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Mario Kart DS review on the Wii U if you don't mind the lack of multiplayer this game is still worth checking out.

Updated on June 4, 2017

my youtube review

the Mario kart title screen.

Note all video in this hub is captures of my game using a capture card. All photos are from the video some done with Photoshop to add in extra text.

When the Wii U virtual console added in the DS line up one of the first games they added in was Mario Kart DS. Wanting to do some lets plays for my you tube channel and I bought after doing some I decided lets plays weren’t my thing and gave up on them. I decided that I had folder filled with Mario Kart footage I should finish it and do a critic take on them.

There is no story in Mario Kart though you take control of characters from the Mario universe and race them around tracks either in time trial or in grand prix mode to get the best times and scores. What sets Mario Kart apart though is you get items to screw with your opponents. And the courses are all really wacky and goofy based on the Mario Universe. The game series has its ups and down and Mario Kart DS is mostly ups, well mostly.

Ok so what’s the good news on this game well it greatly improved upon the GBA version of Mario Kart which in my opinion the worst ever. Here the controls are solid, the graphics have aged decently, heck they even look somewhat good blown up on the TV. Not high definition or anything but far from being an eye sore or looking really pixelated unlike some other games. And the tracks that they made are new are some of the most memorable tracks ever. Isle Delfino, the clock, and the pinball tracks are some of my favorite tracks and in this case despite some decent upgrades in other Mario Kart games there the best here on this version. And starting with this game we got the retro cups, 4 tracks from each of the 4 Mario games got slight upgrades (or in some cases downgrades) I love the way they treated the SNES and GBA tracks in this they look really good for an old Nintendo DS game.

Isle delfino is one of my favorite tracks.

I like the idea of racing thorough a small town on go karts.
I like the idea of racing thorough a small town on go karts.

Also all the items are here, the ghost is still here to screw with your opponents, the red shell still use to track enemy’s, and a few other wacky items have been added that have become main stays like the bullet. (Which I have no footage of me using and I will explain later) and there all fun to use.

Another good thing I like is that the character’s do have some easy to understand customization options. Each starts with 2 go karts but can unlock more has you progress through the harder cups and difficulty challenges. And there are some unlockable characters like Daisy.

nothing sucks more then a plumber riding a poltergust.

way to op
way to op

So what is bad about this game well… there is nothing sucks like racing a plumber driving a poultergust. The poltergust and its stats is way to OP when the online was working most people would pick Luigi driving this just because of the stats. The only bad stat it has is its item stat. What does this mean well the items always work like this if you’re in front you get crappy items or defensive items because you’re in front and don’t need much help. 8th place gets you invincibility, lighting bolts, and that bullet I told you about which lets you shoot several places ahead basically. The higher the item stat is the easier it is to get those rare and useful items without having to be the last one in the pack. Being dead last unless you’re really sucking you’re not going to get much better than the shell power ups using this. But it doesn’t matter because the rest of the stats are just so OP.

using the bullet bill option has Daisy
using the bullet bill option has Daisy

Also although I am not very good at it, doing drift boosts is easy in the game. So easy people figured out how to drift on straight lanes and keep constantly boosting, it was called snaking and it was taken out in later entries because it just destroyed the online play


The game doesn’t look all that bad to be despite being over a decade old. Don’t get me wrong it doesn’t have the shiny roundness that the HD Mario Kart 8 has but it does look better then the N64 one does on the big screen and that’s an accomplishment in itself. Even blown on the TV screen this game looks pretty decent and doesn’t look like an eye sore.


Some of the same Mario voice clips that we have become use to since Mario started having voices 20 years ago. The music is also top notch and definitely enjoyable to listen too.

Wii U version

This is the best looking DS game I have purchased for the Wii U virtual console. And it is also the one that actually fits and can play on the Wii U comfortably. New Super Mario Bros looks ugly has hell, Yoshi’s Island is beautiful but just dosen’t work very well and I’ll explain more about that when I get to my review on it pretty soon. Here you have two really good options the first my favorite is just let the top screen be the TV screen, the game pad does feature a map and radar for items but I never had much use for it. But if you do like it well you can now put them both screen side by side for easy convince. I don’t like that it’s to the side and by screen gets shrunk so much but people who do like that 2nd screen feature can make easy use of it without losing to much of the screen.

Final Recommendation.

For the Nintendo DS version if you have friends that still own DS and want to play I give Mario Kart DS a 4.5 out of 5. The multiplayer was a lot of fun and the single player is still solid. The Wii U version drops that down to a solid 4 it’s still a fun single player game had a discounted price but there’s a lot of stuff removed from this to get it on to the virtual console and it shows. Still I recommend picking this one up if you like some good Mario Kart single player, and it’s waaaaay better than that GBA mess.


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