Mario Kart DS (Japanese: マリオカートDS Hepburn: Mario Kāto Dī Esu) is a go-kart racing game developed and published by Nintendo. It was released for the Nintendo DS handheld game console on November 14, 2005 in North America, on November 17, 2005 in Australia, on November 25, 2005 in Europe, on December 8, 2005 in Japan, and on April 5, 2007 in South Korea. The game is the fifth installment in the Mario Kart series of video games, and the first to be playable via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection online service; the service has since been terminated, along with other games playable via the service. Like other games in the series, Mario Kart DSfeatures characters from the Mario series, and pits them against each other as they race in karts on tracks based on locations in the Mario series.
The game was very well received, receiving an aggregated score of 91% from Metacritic. Praise focused on the game’s graphics and gameplay, while criticism targeted its repetitive single-player mode. Mario Kart DS received several awards, including Editors’ Choice Awards from GameSpot and IGN, G-Phoria’s Best Handheld Game award, and IGN’s Best Racing/Driving Game. Mario Kart DS was the best-selling game in its first month of release, and also held that position the following month. Overall, Mario Kart DS is the third best-selling game for the Nintendo DS as of March 2016, with 23.60 million units sold worldwide.
See also: Gameplay of the Mario Kart series
Mario racing on Figure-8 Circuit. Item boxes are in front of him, and the bottom screen shows a bird’s-eye view of the immediate vicinity.
Mario Kart DS is a racing game in which the player races in a kart against other racers as one of eight characters, each with three karts to choose from. While racing or battling, the Nintendo DS’s top screen offers a third-person perspective of the player’s kart, while the bottom touchscreen shows the race’s current standings, items carried by each racer, and a map of the course. The bottom screen can be toggled to show either an overview of the entire course, or a bird’s-eye view of the player’s kart and the immediate vicinity, including nearby racers, course hazards, item boxes, and incoming attacks. Each course features item boxes that the player can drive through to receive a randomly selected item, which the player can use to gain an advantage over other racers. Some items allow the player to attack other racers to slow them down, while other items can be used to speed up the player’s own kart to pass other racers more easily.
The game features five single-player game modes: Grand Prix, Time Trial, Versus, Battle, and Mission. The Grand Prix and Vs modes require that the player choose an engine class from among 50 cc, 100 cc, and 150 cc. The classes serve as difficulty levels—the higher the engine class, the faster all karts go. In addition, a Mirror mode can be unlocked, in which karts use 150 cc engines and tracks are horizontally reversed (including signs and lettering present in the original orientation).
In Grand Prix mode, the player competes against seven computer-controlled racers in a series of predetermined courses. Unlike previous Mario Kart games, which featured four cups, Mario Kart DS features eight cups: Mushroom, Flower, Star, Special, Shell, Banana, Leaf and Lightning, with the latter 4 cups consisting entirely of tracks drawn from previous entries in the Mario Kart series. Each cup has four tracks, for a total of 32. When a cup is completed, a rating will be given based on the times and positions, ranging from E to A, then to 1, 2 or 3 stars. Like in Double Dash, players receive points for each finishing position.
In Time Trial mode, the player must finish a course as quickly as possible by using 1, 2 or 3 mushrooms (depending on which kart is used). The fastest time is then saved as a ghost, a copy of the player’s performance, which the player can race against later.
In V.S. mode, the player races on a track of their choosing either against computer-controlled opponents or in local multiplayer. The mode can be played either individually or in teams, which separates racers into a blue team and a red team; in multiplayer, players can control which team they are placed on. In addition, the number of races played and scoring system can also be modified.
Battle mode features two game modes, Balloon Battle and Shine Runners, both which also allow the player to play either individually or in teams.
In Balloon Battle, the player must pop the balloons of the opposing players by attacking them, or they can steal balloons by boosting into other karts. Each participant starts the battle with 1 balloon. These can be re-inflated up to 4 times. In multiplayer, if a human player loses all of his/her balloons, he/she is out of the game and turns into a ghost. As a ghost, a player can only place item boxes. If the battle is played in single player, then the match ends and the results are announced when all of the human player’s balloons are popped.
In Shine Runners, the player must collect Shine Sprites (an object from Super Mario Sunshine). The player can attack other racers to take away a Shine Sprite from them, and racers with the fewest Shine Sprites are eliminated from the game over time. In single player, if the human player is eliminated from the round, the game ends and the results are randomized