Mario Kart DS

mario kart ds box art review
8.0 Overall Score
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Controls: 8/10

Solid racing game

Short but lots of replay

Game Info

Game Name:   Mario Kart DS

Developer(s):   Nintendo EAD Group No. 1

Publisher(s): Game Publisher

Platform(s): Game Platform

Genre(s): Game Genre

Release Date(s): Release Dates

ESRB Rating: Game Rating

mario kart ds luigi cheap cheep beach gameplay screenshot

Luigi will have his day

Mario and his friends are hitting the track again…in a big way!  Rev up your engines and hit the oval, figure eight, or whatever track you can find.  The racing is fast and fierce and there can be only one winner!  Can you do it?

Mario Kart DS (マリオカートDS or Mario Kāto Dī Esu) is a kart racing game released for the Nintendo DS.  The game is the fifth entry in the Mario Kart series and followed Mario Kart:  Double Dash in 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube.  The game featured Wi-Fi multiplayer racing and was later offered as a download on the Nintendo store.

Super Mario Kart for the Super NES was one of my all-time favorite SNES games.  I feel I had memorized most of the courses and could win at any racing class…I did not however continue to always follow the series.  I did get Mario Kart:  Double Dash for the GameCube and was rather disappointed in the game’s style and courses.  Mario Kart DS makes up for the weaknesses in Double Dash.

mario kart ds dual screens wario gameplay screenshot

The joy of the DS view

The compact Nintendo DS is great for the Mario Kart series.  It is much easier to keep track of the track with the duel screens and events going on around the track, and you do not lose anything by losing the size of a big screen TV.  The game features eight courses each with race tracks.  The game remasters four cups from previous Mario Kart games but the new “old” courses fun remixes (this was the first time the series did this).  The game features courses from Super Mario Kart (Mario Circuit 1, Donut Plains 1, Koopa Beach 2, and Choco Island 2), Mario Kart 64 (Moo Moo Farm, Frappe Snowland, Choco Mountain, Banshee Boardwalk, and the Block Fort Battle Course), Mario Kart Super Circuit (Peach Circuit, Bowser Castle 2, Luici Circuit, and Sky Garden), and Mario Kart: Double Dash (Luigi Circuit, Baby Park, Mushroom Bridge, Yoshi Circuit, and the Pipe Plaza Battle Course).

Like most Super Mario Kart games, the game features a number of drivers and each have set skills.  The games open drivers include Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Yoshi, Bowser, Donkey Kong, and Wario with unlockable drivers Daisy, Dry Bones (new), Waluigi, and R.O.B. (new).  Shy Guy was offered as a download.  The multiple players and the multiplayer mode blend nicely for a lot of replay.

mario kart ds challenge missions bowser screenshot

Plenty of Missions…Plenty of Time

The game also features a mission mode which helps you build your driving skills by offering graded challenges (including bosses).  A lot of the missions feel a bit redundant, but it does provide a different dimension to the game and more replay…though I sometimes wish that you just got even more tracks or courses instead of missions.

Mario Kart DS continues a great format on a system that is almost built for the game.  The game is simple and can be completed in a day (even all eight course), but it will take much longer to master and play the game.  The look and feel of Mario Kart DS is a big plus for the series that needs to keep morphing as the series progresses and shows that it is possible for Mario Kart to stay relevant and new while sticking to the old format.  Mario Kart DS was followed by Mario Kart Wii in 2008.

Related Links:

Super Mario Kart

Mario Kart Wii

Mario Kart 7

Mario Kart 8

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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