Gaming: Mario Kart 7 for 3DS

Since Mario Kart 8 is releasing this summer, I thought I’d do a review on Mario Kart 7 for 3DS. I originally started playing Mario Kart on the Wii many years ago. When my husband and I were dating and living on opposite ends of the country, we would arrange times to play Mario Kart against each other online. It was just a lot of fun and the game brings back all these good memories. When I found out they made Mario Kart for 3DS I decided to get it because it had been quite some time since I had played that game, and we never got a Wii when we moved in together.

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I could have reviewed this game months ago, but I wanted to really get into it and try out all the features before giving a final verdict on the game. This game has 8 different cups you can race for in easy (50cc), medium (100cc), and hard (150cc) difficulties. You can also play multiplayer with another person in the room, or online. There are also time trials where you can work to beat your own score, and two different “mini games” where you either try to pop balloons on other cars or collect the most coins during the given time period.

The one thing I really liked about this Mario Kart was how half the cups were actually tracks from previous versions of Mario Kart. Though the new tracks are always interesting to drive, it was lots of fun getting to play tracks that were on the Wii, SNES, etc. versions. I also found this Mario Kart had great multiplayer and worked well when I was playing online or with a friend in the room. There was no noticeable lag or freezing during the game which really made the multiplayer enjoyable. However, I found the controls a bit annoying at first. I was very used to using the steering wheel for the Wii game so controlling the car with the circle pad took some practice. I also don’t really like how you have to hold down the ‘A’ button the entire time for acceleration. Though it makes sense to use the ‘A’ button for acceleration, I find my hand gets sore/tired really quickly from having my thumb jammed down on the button the entire time. Other than the controls, which take some getting used to, this is a pretty good Mario Kart for on-the-go (However, I still slightly prefer the Wii version just because of the ease of the controls).

Gaming: Jet Set Radio Future

Now as you may have figured out, I tend to sway towards handheld gaming consoles. This is partially because they’re easy to carry around, and partially because I never had the larger consoles when I was younger. However, this all changed the Christmas my parents got my sister and I an Xbox. Since I had more of a preference for Nintendo games, it was hard for me to initially find games that I would enjoy. I don’t really like first-person shooter games, and I was not interested in any of the sports games that were out. A few years after we had gotten the Xbox I realized that there were actually two games that came on the sample disk with the Xbox. And thus my love for Jet Set Radio Future began.

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Jet Set Radio Future is a game that takes place in different locations in Japan. You are in a “gang” that travels on their rollerblades and spray paints other areas that are ruled by different gangs. You have to defeat this insane police captain and his goons in the different levels, and you face-off against other gangs by racing, playing capture the flag, or other games of that sort.

I don’t know what it is about this game, but it’s addictively fun. There are so many challenges to complete and areas to explore, it’s hard to get bored with this game. I’ve played through the game once, and it’s still fun to go back and play again. It’s very challenging to unlock some of the characters, so I’m still working on that. This game also has a great separate multiplayer mode. It’s separate from the story mode, but there are many games you can play. You can play against each other, or team up against the computer characters. Though this game can be hard to get your hands on, I highly suggest giving it a whirl. I play it on my Xbox 360 when I have time, and it doesn’t get old.

Gaming: Super Mario 3D Land

I remember playing my first Mario game back in the 90’s. I spent so much time trying to beat Super Mario Bros. Deluxe on my Gameboy Color. I haven’t bought a Super Mario game for a handheld console since, until Super Mario 3D Land.

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Super Mario 3D Land is a game where you get to explore and walk through the different levels. Your goal in this game is to get to the flagpole before time runs out. Of course you have to avoid being hurt by enemies, stepping on spikes, lava, or just falling into the abyss. You can also try to find the three stars hidden in each level. This game does not restrict you to a certain path, but lets you walk freely through the world.

I had never played a Mario game that allowed you to wander through the levels. I am very used to the scroll-screen play where you just jump over things and attack enemies as you go. It was an interesting experience to not have a designated route to take. The game itself I found to be pretty easy, but finding the stars hidden in the levels made the game more interesting. The one downside (in my opinion) is the game will give you a flying, invincible Mario if you lose a life a few times in a row. While this might be nice for younger children, it kind of took some of the challenge away. All in all Super Mario 3D Land was a pretty good game. I enjoyed playing it, but it wasn’t very challenging with the “assists” that the game gives you, and could easily be completed in a few hours (if you aren’t looking for the hidden stars).

Gaming: Pokemon X

The Pokemon games are very near and dear to my heart. They bring me back to my childhood when everything was just a lot simpler. When I was about 7 or 8 my parents had finally gave in to my ever present protests to get a gaming console. For Christmas that year I got a Gameboy Color and Pokemon Yellow. I played that game for years, and still have that game packed away somewhere with my Gameboy.

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Ever since I got that first Pokemon game I was hooked. I’ve played a few of the other games in the series, Pearl and Heart Gold, but none of them ever compared to the Yellow version that I first started with…until now. When I first started up Pokemon X, I was honestly a bit unsure of the game. There were a lot of new features that I hadn’t had in any of my previous games, and the controls on the 3DS took a bit of getting used to. I honestly spent about half an hour just trying to figure out what everything did. However, when I finally started playing it my opinions changed. This game is honestly everything I wished Pokemon would be. I love how the fight sequences are more interactive and how the whole world is just a lot more realistic (for a video game).

I also was able to battle with one of my friends on Friday. The options seemed a lot more straightforward than in some of the previous games I battled other people in. There was no lag in the battle for either handheld console and it was a great seamless experience. If you are a Pokemon fan I suggest checking out either X or Y. Though I am not a fan of some of the newer Pokemon, they still have all the old classics to capture.