Mario Kart DS is the first DS installment of Mario Kart for the Nintendo DS. It is the fifth installment in the Mario Kart game series. It was the first Mario Kart game to use an online play feature. It was released in November 2005 in the United States, Europe, and Australia. In Japan, it was released in December 8, 2005.
The game itself has a prototype which is the kiosk demo and the beta version of the game.
As in previous games, the player can participate in a Grand Prix, each containing four tracks in which points are gained for the player's position at the end of the race. The player must come within the top three players at the end of the Grand Prix to win a trophy.
There are thirty-two tracks in Mario Kart DS. There are four sets of 'new' tracks, along with four sets of tracks which have appeared in previous titles in the Mario Kart series. Each set contains four tracks, and can be played entirely in Grand Prix mode.
The game supports up to four players in multiplayer modes including Versus and Battle modes, as in Mario Kart Wii. Players can play against each other or in a team in both modes. It isn't possible to unlock trophies or any other awards in multiplayer mode.
The game also includes DS Download Play. This mode lets the person with the cartridge in his/her system compete with someone else not having the cartridge in their system. The person not having the cartridge also gets to play as Shy Guy with the color choice picked for that player.
The controls are not much different in this game than in other Mario Kart games.
When coming to curves, power sliding is a way of making it through a curve quicker. The player must push the R button to drift so the kart may spark. The player must push the R button and the opposing direction the kart is going in. This allows the player to gain blue sparks coming from the kart. Holding a little longer results the blue sparks to turn orange so that the player can gain a speed boost.
In the previous Mario Kart games in the series, the player has to press the A button immediately before the race in order to receive a boost. Though, this game has it different. When the number three or two appears on-screen, the player must hold the A button to go. Though, the first having to need the A button released at the number one to gain the boost. Then, a speed boost is given to the player. If not released or done too early, a cloud of smoke comes out of the back of the player's kart, thus a delay in starting the race.
When the player finds his/herself behind someone else, he/she can use a slipstream. As a kart goes forward, it breaks through the air that's usually stationary, and it relocates to the side of the kart, allowing the kart through. In the end, this action causes a slipstream, a V-shaped section where the air has already moved away. At the point of the V is the kart, and the section behind the kart is just where the air has moved.
There are things in the top and bottom screens that are displayed to show what goes on in the game and some additional extras.
Mario Kart DS has thirteen playable characters appearing in the game itself, one being an exclusive character to DS Download Play, making only twelve playable in general.
DS Download Play-exclusive
As aforementioned, there are thirty-two tracks appearing in the game itself. Sixteen being Retro races from previous games in the Mario Kart series and sixteen others being new to the game itself. In Retro races, it goes from oldest retro course to newest retro course. Meaning to go from Super Mario Kart to Mario Kart 64 to Mario Kart: Super Circuit to Mario Kart: Double Dash!!.
This game is the first and so far only game where there are mission included (not to be confused with the Mario Kart Wii competitions). Missions mainly have the player having to complete a task within the time limit. This includes collecting coins, driving through gates, destroying Item Boxes, etc. There is also a boss stage at the end of each mission set. In each level, there is eight missions total along with a boss stage with a boss returning from Super Mario 64 DS. By getting at least a star ranking on all the missions allows Mission 7 levels to be unlocked.
Title screens and screenshots
Mario Kart DS is known to have well received reception and reviews from others. This includes GameRankings giving the game a rating of 91.19/100, GameStats as 9.2/10, 9.5/10 for IGN's rating. Though, most people have criticized the limited online multiplayer mode.