7 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario Kart Tour Review


It’s time to look at Nintendo’s latest venture into the mobile world. Despite their rhetoric about not jumping into the pay to win biz it was always just a matter of time. Mario Kart Tour does take this to an extreme level with how many pay to win mechanics there are though. You don’t need any of them to I want to stress that you can still play this game at a satisfactory level without paying any money at all. You will be at a distinct disadvantage, but that is typically the case with almost any mobile game.

The main gameplay revolves around driving and trying to reach the end. Most of the levels are fairly straight forward so you shouldn’t have a difficult time getting to the end. There aren’t many areas where you can fall either. However, this means that more than ever you will need to make sure that your driving skills are polished so you can make the right twists and turns. Every second saved is quite important and also because the score makes a big difference here. Your score is ultimately what decides how many Grand Stars you earn in a race. Obtaining first place gives you a lot of points but it is totally possible to ace a level without coming in first depending on how well you do.

There are a lot of items at play here though so doing well doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll win. I had quite a few races where I lost due to a lot of cheesy circumstances at the last second. A Paratroopa slammed me near the end and then there was also the Red Shells that would get me. There’s a considerable amount of RNG here, but that’s always at play in a Mario Kart game. If anything you really need that or this would become just another racing game right?

The graphics are very nice. You can tell that this is a 2019 game with how vibrant all of the character models are. The stages are incredibly nostalgic and have also aged well with the graphical enhancements. There’s nothing to complain about on a technical level. The stage themes are also really good. I feel like for most mobile games the developers spend a ton of time on presentation since that’s what will really attract players and ideally get them to stay.

The gameplay is quite good. At the end of the day that part holds up pretty well. There’s quite a bit of auto assist so you can even play while you’re not by your phone, but don’t expect to get a good placing. This is actually discouraged compared to other games as well since there is an energy limit that you will hit very quickly. Once that happens your karts and characters won’t get EXP with each win which is a big drawback. You can keep playing, but it will feel like you’re losing out quite a bit.

That’s one limitation that holds the game back and another is how tough it is to get the characters you want. That’s true for many Gatcha games, but some are better than others. One problem with this one is that Karts and Gliders are included as opposed to it just being Drivers like in most other games. I’d really rather not get another car when I could just get more characters. You’ll also get a lot of duplicates since right now the pool is very small. Getting a duplicate feels like a waste because it takes multiple duplicates to get a single rank up so you’ll be here for a while.

The game’s definitely got quite a grind behind it which isn’t too surprising, but it could have definitely been handled better. Then the game also has a Gold Pass option which doubles your rewards for each box but it is quite pricey. I believe it’s around 5-6 a month which is absolutely crazy for a game like this. Honestly, there are almost 0 games I would even pay something like that for. Even Super Smash would have to get declined on this one. I get paying for a console’s online, but individual games?

I got Daisy near the end so that was good, but I wish I could have gotten her a little earlier. I can’t complain much on that end though. Then you’ve got the Cups and by-weekly challenges. I cleared a good chunk of them and apparently new ones are cycled in. It hasn’t happened yet so it’s speculation, but I’ve heard that they might all cycle in and out which would be annoying. I like to be able to play any level at any given time. All mobile games have the themed events which leave, but there should always be a good chunk of permanent ones.

Mario Kart Tour definitely makes a lot of odd decisions. It’s a good game and I think you can get a lot of mileage out of it, but you’ll need to really like the racing. You’ll also have to accept that it will be difficult to be at the top of the rankings for any month since the only way to increase your score on the gliders/karts/drivers is to level them up and it’s tough to get the resources for that without spending money. You will level up, but slower than the others. At the time of this review there isn’t even an option to race against other players which is crazy since that’s what Mario Kart is known for. The game is supposedly adding it in a day or two, but that’s a day or two too late.

Overall, Mario Kart Tour is a good game despite having a lot of negatives. At the end of the day it does succeed in being a good way to drive on the go and to hone your Mario Kart skills. It’s just not good enough for me to keep it long term. These kind of games are addicting for a little while, but you definitely end up burning out after a while. It’s rare that a mobile game will hit the big times and I don’t think this one will have what it takes for me at least. If you do stick around, then just have a blast and enjoy the features!

Overall 7/10

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7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Mario Kart Review


At time for a new title courtesy of MyNintendoRewards! Super Mario Kart is one of those games that is so iconic you are almost afraid to play it. After all, the game was a living legend for a while but since then we have gotten many more Mario Kart games, all of which have improved on this one’s formula. Still, it’s a game that needed to be played and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that you will still enjoy it. The game holds up mighty well and is a good game to add to your virtual collection.
There is no plot of course and there are really two main modes for single player. They are the Grand Prix and time Trial. For multiplayer you also have races and then even battle levels which is cool. There is a reasonable amount of content her all things considered and local multiplayer always ensures that the game will retain a considerable amount of replay value.

For the grand prixs there are 4. The cups have become iconic at this point as you always see the Mushroom, Flower, Star, and Special cups kick in. While most of the newer games limit the cups to 4 races each this one goes with 5. That’s likely because each individual stage is quite short here. For that reason all races are 5 laps each as opposed to 3. A lot of the levels will seem familiar to you if you’ve played the newer Mario Kart games since they usually pay homage to them by including the levels in the games. This one definitely thought of a considerable amount of creative levels. In particular I liked the Boo stages as well as the Bowser ones. Those are definitely very atmospheric while racing.
Naturally this wouldn’t be a Mario game without having a dynamic soundtrack as well right? The level themes are all quite solid and have held up pretty well over the years. No expense was spared here. Then the graphics are also pretty bright and nice for its time. They’ve also aged well and it’s never hard to see where you’re going. At most pipes may appear to be farther than they actually are but that’s why you can’t trust the rear view mirror.

I would have to say that this is probably the most difficult Mario Kart game that I’ve played as well. Mainly this is due to the controls which are naturally a little rougher than in the newer games. I couldn’t quite understand the drifting feature all too well as my car would go too fast. Ultimately when I had to turn I would either slam on the brakes or let go of the acceleration button. There are workarounds like that but of course you will lose speed so be careful. Since you need to win the first 3 cups to unlock the last one failure is not an option! Harness the access points that the Wii U gives you and you’ll be fine.

Aside from the Grand Prixs you will probably spend most of your time in multiplayer mode just enjoying a bunch of racing games. You’ll likely want to move on to the newer ones at some point, but it’s also nice to just experience the game in its original form. There is also Time Trial mode, but there isn’t a whole lot to do there. I suppose if you really enjoy the levels a lot then that is a good way to play them and also to hone your skills.

Naturally there isn’t a whole lot of other things to say about the game. It’s a really good way to spend 4-5 dollars though. You really can’t go wrong with that price and while the MyNintendo Rewards can certainly be a little larger, they have gotten better than where they were. Since obtaining points is rather easy thanks to their apps, you are basically guaranteed a 50% off deal on any game from the list that you want. When you see a good game on the site just be prepared to snag it!

Overall, Super Mario Kart isn’t just a game, it’s a racing game! It’s a title that really changed the genre as we know it and is still regarded as one of the all time greats. While I tend to really enjoy racing games like F-Zero which have no items so it’s just you and your boost, these can be a lot of fun as well. Double Dash will always be the best Mario Kart but this one certainly keeps up the quality that you would expect from such a storied franchise. If you haven’t downloaded it yet then I recommend doing so.

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Mario Kart: Super Circuit Stats and Records

Stats time!

Grand Prix 50CC stats

Mushroom Cup Gold Trophy C Rank
Flower Cup Gold Trophy E Rank
Lightning Cup Gold Trophy A Rank
Star Cup Gold Trophy D Rank
Special Cup Gold Trophy C Rank

100CC Stats

Mushroom Cup Gold Trophy C Rank
Flower Cup –
Lightning Cup –
Star Cup –
Special Cup –

150CC Stats

Mushroom Cup Gold Trophy E Rank
Flower Cup –
Lightning Cup –
Star Cup –
Special Cup –

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario Kart: Super Circuit Review


It’s time to review the first of the Christmas games! I ended up obtaining 9, which was a pretty solid amount. For the first time in many years, there were more portable games than home console at 6-3. It’s good to go retro once in a while and this was one of them of course. I’ve always been a big fan of the Mario Kart franchise. While none of the other games will ever come remotely close to taking down Double Dash, the other titles still have a lot of heart. This GBA installment is a rather simple and small version, but it gets the job done. It’s fun for on the go or just to unwind and relax.

As always, the main emphasis will be on Grand Prix mode. You can also play Time Attacks, but most players will probably be going right to the tournaments. There are 4 standard tournaments for each of the 3 difficulty settings and then a 5th that you can unlock by completing the first four. With 4 stages in each cup, that comes down to 20 stages in the game. It’s a pretty decent amount and debatably it is better to have 20 unique stages than 50 color swapped ones. Some of the Wii racing games tried that, but it’s very obvious. Nintendo’s never stopped to such tricks. Each race is only around 2-3 minutes so they go by really fast. Of course, that also means that you’ll be breezing through the tournaments at a very rapid pace.

I completed one tournament on Christmas and then did the next 4 the day after. I also completed one tournament in the other two difficulty settings so I could get a feel for how different they were. The main difference is definitely the fact that your opponents will rarely ever use items on 50CC, but they will use them a lot in 150. Their adaptability also gets a lot better and their cars were already unnaturally fast so it’s tough to stay ahead of them. I imagine that it would be very difficult to come in first on the snow level or the sand one. A bunch of them would be really difficult come to think of it.

Nintendo did a good job on the difficulty with this one. It can also be a little “cheap” at times since you should all be at the same speed, but I guess it’d be hard to program the difficulty in otherwise. As good as the computers drive, getting hit by items would probably mess them up a bit. It doesn’t feel unreachable either though and would probably just take some extra tries. Since the stages are all very short, the replay value is high. Even if you lose, it’s not as if you lost a bunch of time right? I think they should have added some extra incentive to beating the tougher level tournaments though. As it is, you don’t unlock any stages or characters so why would you do it? I believe you get a new title screen or something which is fine…but it could be better. This means that the replay value here mostly just comes from the personal satisfaction of taking down all of the variations of the tournaments. I would mention the multiplayer mode, but a lot of people don’t have GBAs anymore so I don’t expect you’ll find a match. Furthermore, I’m playing this one on the DS myself so I couldn’t play it that way even if I did find someone. The tournaments are enough of an incentive to ensure that you’re not ripped off though. I can’t imagine paying 30 for this, but 5-10? That’s definitely not bad at all.

The gameplay is pretty smooth. Some of the turns can be a little tricky, but it’s the kind of game where you just have to learn when to turn. Once you play enough, you’ll be nailing every aspect of the stage. It is very skill based and with less items being thrown around, you barely feel the gimmicks at times. I know that I need to work on my turning to be a better Mario Kart player in this game. I feel like I lose a lot of speed because I just hit the brakes for every turn. It seems to be the most efficient way to drive, but I somehow just don’t think that this is the case. There’s got to be something that I’m missing. Being able to jump is another fun feature in the game although it’s not all that useful. My L button started to act up towards the end so I couldn’t use the items as well as I wanted to, but you can still get past that with solid driving.

The graphics hold up well for the GBA. The character designs are all fun and retro. It’s cool how they haven’t changed all that much over the years except for Bowser. I have to say that he looks quite different. Between the CD-I games, the Mario comics, and this title, it really goes to show how this style completely died out. The old design was fun, but I probably do prefer the new one. Both have their moments though. The soundtrack is great as always. The tunes are fun to listen to as you play and Nintendo is still at the top of the line when it comes to this. Most Game Boy Advance games did have a soundtrack, but a lot of them were either very limited or only had a few catchy songs. This is a bit of a bold generalization since we do have quite a few RPGs and other franchise titles with fans who are ready to tell me differently, but aside from Sonic Advance and the Pokemon games, what other GBA title has such a solid all around soundtrack? I may be forgetting something myself, but this game is certainly up there.

Overall, Mario Kart: Super Circuit is a solid game. It’s also cool to see some of these old stages for the first time in a while since they were present in Mario Kart Wii as part of the crossover appeal. I like to think that I kept my skills from those other titles which is why I was dominating the computers here for the most part. It’s clearly not as expansive or awesome as Double Dash, but this was a nice way to keep the series going. I’m now one step closer to being caught up with Mario Kart. I just need MK7 and MK8 and then I’m back in biz. It’ll be fun to play those as they’re a lot more modern so it’ll be a very large contrast. If you haven’t gotten this game yet, then it’s still not too late. You’ll have a blast, regardless of how long it’s been. Good gameplay doesn’t feel the same wear and tear that other mediums can get blasted with. Just look at Galaga or Pac-Man.

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Mario Kart DS Stats and Records

Mario Stats time!

Cup Stats

Mushroom Cup
50CC 40 Points. Star Rank

Flower Cup
50CC 40 Points Star Rank

Star Cup
50CC 40 Points Star Rank

Special Cup
50CC 40 Points Star Rank

Shell Cup
50CC 40 Points Star Rank

Banana Cup
50CC 40 Points Star Rank

Leaf Cup
50CC 36 Points B Rank

Lightning Cup
50CC 40 Points Star Rank

Missions

1-1 3 Star
1-2 1 Star
1-3 2 Star
1-4 2 Star
1-5 1 Star
1-6 2 Star
1-7 2 Star
1-8 1 Star
World 1 Boss A
2-1 A
2-2 3 Star
2-3 1 Star
2-4 2 Star
2-5 2 Star
2-6 B
2-7 1 Star
2-8 1 Star
World 2 Boss B
3-1 3 Star
3-2 2 Star
3-3 2 Star
3-4 2 Star
3-5 B
3-6 C
3-7 A
3-8 Star
World 3 Boss A
4-1 A
4-2 3 Star
4-3 B
4-4 C
4-5 1 Star
4-6 A
4-7 B
4-8 B
World 4 Boss Star
5-2 2 Star

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario Kart DS Review

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This is certainly a title that has been pretty high on my video game list for quite some time now. Mario Kart is just one of those franchises where I want to eventually own all of the games so I had to start somewhere. Now, I’m only missing Mario Kart Advance, Wii U, and 3DS. That’s not so bad, but it could be a while until I get the latest one since the price is going to be very high for a long time. This title does a good job of keeping the Mario Kart DS series near the top of the Mario franchise.

There are 8 cups to complete in this game and the style is similar to Mario Kart Wii. There are four cups filled with all new stages and the other 4 cups consist of old levels from the previous games in the series. I do think that this is a little lazy, but seeing as how most of the old games only had 16 levels anyway, I guess it’s still a fair trade off. It is certainly fun to see the old levels come back with updated graphics of course…not counting Double Dash though since it looks better than this game. Completing all 8 cups can be done pretty quickly, but the game has other features to keep you hooked to the screen for some extra hours.

There are many unlockables to be found in Mario Kart DS like extra characters and items. There’s even an alternate opening/ending screen for the game if you get golds on various tournaments and beat the cups on harder difficulties. These features certainly add to the intensity of the game and there is no ultra long cup to worry about so trying to finish these cups off on 150cc shouldn’t be much of a hassle. Finally, the game also has a mission mode, which is a pretty unique feature for the series. It’s pretty fun and I think they should keep it for future installments as well. The missions help you focus on driving skills like steering and drifting in a fun way. You also get to race against popular bosses and even face off against King Boo. A certain Legend of Zelda villain makes an appearance as well so the missions are pretty great. There are over 50 missions in the game and I ended up playing close to 40 of them before deciding that I should probably take my leave of the title. (The L button was also acting up and some of the missions can be pretty tough to complete without such a crucial button at the ready)

So, the actual game may be pretty short, but the replay value is certainly there. A long time ago the replay value would have been much greater, but the servers were naturally taken down so that gets rid of the Wi-Fi potential. The home console versions always have the option of just racing a friend, which definitely give them an advantage over a portable title. Naturally, the game is still worth it if you are just looking at content since it should certainly tide you over for a few days or maybe even a week depending on how often you play it.

I doubt that I really need to describe the gameplay, but I’ll give it a quick run through anyway. The object of the game is naturally to cross the finish line first, but you will have to get past the other 7 racers to do that. There are many items that you can obtain by going through item blocks and you can use them to get the other racers in trouble or just breeze by them. Anything goes here so be prepared to do a lot of fighting as you power through.

That being said, the second screen can almost be unfair against some of the items. One item has a squid pour ink all over your main screen so that you cannot see, but a new feature of the DS version is that you can look at the race from an aerial view on the bottom. Evidently, the developers forgot to think about this so the squid is now pointless as you can quickly shift views. The aerial view can actually be more efficient in some ways since you can see everything from that point of view so you can turn accordingly. It’s a very useful feature, but I think the ink should affect it as well when someone uses that item. I suppose that it’s just a minor slip up.

The graphics are pretty good for the DS. There are few games on the console that look better than this one and Nintendo has always done a good job of working on the graphics for their sport titles. It’s fun to see how the older stages look on the portable screen and you can clearly tell what is happening at all times. The character models are never too blurry for you to comprehend what is happening and they have held up well against the test of time.

The soundtrack is also one of the better ones that you will see on the console. A lot of the themes are pretty nostalgic and the new ones are pretty good as well. They are suitable for the races and there isn’t really a “bad” theme. They’re all pretty peaceful and soothing, which help you to fight off the long roads when there are no other racers in sight. It’s easy to listen too many times, which is good since you will likely be playing the stages several times to try and unlock everything.

How does this game stack up to the other Mario Kart titles? Well, it naturally loses to Mario Kart Double Dash and Wii. I’m guessing that it likely loses to Mario Kart Wii U and 7 as well so it’s best chance is against the old, old Mario Kart games and the Advance version. It should beat all of those in terms of gameplay, although the older ones for the Super Nintendo and 64 would probably win overall thanks to the multiplayer aspect. That’s not a knock on Mario Kart DS of course, but it’s a racing game and that genre always does best on the home console front since you have people to play it with. Mario Kart Double Dash doesn’t keep a record of your play time on it, but I’m confident that it is my most played game by a long shot with 999+ hours. I played it just about every day for a few years and I still end up playing it now and again. It’s simply the ultimate Mario Kart title, but the DS version is pretty fun as well.

Overall, Mario Kart DS is a very strong racing title and it could be one of the best portable ones that I have played. The controls are sound and the graphics hold up pretty well. The soundtrack makes the stages pretty fun to play since you don’t have to worry about getting bored of hearing the same tracks over and over again. The other portable racing games that I’ve played would probably be games like Sonic Rivals and F Zero. I think this game is probably better than those if we look at them for pure gameplay, but Sonic Rivals’ story mode and longer replay value would ultimately give it the edge. I look forward to seeing how fun Mario Kart 7 is since I’ve only heard good things about that title. I know that Mario Kart DS is old and that just about everyone has already played it, but if you don’t own it yet…I highly recommend checking it out. The online functions are gone, but you can still enjoy some good races. If nothing else, Mario Kart is always a whole lot of fun and it’s the kind of game that you will never get bored of…like Smash Bros!

Overall 7/10