One of Nintendo’s most beloved and longest-running series is Mario Kart. Boasting characters from Nintendo’s roster of games, simple kart racing gameplay, and plenty of inventive maps and modes, Mario Kart is one of the best Nintendo products to date.
Over the years there have been plenty of additions to the franchise covering decades of console and even mobile gaming. For those who want to relive the glory days, or are just curious which game stacks up the best today, here are our rankings for all the Mario Kart games currently available.
Mario Kart Tour
In 2019 Nintendo launched their first smartphone spin on the franchise, Mario Kart Tour giving fans a way to experience Mario Kart on the go — be it in a limited fashion.
Whether it be the reliance on microtransactions or the painful control scheme, Mario Kart Tour is by far the worst game in the franchise to date.
Mario Kart Home Circuit
The latest game to be released on this list, Mario Kart Home Circuit gives Switch owners a way to use their own house as a course by using a remote control kart with an onboard camera to provide an enhanced AR experience.
Playing around your house in the world of Mario Kart is quite entertaining, however, it comes off as simply a novelty instead of a full-function game. For its price, Mario Kart Home Circuit definitely doesn’t compete against many of its previous entries.
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario Kart was the very first entry into the Mario Kart franchise after its initial offering as an arcade experience in Japan. The game brings everything there is no offer from the series with fun maps, plenty of characters, and a variety of modes but due to its limited specs the 2D graphics of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System hold the game back behind its later entries.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
The very first handheld game produced from the Mario Kart franchise was Super Circuit which launched for GameBoy Advance in 2001. Boasting very similar content to Super Mario Kart with some extra additions to freshen things up, Super Circuit suffers from the limited hardware power that the GameBoy Advance had holding it back from being higher on this list.
Mario Kart DS
One of the most popular games for the Nintendo DS, Mario Kart DS bought the kart style gameplay into the handheld realm once again and did so in style including more characters, more maps, and a fresh graphics style improving on what had been seen on a handheld before.
A reason why Mario Kart DS was so popular with gamers who already had a history with the franchise was thanks to the Retro Grand Prix option that would allow players to ride along with retro maps from past games.
Mario Kart DS was a turning point in the handheld history of the Mario Kart series and would inspire much of what was to come.
Mario Kart 64
A fan-favorite and arguably the most iconic of all the entries into the Mario Kart franchise, Mario Kart 64 was released for the Nintendo 64 and was immediately met with praise. Boasting brand new maps, an expanded roster of characters, and the very first joystick experience for the series, Mario Kart 64 was iconic for its time.
While many of this game’s features would be brought forward into future generations one of the most beloved was the Rainbow Road map which was made extremely challenging due to its trance-like artistic choices.
Mario Kart 7
Mario Kart 7 launched for the 3DS in 2011 and introduced the new hand-gliding and underwater driving features to the game. These two new additions spiced up the gameplay quite a bit which helps to put this game a notch above many of the other games in the franchise despite being extremely similar in all other aspects.
Mario Kart Wii
Mario Kart Wii was a hit thanks to its family-friendly nature pairing perfectly with the console’s intention and the new motion controllers that helped put a unique spin on gameplay. The game is mostly similar to other Mario Kart games of the time but with much-improved graphics and its own unique remote wheel dock that came alongside some copies of the game.
If you were looking at something to play with the family at the time then this was the game to choose and not only was it a commercial success but it helped substantially in moving units of the console at the time.
Mario Kart: Double Dash
The GameCube title Mario Kart: Double Dash was the first and only game within the series to feature two-person karts and while this wasn’t taken too kindly by all players it made for an extremely unique game mechanic that sets Double Dash apart from its peers.
Players had the opportunity to share a kart with one controlling the driving and the other the items, which as you would expect we at the focus of gameplay more than ever before. With 16 player tournaments, never-before-seen items, and one-of-a-kind gameplay, Double Dash takes second place on our list.
Mario Kart 8
Mario Kart 8 is the ultimate Mario Kart game to date and also the latest console installment. Launching initially for the Nintendo Wii U before being improved and released again on the Nintendo Switch, there is plenty of ways to play this game and it includes everything the series has to offer.
Boasting maps from all the previous entries, a bigger character roster than ever before, plenty of kart customizations, and a thriving online community, there is no looking past Mario Kart 8 as the best game in the series to date.