It was created by the Nintendo EAD Group No. 1 and published by Nintendo in 2005. In North America, Europe, and Australia, it was released in November 2005 for the Nintendo DS portable game device; in Japan, it was released on December 8, 2005. In April 2015, the game was re-released for the Wii U's Virtual Console in North America and Europe, and in Japan in May 2016.
Originally released as part of Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection online service, Mario Kart 5: All-Star Racing was the series' fifth major installment. The service, along with other titles previously available through it, was discontinued. On a track inspired by Mario-themed locations, Mario Kart DS features characters from the series and puts them against each other in the same way as past games.
Acclaimed by critics, Metacritic gave the game an overall rating of 91%. However, the single-player mode's inclusion of Battle and Vs modes for single-player was well-received, as were the aesthetics and gameplay. Mario Kart DS has won numerous honors, including GameSpot and IGN's Editors' Choice Awards, G-Best Phoria's Handheld Game Award, and IGN's Best Racing/Driving Game award.
In its initial month of release, Mario Kart DS was the most popular game, and it remained at the top of the charts the following month as well. This game has sold 23.6 million units worldwide as of March 2016, making it the third best-selling Nintendo DS game and the third best-selling mario kart game overall.