A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The main message behind the game is "do anything to win." You regularly need to zap your opponents from behind in order to take the lead. It's definitely an aggressive driving game (albeit a very cartoony one).
Positive Role Models
There's nothing inherently wrong with these characters, but there's not much that stands out as particularly positive traits either. They're all just drivers in a race, each hoping to win. How courteous or aggressive they are during a race depends entirely on the player.
Ease of Play
Play control is pretty smooth and easy, but the AI opponents can be super tough to beat, especially on higher levels.
Violence & Scariness
You can use a number of fantasy weapons against your opponents, like flying turtle shells, slippery banana peels, shrink rays, and the like. Getting hit by one of these weapons generally sends a kart flipping through the air. No one stays down, though, since the karts just start up again after a pause.
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Products & Purchases
This game is part of Nintendo's popular and long-running Mario Kart series of games, and features a large cast of beloved characters kids will recognize from various games outside the franchise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mario Kart 7 is the latest installment in Nintendo's long-running racing series. The action is all very cartoony, but be aware that magical weapons (along the likes of turtle shells, banana peels, and ink blots) can be used against opponents. No one ever appears to get hurt in the game. There is online play, and the game will set you up with random opponents if you want, but those people should never see more than a screen name and there is no online chat. Also remember that Nintendo suggests children under the age of 7 do not play the game in 3D, as the effects can damage developing vision.
Is It Any Good?
Mario Kart 7 is just as fun, fast-paced, creative, and generally enjoyable as all of its predecessors. But should it have been better? After a series has been around for this long, it could probably benefit from a real shake-up. That's not what you get here. Make no mistake, this is a very good game. The gliding and underwater driving are great additions. And it's nice that the Nintendo server will set you up with opponents who are around the same skill level as you. But if you've played previous Mario Kart games, you've already got the basic drift.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.