in which the ability to drive underwater and fly through the air in your karts was available. The tracks were more diverse because of this and the strategy of the game changed a little bit. You couldn’t just shoot a red shell at someone who was about to fly through the air because it wouldn’t hit them. 

The first-person mode made its debut in this game allowing you to steer by tilting the 3DS system. It was an interesting perspective, but I never enjoyed playing Mario Kart in this way, it just doesn’t seem natural and doesn’t allow you to see enough of the track or your competitors.

There were new unlockables in this game in the form of parts for your kart (wheels, gliders, and bodies). This adds to the combinations that players can use to gain a competitive edge. Each part has different types of performance and it’s up to you to figure out how to best construct your kart for the way you race.

Mario Kart 7
Credit: Nintendo Life

Game Modes

This game did remove some features, most notably the races are now 8-person races again coming down from 12. Bikes are also absent from this one.

  • Grand Prix (1 Player)
  • Vs. (2-8 Players)
  • Balloon Battle (2-8 Players)
  • Coin Runners (2-8 Players)


There are 17 playable characters in Mario Kart 7 which is slightly less than the Wii version, but still quite respectable for a handheld.

Mario Kart 7

Default characters
Princess PeachLight
Donkey KongCruiser
Koopa TroopaFeather
Unlockable Characters
Metal MarioHeavy 
Shy GuyFeather 
Honey QueenHeavy 


Mario Kart 7 

Mushroom CupFlower CupStar CupSpecial Cup
Toad CircuitWuhu LoopPiranha Plant SlideDK Jungle
Daisy HillsMario CircuitWario ShipyardRosalina’s Ice World
Cheep Cheep LagoonMusic ParkNeo Bowser CityBowser’s Castle
Shy Guy BazaarRock Rock MountainMaka WuhuRainbow Road
Shell CupBanana CupLeaf CupLightning Cup
N64 Luigi RacewayN64 Koopa Troopa BeachN64 Kalimari DesertWii Koopa Cape
GBA Bowser’s Castle 1SNES Mario Circuit 2DS DK PassGCN Dino Dino Jungle
Wii Mushroom GorgeWii Coconut MallGCN Daisy CruiserDS Airship Fortress
DS Luigi’s MansionDS Waluigi PinballWii Maple TreewaySNES Rainbow Road

Battle Courses

  • GBA Battle Course 1
  • N64 Big Donut
  • DS Palm Shore
  • Honeybee Hive
  • Sherbet Rink
  • Wuhu Town


Mario Kart 7

Mario Kart 7 made some interesting item choices. None of the new items from the Wii version made the cut. There are still 3 new items including the Fire Flower which shoots fireballs, the Super Leaf which deflects items and knocks over other drivers, and the Lucky 7 which give you 7 different items at once.

Item Name 
Item Box 
Triple Bananas 
Green Shell 
Triple Green Shells 
Red Shell 
Triple Red Shells 
Spiny Shell 
Triple Mushrooms 
Golden Mushroom 
Bullet Bill 
Fire Flower (New) 
Super Leaf (New) 
Lucky Seven (New) 


Mario Kart 7

Mario Kart 7 is my favourite handheld Mario Kart game and it’s one I still go back to from time to time to play. It’s pretty close to what you see today in Mario Kart 8: Deluxe, but with some limitations due to the system. I’m not a huge fan of the flying or underwater portions because it seems a little gimmicky to me, but that doesn’t take away from the fun factor.

Now on to present day with Mario Kart 8 and 8: Deluxe!