For 30 years, Mario kart has been one of Nintendo’s most iconic franchises. Start with Super mario kart in 1992 there were 15 editions of the series, the most recent being Mario Kart Live: Home circuit, a mixed reality game for the Switch. Most players today have played at least one Mario kartAs the game is easy to learn and difficult to stop, racing is becoming a staple in video game culture.
There is a ton of Mario kart games now, and many of them hold a special place in the hearts of fans. It’s now been seven years since the last truly new entry in the series, so which entry do critics currently consider to be the best? Mario kart game ever made? For the purposes of these rankings, we averaged professional review scores on Metacritic and the Internet Games Database. However, this excludes the arcade versions of Mario kart, which was quite popular on its own.
Mario Kart Tour 54/100
Mario Kart Tour is the first foray into mobile games, released on Android and iOS in 2019. The game offers downloadable tours every two weeks with different cups, three courses and a bonus challenge. There are many courses featured in the original series, but they also include real-life locations such as New York, Tokyo, and Paris.
To visit has a refreshing take on the series where he uses a points-based system instead of the traditional finish line standings. A new Frenzy mode is also included, activated by collecting three identical items and each character has a unique item. However, despite a few new features, reviewers criticized in-app purchases, uninspired track design, and poor kart controls.
Mario Kart Wii 76.5 / 100
Released on Wii in 2008, Mario Kart Wii is arguably the most popular of the series, currently ranking 13th best-selling games of all time. The game saw Mario kart back to basics after the incredible success Double dash !! with 24 playable characters and unique new tracks in single player, multiplayer and split screen modes.
Mario Kart Wii was a hit with critics because of the inventive new tracks and the Wii motion control gimmick perfectly integrated into the Wii Wheel. It has successfully appealed to the Wii’s goal of family-friendly games, with the few criticisms of the game primarily directed at the community’s desire to improve the graphics.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit 75/100
In the title of mixed reality Mario Kart Live: Home circuit, players use real toys to build stages to face off against opponents on their Switch. The toys of the characters in the series are equipped with a camera that players watch as they control their rider on the Switch.
The game was highly anticipated due to the developer, Velan Studios, stating that it would have simple controls and the same type of gameplay as the other editions of the series. Reviews were positive for Nintendo’s demo of using AR, but the game was criticized for its hefty price tag. The actual space required for the game quickly made it lose its charm.
Mario Kart 64 82/100
Only the second entry in the franchise, Mario kart 64 switched from mode 7 graphics to polygon-based 3D graphics (although runners are pre-rendered sprites) and was a huge graphics breakthrough at the time. The move to 3D graphics meant the game could include track features that weren’t possible before, such as elevation, bridges, walls, and pits. More modes were made available by adding Versus mode and Battle mode, which improved the replayability of the game.
Critics praised the game’s added features and multiplayer accessibility, as it could now accommodate four players at a time. However, despite the new graphics and tracks, many critics felt that there was not enough growth implemented from the insane success. Super Mario Kart.
Mario Kart 7 84.5 / 100
Mario kart 7 became the best-selling game in 3DS, with almost 19 million copies. The third pocket entry in the series, it featured 17 different characters competing across 32 tracks, 16 new and 16 remade tracks from previous installments.
The game received praise due to new features like hang gliding, allowing players to glide through the air to another part of the track and underwater driving, which added a refreshing element to the new tracks. Kart customization has also been introduced in this release, giving players more control over the styling of their karts rather than choosing from pre-made karts.
Mario Kart: Double Dash !! 86/100
Double dash !! was a huge hit when it was released on GameCube in 2003. New to this edition were karts for two people, hence the name of the game. Two characters manage a single kart where one character is responsible for the direction while the other takes care of the objects, but they can change. position at all times. It also allowed two players to play cooperatively in the same kart instead of competing. Even today, almost 20 years after its release, the return of Double dash !! karting has remained a common demand from fans.
Perhaps even more notably, Double dash !! was also the first game to use full 3D graphics. Critics loved the simplicity of the game and the new change to double karting, making it one of the franchise’s most beloved entries.
Mario Kart 8 89.5 / 100
Mario kart 8 released in 2014 for Wii U and is the eighth installment in the series. By following all the typical characteristics of a Mario kart Game, Mario kart 8 introduced anti-gravity driving on walls and ceilings and allowed players to bump into each other for a short speed boost. It also made it possible to add new characters and vehicles thanks to Nintendo’s Amiibo compatibility.
Mario kart 8 received favorable reviews from critics, with mostly positive reviews for its vibrancy and attention to detail in characters and tracks. It became the best-selling Wii U game, with 1.2 million copies in its first four days.
Super Mario Kart 90/100
Super mario kart is the first installment of the Mario kart series, developed and released by Nintendo for the SNES in 1992. Sold just under 9 million copies, it became the fourth best-selling SNES game of all time and was re-released in 2017 as part of the Super NES Classic Edition from Nintendo. The game featured eight of the characters from the Mario series, each with their own unique abilities that affected their speed, acceleration and handling.
The game won critical acclaim and was considered a commercial success, earning a Player’s Choice after selling one million copies. Fans loved the addicting and competitive karting gameplay while playing like their favorite Mario characters.
Mario Kart DS 90.5 / 100
Released in 2005 for the Nintendo DS, Mario kart ds is the fifth installment in the series and the first to be playable using Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, finally allowing players to compete online. It also introduced features that would remain in later titles, such as the addition of retro courses and revamped tracks. It also added the unique functionality of emblems and a Missions mode that allowed players to complete objectives in a short series of events.
The game has received critical acclaim primarily for its graphics and gameplay, with most of the criticism coming from its repetitive single-player mode. It was also praised for retaining most of the functionality of its in-game predecessor despite being designed on a portable device.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit 91.5 / 100
Mario Kart: Super Circuit is the 2001 version of the series for Game Boy Advance and the third installment after Mario kart 64. Four players were able to compete against each other using the Game Link Game. The game didn’t bring many new features to the series but did include all of the tracks from Super mario kart and the features of the traditional series of playable item boxes, coins and five cups.
Critics loved the game when it first released, and it set benchmarks for handheld gaming standards in terms of graphics, sound, and gameplay. The multiple play modes for on-the-go play meant the game was rated well for its replay value.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe 92.5 / 100
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is an improved version of Mario kart 8, released for Nintendo Switch in 2017. It includes all DLC available for Mario Kart 8, as well as gameplay adjustments and 1080p graphics in the Switch Dock. Five additional characters have been added to this release, including Bowser Jr., Dry Bones, King Boo, Inkling Boys and Girls, and Gold Mario. The game has also received updates since its release, including a new vehicle and a new costume for Link.
Reviews rated Deluxe as the best Mario kart game to date mainly due to the multiplayer aspect of the game, with ease of play through Switch Docking or via an online connection. The Battle mode was also revolutionary, adding eight new arenas with multiple game modes.
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