Mario Kart DS

Mario Kart DS is a racing game set in the Mario universe. It was developed by Nintendo and was released on November 14, 2005.

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: November 14, 2005
Platforms: DS
JustRPG Score:
+Appealing Characters.
+Easy to learn controls.
+Great multiplayer.
+Good soundtrack.
-No story.
-Gets old after a while.


Mario Kart DS Overview

Mario Kart DS is a racing game for the Nintendo DS set in the Mario universe. Players can race as their favorite Mario characters such as Yoshi, Bowser, Peach, and many more. The game offers a Grand Prix mode, a challenge mode, time trials, and local multiplayer. The game also supports download play which makes this a great game to own for the Nintendo DS.

Mario Kart DS Screenshots

Mario Kart DS Featured Video

Full Review

Mario Kart DS Review


Mario Kart DS is a very well-produced title, as is expected from first-party titles from Nintendo.Mario Kart DS, the 5th installment in this 10-year-old series, is probably the best of them all. Incredibly tight controls, amazing 3D engine, and wireless multiplayer add up to create an unforgettable Mario Kart experience.


As in every first party Nintendo game, the production values are very high. There are 5 modes in the single-player game: Grand Prix, Time Attack, VS, Battle, and Missions. As usual, there are 3 classes in the Grand Prix mode (50cc, 100cc, and 150cc). The higher the class, the higher the challenge and speed are. The time attack mode is self explanatory: choose your favorite character and race to have the fastest time in any of the tracks (as long as they were unlocked in the single-player mode). VS and Battle in the solo mode can be played with 7 CPU-controlled characters in unlocked tracks, with some other options, such as teams and limiting rules (victories, races, etc.). “Missions” is a new game mode that is very fun, and a welcomed addition. They are pre-arranged scenarios, with a specific character, track, and goal in each of the missions. Every mission level is composed of 8 missions and a boss fight, going up to level 6, and a final mission level if you achieve high rankings.


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Probably one of the most impressive features of the game is its 3D engine. Fast, locked in 60 frames per second, great drawing distance, and full of details, it’s very satisfying to see this game running. Even though the characters have low poly count and some parts of the background and karts are not great looking, the result is still fantastic overall. During gameplay, the top screen displays the 3D graphics and some HUD objects, such as current item, current and total laps, and current position. The touch screen displays a detailed close-up, top view of the track, characters, items, and obstacles. This proves to be a major part of the gameplay strategy, as it also displays the other character’s items and projectiles coming in your direction. There are no real innovative aspects in interacting with the touch screen, since the only thing it does is switch to an overall map view of the track, although all the menu selections can be done through it.


The game controls are very simple and intuitive, as in any other Mario Kart game. The size-specific characteristics are back, and they are easy to notice. Lightweights have great acceleration and low top speed, with heavyweights on the other extreme, with low acceleration and high top speed, among other differences in handling, drift, off-road, etc. A particularly important aspect of the driving technique is the drifting, or power-sliding around turns. Done correctly, it can save many seconds and turn the table in races, especially with the mini-turbos it gives you. Mario Kart DS also utilizes the drafting technique, introduced in the Gamecube version. It is very simple in theory: just drive behind a character for a few seconds and you will get a respectable boost in speed.


Mario Kart DS sounds great, especially for a handheld game. The stereo effects are vivid and sharp, and the music, sound effects, and voices all sound crisp and clear through the DS speakers. The music is the traditional Nintendo style, peppy and happy, with some classic tunes taken from previous Mario Kart games and remixed for this version.


Probably the most prominent new feature in this game is that it is the very first Mario Kart game to go online, via the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection. Although the system is very user-friendly and free, it is also a bit restrictive. When online, there are a few match conditions to choose from: ‘Friends’ will have you race only against the friends registered in your friends roster or people in your friends’ friends roster. ‘Rivals’ will match you up against players with similar racing skills. Also, the player can choose to race against regional (same country) or worldwide players. Another restriction is when it comes to communicating with other players, since it doesn’t have any chat lines or in-game messaging available.

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In conclusion, even though there are some flaws in the design for this particular game, the results are still nothing short of spectacular and Mario Kart DS is one of the year’s best on the system. The gameplay is rock solid, the replay value is very high, and graphics and sound are very sharp and detailed. Overall, the good qualities definitely overcome any flaws that could be found and make Mario Kart DS a must-own title on the Nintendo DS this winter.


Final Grade: 92%


Mario Kart DS Screenshots


Mario Kart DS Videos

Mario Kart DS Trailer

Guides / Links

Mario Kart DS Guides / Links

Mario Kart DS Wikipedia Entry