What’s that? Forza Horizon 3 is the only racing game worth playing, is it? You like your racing games to be as realistic as possible, eh? Well, I get that, but at the same time, I don’t agree. We think about the Gran Turismo’s and the Forzas of the world when we think about racing games. Why would you not? They dominate that genre. But let’s take a moment to stop and think about Mario Kart. It’s been about for ages and I would wager is in the top three Nintendo franchises.
After all, not everyone ‘gets’ racing games. They’re not to everyone’s tastes. Heck, I don’t get racing games but I love Mario Kart. My old man, who hates video games and thinks my career choice to write and commentate on video games is a bit daft, loves a bit of Mario Kart. It’s the great unifier. Why do you think Mario Kart adverts exclusively feature groups of people playing in the living room? It is the ultimate exemplifier of Nintendo games bringing people together in that way they always insist they do.
A key part of the Mario Kart allure is track design. Sure, in Mario Kart 8, you can modify your vehicle, but is that where you derive your fun from? Do you spend hours choosing the right type of wheels? I didn’t think so. It’s all about finding the tracks you like best and perfecting your time-trial on them so you can crush your opponent so harshly that they sit, their eyes glassy with rage induced tears, ready to beat you ’round the skull with your own controller. So, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe coming to Nintendo Switch in just under two weeks, here are the five best Mario Kart 8 tracks that you should git gud at.
Mario Kart Stadium
Okay, so it makes sense to start with the first track you’ll race on. It’s the perfect example of Nintendo nailing your first venture into one of their games. It teaches you all the basics, drifting, gravity wheels, gliding in the air, and going onto speed panels. It does all of this whilst also being a thoroughly enjoyable level. One that is not too challenging but does enough to give a taste and prepare you for the rest of the game.
When compared to other first tracks in the Mario Kart franchise, it is the best at preparing its players for what lies ahead in the later stages of the game.
So, here’s where things start to get tricky. The final track of the Mushroom Cup sees you avoiding the Thwomp stomps by either dashing underneath at the right time or activating gravity wheels to ride up walls and avoid them altogether. It’s one of the first courses in Mario Kart 8 that blends the frantic race style of Mario Kart with an awareness for obstacles.
It also ups the ante after your first lap by throwing in giant stone wheels that cross the course, providing plenty of opportunities to slip up opponents with banana peels or stun them with Koopa shells, forcing them to run into the path of a wheel.
The first track to feature alternate pathways for the more astute racer, you can choose to race along the boardwalk, on roofs, tarpaulin and dodge trams by using boost ramps and gravity walls. Its design is inspired slightly by San Francisco and has a bright, colourful charm like that of Captain Toad himself. As the second track of the Flower Cup, it really nails the concept of working out the best routes to take on your way to victory.
The lights. They’re all so colourful. So vibrant and fast moving. And that music, it all makes you feel spectacular moving round this discothèque inspired course.
It’s the most energetic track on the Mario Kart 8 roster and really shows off the amazing level of detail Nintendo put into the art work of Mario Kart 8. You go upside down, up in the air and speed down musical staircases in the third track of the Star Cup. It really is one of those tracks that makes you want to grove, y’know, if you’re inclined to do so.
The final track in the Star Cup is the only one in Mario Kart 8 which doesn’t follow the traditional circuit design, opting for more of a triathlon feel. This downhill dash across a snowy mountain has you dashing through woodlands and bouncing off snow mounds. It feels more like a ski-course than a race track and is a refreshing change of pace, given the linearity of the other tracks available in the game. After besting this one a few times in various CC’s, it will be interesting to see if Nintendo continue this formula in future Mario Kart titles.
How does our five best Mario Kart 8 tracks compare to your own. Did we miss any of yours or are you getting in that training on your Wii U version in preparation of the Switch upgrade? Let us know in the comments what you think.
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