The improvements in Mario Kart are similar to existing sequels. 16 new courses with 16 courses from previous installments. There is a very nice graphical overhaul, colors are crisp and there is slightly more detail in the newer courses.
Biggest issue I have with the game is the AI/Multiplayer where blue shells still wreck havoc. The AI will relentlessly nail you with a blue shell or lighting bolt on the final lap. In MP matches most people farm an item and hang in the back until it's time to move in for first place on the last lap. It gets frustrating because there's no point in trying to take the lead as the item system punishes you for it.
There isn't much use of the 3D effect in the game, nothing really pops out at you outside of the win screen. The few new items they introduced are lackluster at best. The game really shines with the new courses and kart customization. If you are a fan of Mario Kart this is a must buy, if you never played Mario Kart before this is easily the best arcade racer you can buy.
3D graphics are so so but the gameplay is a blast and it has online world wide multiplayer via wifi. It's a great for casual gameplay which is what a 3DS is. This is one of those games worth owning for the online play. Only downside is the online play takes too long to start. You even have to watch someone else play until it's your turn.
I rented and played for a couple days. The graphics were good though I don't care about graphics. I didn't bother with the stupid 3D effect. The gameplay is okay. It's not bad besides a few problems. Errors in connections sometimes and the steering can be touchy. Plenty of times the stupid Circle Pad analog stick got stuck and I would drive off the edge even though I clearly moved it in attempt to turn. I wish I could use the dpad to turn and drive. Then there's the motion control when in 1st person view, you'll never want to use that EVER because it just sucks. Honestly why did they even put it in? There are a lot of maps / race tracks but some of them are from previous versions of Mario Kart. Which is okay and there fun to go back and race on now and then. The new maps and old maps have new features like air and under sea stuff which was neat but I don't think the content is there as a whole. I played for 3 nights with my friend and we got bored fast. Played all the maps. Battles weren't fun but that's because you cant choose the coin collecting one vs popping balloons, it's just random and if your like me and hate the coin one you'll have to play it in order to play battle. There's nothing wrong with the game but people need to stop saying it's the best. I wasn't that impressed. If this is the best then Nintendo 3DS is in trouble.
Now... Are there any DS/3DS games out there that have good multiplayer? I want something with substance, with content! I bought this handheld for Pokemon Black cuz I never had a DS and the last Pokemon I played was Red. While I am enjoying Black I need more than 1 game to justify the purchase. It looks like it's the only good game on the whole darn system! Seriously there are no good games and even fewer that feature WiFi Multiplayer! When are they making a Final Fantasy Tactics for 3DS? Will it have WiFi battles? Because A2 for the DS did not. I'm starting to wish I didn't waste $175 on this and just bought a used DS instead...