Mario Kart for Nintendo 3DS has a slot machine style reels where you pick a body, wheels, and glider before a race begins. Since Shigeru Miyamoto really liked the gliding feature, I decided to make a kart optimized for flying for my first run.
I disregarded Bowser’s comfort and picked a small body with tiny wheels. A Nintendo rep said this would make my kart lighter and therefore better at gliding. As I raced around the track with Bowser, I noticed the kart I made was harder to control than the base kart. The tiny kart slid around the track and underwater sections were more difficult to drive on with small wheels. Bowser, just like other Mario Kart games, has high top speed, but low acceleration.
As long as I didn’t hit anything, Bowser and his light kart could stay in the air longer. While you’re flying you can still throw koopa shells at enemies (they lock on too!) or drop banana peels. Since karts don’t have raccoon tails you can’t fly freely in Mario Kart. You need to find a ramp to jump off of and some tracks are designed with hidden ramps. The Donkey Kong Country Returns track designed by Retro Studios has a narrow stone column you can use as a glider launch point. If you have enough speed, you can soar over a good portion of the track and land in front of the other racers. This fork could be a gamble because if you fall off the column or drive too slowly you won’t have enough speed to fly far.
Since I made an teenie-weeine kart for Bowser, I thought it would be funny to create a monstrous kart for Toad. I picked the largest frame (a Jeep-like body) and monster truck tires. This kart had no problem in the underwater sections, so I experimented with new routes. One of the tracks went through a cave and if you fell off the sides you would have to drive underwater. Usually this would be a penalty of sorts, but since I made a car (I think) was designed for off-roading I dove straight into the water. My kart handled fine and I caught a speed boosting arrow right before leaving the water. I’m not quite sure if this saved me time, but it was neat to see that the map was designed with water loving drivers in mind. Seeing how tracks will be designed to make use of different kinds of karts might be the most intersting part of Mario Kart on the 3DS.