Mario Kart 7

Common Sense Media says

A few innovations, but mostly the same (really fun) racer.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.

Not applicable

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. 

Privacy & safety

Minor Privacy concerns. Multiplayer races (up to 8 people) are a big part of Mario Kart 7. You can play locally against friends who have a 3DS, or you can play online via WiFi. Online matches can be against registered friends or against random opponents. Random players should see no more than your screen name, though. And there's no chatting involved.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

MARIO KART 7, like all the Mario Kart games before it, pits the famous plumber brothers against their video game friends and enemies in a series of races through a cartoony fantasy world. There are new elements here, such as gliders to help you fly farther after a jump and the ability to drive underwater (and 3D graphics, of course). And a number of new courses as well. But this is very much the same Mario Kart experience players have come to expect.

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about competitive gaming. How can you play to win against friends and family members (or even strangers) and still show good sportsmanship? Can you still be sportsmanlike in a game that allows you to use sneaky weapons to get ahead?

  • They can also talk about how to set screen time limits. Why is it important to not spend too much time playing video games.

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
Available online?Not available online
Release date:December 4, 2011
ESRB rating:E for Comic Mischief (Nintendo 3DS)

This review of Mario Kart 7 was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byrhonda96 February 4, 2012

a good game!

i have a 11 year old girl and she loves the game it has fantasy weapons like bombs, (the bombs are not graphic at all) and shells etc. it's fun though obviously not meant to educate kids
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much violence
Kid, 10 years old January 24, 2012


Teen, 14 years old Written byUltimateRacer2 July 4, 2012

Best Mario Kart Game Ever!

Fun Game!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Safety and privacy concerns


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