With the first batch of classic tracks from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s Booster Course Pass already out and many more on the way, now is a great time to look at the series as a whole. Since the first game, the series has changed a lot, but the racing has always been fun and crazy.
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Some Mario Kart games are better than others, though. Some players miss the simple fun of the older games, while others like how polished and full of content the newest game is. Thousands of people on Ranker got together to decide which Kart they think is the best, and this is how they rank.
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit (Switch)
Even though it’s hard to compare a game with such a different idea to the other Mario Kart games, Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit shows that a game can only be so different if it wants everyone to play it. The player controls a real radio-controlled kart in Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, which is a mixed reality game.
Players can use real-life toys to make their own tracks, which they can then play on their Switch as if it were a real Mario Kart track while the toy kart goes around the track. The idea is fun, but it takes a lot of work to set up, and the extra cost of the toys makes the game harder to get into, which makes it less popular.
Mario Kart Super Circuit (GBA)
Intelligent Systems, which also made the Fire Emblem and WarioWare games, made Mario Kart Super Circuit for the Game Boy Advance. It was the first Mario Kart game that could be played on the go. Even though the game isn’t as well-known as Mario Kart DS, it was still popular enough to show that kart racing was a good fit for handhelds.
There are still a lot of great games for the Game Boy Advance that should be played, and Mario Kart Super Circuit is one of them because it plays just like the games that came before it. The characters are the same as in Mario Kart 64, but this game has a lot more tracks than that one. It had the most tracks of any Mario Kart game before the DLC packs for Mario Kart 8, with a total of 40.
Super Mario Kart (SNES)
Super Mario Kart was the first game in the series. Its success led to the series becoming the worldwide phenomenon it is today, and it set many of the rules for kart racers that are still important today. Super Mario Kart imitated a 3D plane by having a background picture that moved and grew as the kart moved. This made the game feel surprisingly modern for 1992.
The older game has been held back by the fact that 8 environments were split into 20 courses. This means that the courses aren’t very different from each other, which isn’t something that needs to come back in the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe course booster. Also, in a series that is now known for its tight, easy-to-use controls, Super Mario Kart’s clunky and awkward driving makes it feel old, which is why it is ranked lower.
Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
Mario Kart 7 showed that the series wasn’t going to slow down after the success of Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii. It added new features and a level of polish that would set the bar for future games. In Mario Kart 7, there are new vehicles that can be customised and hang gliders that let the player fly for long stretches of the game.
The game also added 16 new tracks, some of which were instant hits like Waluigi Pinball, as well as a lot of classic tracks, so there was a lot to do and see. Mario Kart 7 was also one of the best-looking Mario Kart games, and even though it has gotten a bit older since then, it still looks great.
Mario Kart 64 (N64)
As the sequel to the first Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64 had a lot to live up to, but by making everything truly 3D, it did much more than that. It also let up to four people play at once, so groups of friends could play together, which became a big part of the series.
Mario Kart 64 was the first racing game to use true 3D polygonal environments. It also had some differences in terrain and elevation, which, along with much tighter controls than its predecessor, made it the best racing game ever. Mario Kart 64 is still a favourite for many people because it has tracks like the new Rainbow Road that became instant classics.
Mario Kart DS (DS)
Mario Kart DS was a big step forward for the series and became an instant must-have game. It was one of the most complete Mario Kart games ever made for a handheld console. When it came out, Mario Kart DS was praised by everyone. It didn’t change much from what made Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Double Dash!! so popular, but it did almost everything right in terms of controls, a mix of new and old tracks, and simple karting fun.
Mario Kart DS is also one of the best-looking games of the DS era, and new tracks like Delfino Square, which is so good that fans want it to come back in the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Pass, really stood out because of how well they looked. Mario Kart DS is still one of the best Mario Kart games for a lot of people.
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U, Switch)
Mario Kart 8 took things to the next level by being the best-looking, best-controlling, and most varied Mario Kart game ever, with an amazing soundtrack to boot. Mario Kart 8 was able to please both old and new fans by keeping the mechanics that made the previous games so popular and adding new antigravity sections and more multiplayer options than ever before.
Also, the Booster Course Pass adds a lot of bonus tracks from other Mario Kart games to the enhanced port of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, giving you more reasons than ever to play this game. The game is a great addition to the series, and NME said that it sold the most copies of any Mario Kart game ever.
Mario Kart Tour (Mobile)
This is the first game in the series to come to mobile devices that aren’t Nintendo handhelds. If you’re looking for a copy of the console games, you might be disappointed, but this free-to-play version was never going to be as good as Mario Kart 8. The game was made to be played with one hand, and you can’t even play it in landscape mode. When you add in some confusing and questionable ways to make money, it’s easy to see why this is a bad thing for the series.
However, you’re not obliged to go in for all those unseemly microtransactions, there’s no limit on playtime as found in many other mobile games (including some of Nintendo’s) and – taken in context – it’s a pleasantly diverting mobile take on your favourite kart racer. Importantly, finding out for yourself doesn’t cost anything, so there’s no reason not to give this a try.