For almost 30 years the Mario Kart series has been one of the most popular racing game franchises. One of the most memorable parts of this quirky kart racer is the variety of race-tracks players race on, and as such there are going to be some that are truly incredible, and others that are completely dreadful. This week I will be going over my personal favorite and least-favorite tracks.
If you have your own favorite and least-favorites feel free to comment below. With that being said, Let’s a go.
Number 5: Least-Favorite
This first track is more so just boring for me than bad. Shroom Ridge is one of those tracks where you have to avoid cars driving on the road, similar to tracks like Toad’s Turnpike and Moonview Highway.
However there are far fewer vehicles on the road than in the other examples, likely due to hardware issues but honestly, it makes this race track more boring to race on in my opinion, and the setting doesn’t really help it stand on its own either. It’s just a boring track that I’m not surprised didn’t return in future entries.
Number 5: Favorite
Coconut Mall from Mario Kart Wii is a track that always sticks out to me in a great way. As players race through this track they have a lot of options during a race.
The escalators can help and hinder players, there are multiple routes to keep things interesting, you have those cars near the end to avoid, there’s that shortcut near the start. It’s one of those tracks that gives players plenty of options and that is great to keep things fresh throughout a race.
Number 4: Least-Favorite
Vanilla Lake: Super
I wanted to refrain from adding a lot of tracks from Super Mario Kart, mainly because it was the first entry and did have to suffer from technical limitations, however, I just can’t defend this track.
The track has a huge lake in the middle of it and has way too many instances where it is easy to drive in and fall behind. Not to mention a part where you have to navigate through blocks and end up hitting them as a result.
I think a number of other SNES tracks are ok, but this one had to make the list for the reasons just mentioned.
Number 4: Favorite
Yoshi Valley: 64
Yoshi’s Valley is definingly the most distinct track in Mario Kart 64, as there are a number of routes players can take, and the track doesn’t actually indicate the positions of the racers.
This is really neat in my opinion as players could risk taking a shorter option and get ahead, while others fall behind taking a safe and slower route. And even if you aren’t a fan of the track not displaying positions, it does keep track in Mario Kart 8.
Number 3: Least-Favorite
Grumble Volcano: Wii
Here we have a racetrack that takes place around a volcano, and it’s my least-favorite track from Mario Kart Wii.
As players race through this track, they have to deal with the terrain crumbling away, and raining fireballs along with their opponents and items. On lap 1 it’s not too bad as the terrain is still intact, but by lap 3 you better be paying attention or you will fall and lose the race. With enough practice, you can get through this alright, but even then it’s still a track I’m not a huge fan of.
Number 3: Favorite
Baby Park Double Dash
Baby Park is an example of how a chaotic course can work, and while it is a very simple loop consisting of 7 laps, when you throw in the items into the mix it becomes way more interesting.
In a way, this is the Mario Kart equivalent to Final Destination in Smash Bros, a very simple level that works well for a competitive race. And clearly many other people were fans as well as Nintendo has not only remade this track once but twice. And in Mario Kart 8 they even add in anti-gravity to make races more interesting. It is an example of a chaotic track that isn’t overly frustrating.
Number 2: Least-Favorite
Bone-Dry Dunes: 8/8 Deluxe
Mario Kart has had a number of desert tracks in various entries, however, Bone-Dry Dunes is one of those racetracks that I never select when playing online as I feel it is a dull track that doesn’t vibe with my playstyle.
Normally I used heavier characters in Mario Kart for their superior speed and weight, however, due to their poor traction and handling they are more difficult to use than lightweights. And considering how narrow and winding this track can get I am just in for a bad time during a race. I understand this is more of a personal grip, although I do believe that race tracks should be designed to accommodate all driving classes as to not give one class a disadvantage. And because this track failed to do that it made the list.
Number 2: Favorite
Waluigi Pinball: DS
Waluigi Pinball is one of those Iconic Mario Kart tracks, and for good reason.
Because this track takes place in a Pinball machine there are so many cool mechanics that bring this track to life. Racers are shot out of a canon at the start of the race, and race down like a pinball table while avoiding giant pinballs. On top of that there are unique sound effects when getting items and finishing laps that relate to the pinball them. All these reasons definitely help make this a fun and memorable racetrack.
Number 1: Least-Favorite
Rainbow Road: N64
Rainbow Road is a track that has been in every Mario Kart game to date and is usually the big final challenging track of the game. However out of all the Rainbow Road’s over the years, the one in Mario Kart 64 is not only my least-favorite Rainbow Road, but my Least-Favorite track overall.
My issue with this track is that it is both ways too easy and way too long. A standard Mario Kart race tends to fall between one minute and twenty seconds to almost 3 minutes, Rainbow Road in Mario Kart 64 can take around 5 to 6 minutes, not only that but aside from a chain chomp roaming the track, there are really no major obstacles to deal with, you can’t even fall off unless you purposefully jump off at the start of the race.
Interestingly enough Nintendo seemed to feel the same way as the track went through a major overhaul in 8 adding more obstacles and making it a sectioned racetrack, both of which were much-appreciated changes.
Number 1: Favorite
Big Blue: 8/8 Deluxe
Starting with Mario Kart 7 Nintendo began to add in segmented race tracks, so rather than driving around a loop 3 times, players would need to pass a number of checkpoints to win the race. And out of all of the Big Blue is easily my favorite.
The track is based on a track from F-zero, another racing game series by Nintendo. That already makes this track a great addition, but there are a number of other mechanics in this course that make it a treat to race on.
The whole track is anti-gravity, there is plenty of speed boosts throughout the track, you can get coins from the energy pads, and each section feels distinct and fun in its own right.
All of these factors come together to make my personal favorite Mario Kart track.
Thanks for reading, feel free to share your thoughts on my picks, as well as other topics to cover in the future.