Image via Nintendo

Every Mario Kart game, ranked best to worst

There's a level of expectation when it comes to the Mario Kart games.

Mario Kart is one of Nintendo’s most successful game series out there. Every time a new title releases, it is a big deal, likely ending up as one of the best-selling games on that Nintendo console. Everyone has their personal favorite Mario Kart games, but we can agree that all of these games are good for their own reasons. Here is every Mario Kart game ranked from best to worst.

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Related: The 10 best Mario Kart tracks ever, ranked

The best Mario Kart games

1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Image via Nintendo

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is unequivocally the most solid Mario Kart experience. Not only does it include all of the tracks and content from the Wii U version, but it fixes the Battle Mode by bringing it back to its roots. The Booster Course Pass also adds to the biggest list of race tracks, with remakes from throughout the series’ history, Mario Kart Tour courses, and even some completely original ones. There is so much content here that players can enjoy, and the fact that you can take it anywhere with the Switch just adds to why this is the best among the Mario Kart games.

2. Mario Kart: Double Dash

The biggest gimmick for GameCube’s Double Dash is that you choose two characters for one cart and swap between each one driving and throwing items. This is a feature that many fans have been clamoring to return to the series for years. Mixing and matching your team was one of the most fun things that would be even better today with an expanded roster of characters. It’s not just the duo racers. This game has arguably the best roster of original race tracks.

3. Mario Kart Wii

Image via Nintendo YouTube

Mario Kart on the Wii is the first time the series utilized motion steering, which was a given on the console. Whether you enjoy motion controls or not, there is a lot to love about this game. The tracks are pretty good, with plenty of classic remasters and a slightly changed Battle Mode that isn’t awful. The item selection here was decent as well, including one of the more unique items in the series’ history in the Thundercloud. There is also a massive modding community around this game still today, which definitely contributes to it being one of the best Mario Kart games.

4. Mario Kart 8

Image via Nintendo

The original release of Mario Kart 8 on the ill-destined Wii U was easily one of the best games on the console. At the time of its release, it likely had a chance to be near the top of this list, but what really takes it down is its awful Battle Mode. It’s generally considered the worst in the series, being placed on normal racing tracks and being an afterthought in development. Outside of that, these are some of the best racing tracks ever. Them being available on the much better console in the Switch, however, makes that the easy recommendation over the Wii U version.

5. Mario Kart 7

Image via Nintendo

Mario Kart 7 is the 3DS series entry that’s biggest claim to fame is the addition of gliders and underwater racing. Both of these features have become staples in future games, even though they don’t change a race that much. Outside of that, there’s a good list of tracks here. It’s another great one among Mario Kart games, but feels a little forgotten after the release of Mario Kart 8.

6. Mario Kart DS

Image via Nintendo

Mario Kart DS is the first mobile Mario Kart game that felt like a genuine Mario Kart experience on the go. It had 3D graphics that definitely don’t look great today, but there’s a level of charm to the game that we still adore. It has the unfortunate luck of not really including anything special to make it stand out. It’s just a really good standard Mario Kart racer. We also recommend looking into the modding community here.

7. Mario Kart 64

Image via Nintendo

While it hasn’t necessarily aged gracefully like many other games from this era, Mario Kart 64 is a classic game that people still go back to and enjoy. This was the first 3D game in the series and was a massive step forward for Battle Mode. With the Nintendo 64 being such a focused multiplayer console, this was the perfect addition to its library. While it appears lower on the list for the entire series, there are plenty of people that hold nostalgic love for this game.

8. Mario Kart Super Circuit

Image via Nintendo

The first mobile Mario Kart was released on the Game Boy Advance. While Super Circuit included the same pixel art characters from Mario Kart 64, it plays with a 2D style similar to the SNES original game and includes those original tracks. For being a racer on the Game Boy Advance, it’s a good game and the highest-rated Mario Kart game ever on MetaCritic. That being said, you can get more enjoyment out of all of the above games.

9. Super Mario Kart

Image via Nintendo

While there is a portion of players that swear the first game in the series is still the best, it is hard for us to say Super Mario Kart can go anywhere near the top of this list. There is an argument for the importance of the game that started such a beloved series, but it’s hard to go back and really enjoy the 2D racer when you can play everything above it on this list. Don’t get us wrong, it’s still a good game, but there is a long list of SNES games we would rather go back to before this one.

10. Mario Kart Tour

Mario Kart Tour Ninja Tour
Image via Nintendo

Mario Kart Tour is the series’ first entry on mobile phones and doesn’t feel like a Mario Kart game. While we love the idea of a Mario Kart game getting constant updates and new costumes for each character, we don’t like the vertical screen gameplay, loot box rewards, and real-world-inspired tracks. We actually highly prefer playing these tracks on Mario Kart 8 Deluxe rather than on Tour. It just doesn’t feel like the other Mario Kart games to us.

11. Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit

Mario Kart Live
Image via Nintendo

While we can enjoy the uniqueness of Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, your situation needs to be so perfect to enjoy it. You get a real-life remote-control cart that you control with your Switch and create the track by setting cardboard markers around your place. However, not only is this more expensive than anything else on this list, but you need a very wide open area to truly enjoy this for longer than 15 minutes. It’s a really cool idea and works well, but there are a lot of outside factors to consider when all you want to do is play a fun Mario Kart game.


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Cande Maldonado
Though Cande started her journey in the video game industry as a localization specialist six years ago, she soon realized that her true calling was to annoy NPCS, smash virtual pottery, and complete every side quest available in RPGs. Throwing that useless degree out of the window, she has been writing professionally for the past three years ever since. Her passion for games dates to 2006, when she mounted a Chocobo for the first time. Under Nintendo and Square Enix's chokehold, she will willingly pour hours upon hours into reaching 100% completion in the longest roleplaying games ever made. But hey, who needs fresh air and sunlight when you can just live in Ivalice?
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