Mario Kart is back and on 3DS!  Nintendo teased this title at E3 2010, but the Big N finally had the anticipated kart racer playable at E3 2011.

Nintendo has always tried to make each Mario Kart game unique in its own way and this title is no different.  The big new feature of this game is that there will be ways to customize your kart before you pick it.  There were three columns of things to choose, Kart, Tires, and what I am going to call Other.

The “Other” customization column for the kart included a hang glider.  This was the only choice in this customization column in the demo and the game forced you to pick it, but had a question mark hinting at other options in the future.  The hang glider would come into effect upon getting air off a jump or just by going off a big cliff.  This could add a lot of strategy to the game, but I’ll go more into that later.

The characters in the demo were Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Bowser, Toad, and Yoshi.  I picked my Mario Kart favorite, Toad!

The Mario Kart 3DS demo included three tracks to race on that lasted two laps each.  I asked the people representing Nintendo if this version of Mario Kart would only have two laps each or if it was just shortened for the demo, but nobody knew.

Coins are also back in this version of Mario Kart.  I asked if collecting coins, which are scattered throughout the track, would increase the speed of your kart, but again Nintendo didn’t know, but I think it’s a safe bet to assume they will.

As stated before having a hang glider attachment to the kart could add some strategy to the game.  There were some areas where using a hang glider would give access to coins in the air that are unreachable any other way.  There was also an area where those with a hang glider could fly over a lake instead of driving along the bottom.  I found flying over this lake to be faster, but I could be wrong.  It was more fun anyhow.  The point is, having these optional attachments could change the way each track is played and I can’t wait to see what some of the others are.

One other fact to mention is that snaking is gone.  This tactic, popular in Mario Kart for the original Nintendo DS, was hated by many that had a hard time pulling it off.  The Power Slide in Mario Kart 3DS works very much like in Mario Kart Wii.  Sliding into the turn will automatically get the boost to charge up, and holding the direction into the turn will increase the speed in which it becomes available to use.  I was also able to get a stronger second level boost from holding a turn for a longer time.

As far as items go in this new Mario Kart, I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.  However I didn’t see even one Blue Shell.  I know many people thought there were too many Blue Shells being handed out in Mario Kart Wii so this MAY be a welcome change if it is gone for good or extremely limited in nature in the final game.

Overall Mario Kart 3DS is the fun game you know and love and it’s sure to be a title that will sell millions of units.  I can’t wait for it to come out later this year and maybe then I’ll race some of you over WiFi, which the final game will support!

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