Mario Kart All Games Ultimate Rank

Hannah Paul


blog image

The legendary Mario Kart series by Nintendo has been our favorite racing arcade for almost 30 years already! But what are the best and the worst installments of the most popular family and party game of the century?

The title has changed dramatically over the decades, but it remains perfectly recognizable. It has evolved from an elementary pseudo-3D racer set in the Mushroom Kingdom to a colossal addon to the original Smash Bros that covers the entire Nintendo game universe. Now it lets you drive not only a wide range of creative karts but also hovercrafts, bikes, quads, and even armored platforms.

9. Mario Kart Tour (iOS, Android, 2019)

It’s not that Mario Kart Tour is the worst title in the series, but it doesn’t have any potential to grow with the current economic system. In 2019 microtransactions in a mobile Mario Kart game didn’t surprise anyone, but soon Apple Arcade opened the eyes of mobile gamers with its Netflix-style subscription and total absence of in-game purchases. Mobile games by Nintendo don’t have the future until they ditch their bizarre money-soaking schemes. The gameplay of the title is also pretty mediocre compared to the rest of the installments on the list. Rockstar publishes its old games on mobile instead of making low-quality GTA spinoffs. Why not do the same, Nintendo?

8. Mario Kart Super Circuit (GBA, 2001)

On the one hand, Mario Kart Super Circuit is one of the biggest pixel art achievements for the Game Boy Advance Platform. It’s colorful, cute, and incredibly fast, which is a perfect tribute to classic SNES platformers.

On the other hand, this game jammed between the original Mario Kart and the 3D debut of the series on the flagship console. However, it’s a worthy game to play if you’re a retro fan with a GBA instead of SNES or N64. It looks like Nintendo published this one exactly for such a case.

7. Mario Kart Wii (Wii, 2008)

Mario Karts on Wii was incredibly popular due to the unique gameplay offered by the platform. The company sold as many as 37 million copies worldwide! Despite such a resounding success, the game is now lost because of Mario Kart 7 and 8 that came out too soon and could give us everything that MK Wii could, but significantly better. The only thing that everyone remembers of the game is the option to control vehicles with a motion steering wheel that isn’t as convenient as Nintendo promised it to be.

person playing mario cart wii on old tv photo

6. Super Mario Kart (SNES, 1992)

Although this is the poorest-featured mainline MK game and it’s extremely old, it doesn’t deserve to be at the bottom at all. This game has established the entire series, which makes it a must-play for those who want to see how the whole thing started. The pseudo-3D visualization looks very strange in our post-N64 gaming universe, but it’s still surprisingly playable and competitive. This game is so warm, retro, and absolutely flawless if you take the release date into consideration.

5. Mario Kart 64 (N64, 1996)

N64 is the platform that changed the world, and Mario Kart 64 was the pioneer of multiplayer 3D gameplay. Today it looks rather boring and empty because of the high 21st century standards. Still, it can catch your attention with some inventive level design elements and challenging gameplay. It’s also the title that introduced the blue shell. It was hard to call that a feat, but it was something new and notable anyway.

4. Mario Kart DS (DS, 2005)

This is another incredibly popular Mario Kart chapter that offered the best racing simulation on the DS handheld console. As for the gameplay, it wasn’t something new and unique. Developers combined some catchy features of mainline chapters, and that’s it. But what’s really cool is the online multiplayer mode. It was so amazing to play it online with other DS owners! The console was very popular worldwide, so it wasn’t a problem to find someone. It is the first game in the entire series that introduced online multiplayer as an experiment, and it was an absolute success.

3. Mario Kart 7 (3DS, 2011)

The first notable feature of this game is the 1st-person camera mode that feels like you’re playing Sony’s Gran Turismo. It’s still not clear why it wasn’t added to more MK chapters. Besides that option, you can customize any vehicle to make it look unique on the online track. It also has full-fledged 3D visuals that look so much batter that on N64. MK 7 was a launchpad for the great MK 8 with all its fresh arcade experiences.

2. Mario Kart Double Dash (Gamecube, 2003)

This one’s the first full 3D mainline installment in the series, and there are solid reasons for ranking it so high. First of all, it had an excellent two-driver mode in which you had to cooperate to win. While the first player had to control steering, the second controlled weapons. It is rather difficult to master the system, but when you do, you feel yourself a real ace. The second reason to play it is an excellent course design that inspired most of the classic tracks in newer games. Finally, it has a crazy soundtrack that makes the whole thing even more memorable.

1. Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart Deluxe 8 (Wii U, 2014 / Switch, 2017)

Not surprisingly, the best entry on our list is a Mario Kart Switch game. It’s not too old, and you can get it online for your Wii U and Switch. It came out 6 years ago, but it’s still impossible to blame it for anything. It was already perfect on Wii U, but Nintendo managed to make it even better with upgraded Switch graphics and several awesome DLCs. All features in this game are implemented several times better than in any previous one. It includes the best visuals, course design, soundtrack, and everything else. No matter what mode you choose, the gameplay is perfect.

mario cart 8 deluxe gameplay cart steering picture

What’s Your Winner?

That’s our list of most and least favorite Mario Kart games. But what is your personal rank? Share it with us in the comments and explain your top pick. You can also share the list with other Nintendo fans to know their opinion too. If you’re new to the series, select any of the games on the list, and you won’t regret it. Mario Kart is a game for everyone!