If you’ve never played a Mario Kart game before and don’t know where to start, this list should help you decide.
Or, if you like the series and just want to know how we feel about all the games, I hope you won’t be too disappointed with my choices.
Mario Kart has changed a lot over the years. It has been played on both handheld and home consoles, and it has even been played with gaming gear like the Wii’s floating steering wheel.
Some of the changes have been small, like making small changes to existing stages or adding new karts and cups. Other times, the changes have been much bigger.
Like adding the ability to paraglide and two-wheeled vehicles in addition to the traditional four-wheeled karts.
But one thing has always been the same: the game has always been a lot of fun to play.
So let’s look at the best Mario Kart games and see which ones are the most fun.
12. Mario Kart Arcade
The latest game in the Mario Kart arcade series is called Mario Kart Arcade GP VR ( Mariokto kdoguranpuri).
The groundbreaking game lets players enter the Mario Kart world through virtual reality and try out the course with shells and mushrooms.
11. Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit
Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is a surprising “mixed reality” recreation of Nintendo’s most popular racing series.
It encourages you to be creative with your course designs and does a great job of blending your real-world surroundings with those of the Mushroom Kingdom.
When you add a second player (or three, or four), it becomes even more fun. The technology is undeniably impressive, and it’s impossible not to smile the first time you play.
The question is how long that magic will last, especially if your home limits your track designs and your budget only covers the cost of one car.
We can say, though, that just wandering around the house while small children or pets chase you is a pretty great way to spend an afternoon.
10. Mario Kart Tour
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.
A free-to-play version of Mario Kart 8 was never going to be as good as the real thing. The game was designed to be played with one hand, and landscape mode wasn’t available at first.
When you add in confusing and questionable ways to make money, it could be easy to see this as a bad thing for the series.
But you don’t have to do any of those annoying microtransactions, and you can play for as long as you want, unlike many other mobile games (including some from Nintendo).
Taken as a whole, it’s a fun mobile version of your favourite kart racer. Importantly, finding out for yourself doesn’t cost anything, so there’s no reason not to give this a test drive, even if it doesn’t work perfectly.
9. Mario Kart 64
First on this list is Mario Kart 64, which is not a bad game at all.
When it came out on the Nintendo 64 in 1996, it was a big hit right away.
First of all, even though this game is over 20 years old, it still makes people feel nostalgic. The graphics were a big step up from “Super Mario Kart,” which came out on the SNES 4 years earlier, but MK64 helped make the series what it is today.
And the 3D style, especially the backgrounds of all the tracks, really made the game stand out.
Okay, so far, right?
You might be wondering why this game doesn’t rank higher on this list. Well, for one thing, this game’s flaws have been blown out of proportion because of all the hype surrounding it after the success of the first one. Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to the hype.
Nintendo fell short when it came to making the AI smarter and less clingy. They may have felt pressure to make a game as good as Super Mario Kart.
This is called the “rubber band effect,” and it means that your competitors often stay close to you throughout the race, making it hard to get into first place.
Also, one of the best things about the Mario Kart games is their tracks. In MK64, these are usually boring and lack imagination, especially when compared to some of the more recent games.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a bad game, but I think there are some valid complaints about it that might make it harder for newer gamers to play without the nostalgia factor.
8. Mario Kart Super Circuit
Next on this list is the first Mario Kart game made just for handheld consoles (Game Boy Advance to be specific).
Super Circuit is a fun addition to the series, and it’s the first time the addicting game has been made portable. However, it falls short in some key ways. But this game also has a lot of good things.
This game is a portable version of Mario Kart that came out at the start of the 21st century. It marked the start of a new era for Mario Kart. Without a doubt, Super Circuit was ahead of its time.
Some good things about the game are the cup rankings, which have become standard in every game since, and the fun multiplayer games you can play with friends.
The best thing about Super Circuit is that it’s on the GBA, but that’s also what holds it back in the end.
Even though the graphics aren’t that great, Mario Kart 64 looks like a work of art. And the game is limited by the fact that it is played on a handheld console with a small screen.
Only a few of the tracks in this game have any real character, so it won’t be as fun as other versions of the game.
Even though it’s not a bad game overall, the first handheld version of the series is forgettable and doesn’t compare to many of the other games on this list.
7. Mario Kart DS
We got Mario Kart DS four years after Super Circuit for GBA came out (don’t worry, the list isn’t in order, as you’ll see with the next entry).
A big step up from the GBA version, and not just because it was played on better hardware. Mario Kart DS was a step forward for racing games on mobile devices.
Online play was added to this series for the first time on the DS, and it was a big plus for the game. Even more so because you didn’t have to be near your friends for the first time to play a quick game of Mario Kart.
In addition to this game-changing feature, Mario Kart DS also let you change the logo on your kart and unlock styles with different stats for each character.
The game’s main flaw is that the levels aren’t very interesting.
Aside from the theme, which can get old after a while, the Mario Kart games do well because they have creative levels that capture the imagination and make a great setting for the crazy, fast-paced racing.
Even though there are some great tracks in this game, like “Airship Fortress,” there aren’t many that will make you want to keep playing after you’ve done the cups a few times.
What I mean is that this situation makes it harder to play again. Even though, to be fair, it is a funny title. But if you want to stand out in the Mario Kart series, you have to do something really special.
6. Super Mario Kart
Super Mario Kart for the SNES is an all-time favourite that takes us back to where it all began.
It’s hard to say anything bad about the game that started this epic series. It’s not as good as more recent versions of the game, but that’s to be expected from a game that runs on hardware that’s 30 years old.
Even being able to compete with some of the more recent versions of the game is a huge accomplishment and a sign of how well this SNES game was made.
Super Mario Kart deserves a lot of praise for its fun battle mode, its crazy weapons, and the fact that it’s easy to pick up and play. It’s easy to say that you can still play it.
Even though it would be fun to just talk about how great the classic game is, newer games have made the problems very clear. Even though you could argue that the graphics and style were still amazing, they were nothing compared to what we have now.
Obviously, if you really like old-school retro pixel art, you’ll love this game. Seriously, get a SNES Mini if you like this type of game because you’ll play it a lot.
5. Mario Kart 7
Mario Kart 7 is a much better game than its predecessor, Mario Kart DS, and it still sells very well on the 3DS.
Mario Kart 7 is a great addition to the series. It adds some great new features and is the best Mario Kart game ever made for handheld consoles.
This 3DS game built on the idea of customising karts by letting you build your own kart from scratch. This gave the game a whole new aesthetic dimension.
Gamers like to change things, so it was only a matter of time before Nintendo let people take control of the karts and change them in any way they wanted.
Most importantly, though, Mario Kart 7 made it possible to race on land, sea, and in the air.
Before this, the sea was always off-limits, so Lakitu floated over to you on his little cloud to pull you away from danger.
All of this changed in MK7, when you could both drive under water and fly through the air.
This game was better than many others because you could choose which hang glider and kart parts would give you the best chance of winning. You could also choose a weapon that would help you win.
I have a feeling that the gameplay is a big part of why this is the best handheld Mario Kart game on the market right now.
4. Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart 8 is better than many of the other games in the series, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the best in the series.
Mario Kart 8 brings the game up to date for home consoles, just like Mario Kart 7 did for handheld consoles.
The only reason this game isn’t higher on the list is because, unlike MK Wii and Double Dash, it just improves on what was already a great game.
Even though this is a good addition to the series, it doesn’t have enough new ideas to make it stand out.
One way to look at this game is that, until it came out in 2014, it had to be the most visually impressive and complete of all.
Mario Kart 8 is a good all-around game that is a great place to start if you’re new to the series and want to learn how the games work. It has all the bells and whistles of the modern generation.
It has a huge cast of 30 playable characters, and each time you can choose a different one. Plus, since you can change everything about your kart, you might never choose the same racing setup twice.
Another great thing about Mario Kart 8 is that you can drift. It’s easy to do and a joy to experience.
The best thing about this new version of the popular franchise, though, is probably how great the graphics are. They show how far the series has come in the best way possible.
Aside from a few things about games higher on this list, I have to say that Mario Kart 8 is the most complete Mario Kart game, and maybe even the most complete kart racing game in general.
3. Mario Kart: Wii
Mario Kart: Wii, which came out in 2008, definitely deserves credit for making the series feel new again. It moved the series forward in a big way and added a lot of new gameplay mechanics and visuals.
Let’s start with how well the Wii controller works. Before 2008, if I had told you that you would be playing Mario Kart in your living room with a cordless steering wheel, you would have thought I was crazy.
But Mario Kart: Wii changed all that.
And if that wasn’t enough, it was the first game in the series to have bikes. These added so much more fun to the game by giving new ways to beat the levels.
Mario Kart: Wii stands out as one of the best games in the series because it changes almost everything about the whole series and makes it better.
Up until this point, not many games (besides Double Dash) had really changed the way you play by adding something completely new and making it harder to beat the computer.
When you think about how fun the game’s levels are, you can see why this title shines so brightly.
2. Mario Kart: Double Dash
This Mario Kart game is very unique and deserves a lot of praise.
In the kart racing series, Double Dash was responsible for some of the most fun times with friends that had a Nintendo theme.
Some people may not agree with it being number two on this list, but I think it deserves to be there because it was a big change from what we thought of as a typical Mario Kart game. This game took us a step closer to crazy fun games that you can play with other people.
One of the best parts of Double Dash is being the character on the back of your team’s kart who is in charge of crashing into opponents who get too close. It is their job to throw them off their game or even off a big cliff if necessary.
This one is a classic for parties and get-togethers because of how funny it is when your friend accidentally pushes you both off the edge.
The fact that there are two characters per kart is not the only thing that makes this game a great addition to the series. Because the game is based on this idea, characters also have certain items they can use against other players.
You can’t really understand what it’s like to chase your friends who are ahead of you with the Chain Chomp until you do it yourself. And on top of that, the size of the person in the back seat will affect the experience and the kart in a real way.
As you might guess, Bowser isn’t a good friend for doing things like making tight turns.
When you add in the high-quality levels here, Double Dash is really a complete Mario Kart game.
1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Even though I’d love to give the top spot to one of the series’ more underrated games, like Double Dash or MK Wii, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is definitely the best racing game.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe combines everything that has made the Mario Kart series so popular into one very fun game.
Sometimes it’s easy to just call the latest game in a series the “best in the series” because the graphics and gameplay are better. But this game is actually a bit more fun to play than any other up until now. In part, this is because developers have been tweaking the game’s mechanics for years to get them just right.
Let’s start with how to play the game, since that’s the most important part.
In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the quality of the gameplay hasn’t been lowered, as you’ll see when you drift around corners with ease thanks to how responsive it is. You can also move through the air as if you were really flying, which is something that later games added.
The anti-gravity feature, which was introduced in Mario Kart 8, is better in this game because the levels have new, creative ways to drive on walls, ceilings, and any other solid surface you can think of. From the SNES version, that’s a big change.
Aside from the gameplay, the graphics in this game are beautiful and show off the game in a way that no other game has been able to do.
When you’re flying through the air, you’ll want to stop and take a look at the magical scenery and very realistic racers and karts. Also, the eye-catching new stages, which have some tricky spots you wouldn’t expect, go well with the game’s amazing visuals.
Great music, great graphics, and really fun ways to play. All of these things add up to a fun time, whether you play alone or with friends. And that, to me, is what makes a game great.