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Mario Kart DS is the continuation of the long running racing game series that began on the Super Nintendo. It features 16 new tracks as well as 16 tracks from the previous 4 games, with each set split up into the Nitro and Retro Grand Prix respectively. Eight racers are initially available, each with two go-karts to choose from. A number of characters and additional karts are also available to unlock. New items have been added to the arsenal, including a Blooper squid that squirts ink onto the screens of other players and a Bullet Bill power up that transforms the player into a giant, fast-travelling bullet on autopilot.

One of the features of this version is its support for online Internet play through Nintendo's WiFi service. MKDS owners can challenge up to 3 other people in Grand Prix mode on 20 of the 32 tracks. Players can also match up with friends by trading "Friend Codes" that are generated based on the DS that is used and the copy of the game owned. Custom emblems to use on karts are supported through the game's paint program.

Battle mode is also present with 8-player support and 6 tracks. This time, there are two modes to choose from: "Balloon Battle" and "Shine Runners." Balloon Battle is similar to the previous versions of this mode, with the exception that every player starts with only one balloon, and 5 in reserve. Players can have 2 additional balloons by either holding the Select button while standing still to inflate them, or by blowing into the DS's microphone. "Shine Runners" tasks players to collect "Shines," with the winner being the one that has the most.

New to the series is "Mission Mode," which consists of a series of single player objective-based missions. Each mission takes place on a section of a race track and tasks the player to accomplish goals not normally seen in the other game modes. Such tasks include picking up coins on the track, using items to take out enemies, and racing through numbered gates. Missions are split up into 6 sets of 8, with a 9th mission for each where players must battle against a boss character.

Local wireless multiplayer is supported for up to 8 people in Grand Prix, VS, and Battle Modes. Time trial "ghost" data can be shared as well, and DS owners who don't have the game can use the Download & Play option to join in Grand Prix mode. However, non Mario Kart owners are limited to selecting Shy Guy as their character.


Mario Kart DS Nintendo DS On the starting line
Mario Kart DS Nintendo DS Peach in first place.
Mario Kart DS Nintendo DS This map version shows extras and traps on the track
Mario Kart DS Nintendo DS Different bottom screen view

Promo Images

Mario Kart DS Screenshot
Mario Kart DS Screenshot
Mario Kart DS Screenshot
Mario Kart DS Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "马里奥卡丁车DS" -- Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • "マリオカートDS" -- Japanese spelling
  • "마리오 카트 DS" -- Korean spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

This is pure fun for everyone Bregalad (968) 4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars
Mario Kart continues to hit the right note... Kartanym (12705) 4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars
Racing's never been so funny NeoJ (455) 3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars3.2 Stars
Good old fashioned racing fun but finally with online gameplay. An essential buy for any DS owner. Rensch (216) 4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars
Accessible, kid-oriented fun with outstanding gameplay Chris Wright (105) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

Critic Reviews

Gaming Age Nov, 2005 A 100
GamesFirst! Nov 24, 2005 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Lawrence Nov 14, 2005 95 out of 100 95
Nintendojo 2005 9.5 out of 10 95
GameSpot Nov 14, 2005 9.2 out of 10 92
Gamesmania.de Dec 05, 2005 91 out of 100 91
Bordersdown Dec, 2005 9 out of 10 90
GamePro (US) Nov 14, 2005 4.5 out of 5 90
videogamer.com Jan 16, 2006 9 out of 10 90
Game Informer Magazine Dec, 2005 7.5 out of 10 75


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1001 Video Games

Mario Kart DS appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Multiplayer hack

In late 2005, hackers, with the help of the homebrew 'Passme" device for the DS, were able to successfully implement a hack that would allow them to play the additional 12 tracks in online Wi-Fi mode. This does not only apply to a single device. As long as one person in the game has the hack, all of the players can race on these maps. As of this writing (Dec 2005), Nintendo has made no official announcement on the issue but it seems likely they'll fix this issue on future Mario Kart DS carts and possibly begin banning hackers from Mario Kart similar to what Bungie did with Halo 2.


Mario Kart DS marks the first appearance of R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy) as a playable character. R.O.B. originally appeared as an accessory to the Robot Series of games for the NES, and has made subsequent non-playable cameo appearances in other games.


According to publisher Nintendo, Mario Kart DS sold 23.59 million copies worldwide (as of September 30, 2015).


  • 4Players
    • 2005 – Best Nintendo DS Game of the Year
    • 2005 – Best Racing Game of the Year
  • GamePro (Germany)
    • February 23, 2006 - Best Handheld Game in 2005 (Readers' Vote)
  • GameSpy
    • 2005 – #4 Game of the Year
    • 2005 – Nintendo DS Game of the Year
    • 2005 – Nintendo DS Game of the Year (Readers' Vote)
    • 2005 – Multiplayer Game of the Year
    • 2005 – Offline Multiplayer Game of the Year
    • 2005 – Nintendo DS Racing Game of the Year
    • 2005 – Nintendo DS Multiplayer Game of the Year
Information also contributed by Guy Chapman

Related Web Sites

LiveFire (142) added Mario Kart DS (Nintendo DS) on Nov 24, 2005
Other platforms contributed by Michael Cassidy (21109)
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