Mario Kart DS is the fifth instalment in the popular racing game series and incorporates everything that has made all four of its predecessors absolute classics, plus a range of all new tracks and features. It was also the first game ever to make use of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service, allowing players to race anyone in the world at any time, absolutely free.
Players can challenge friends by swapping special codes. When entered, this code adds the player to a special friends list, providing easy access for future multiplayer games. Alternatively, players can simply queue for a race against up to three random players. The Nintendo servers take care of matchmaking, and work to ensure that players are pitted against others of similar skill levels.
The basic gameplay remains the same as ever, although this is most certainly a good thing. Players collect weapons and power ups as they go, using them to either boost their own kart or to stop others from getting too far in front. The only major change involves utilising both screens on the DS and it is implemented to great effect. Players get a separate map to keep track of their opponents’
movements, while also having a full screen on which to concentrate on their own racing action.
With new and old features backed by a range of classic courses and DS exclusives, Mario Kart DS captures the magic of the series while providing a new level of multiplayer handheld gaming.