Mario Kart Series Retrospective – Part 2


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

I’ve decided to do these two games together because they’re going to be nearly identical in terms of gameplay and features. There will be slight changes and I’ll try and note those. This game does carry over the ability to change your tires, glider, and body as well as bringing back bikes and adding ATVs.

Mario Kart 8 was the first game in the series to feature downloadable content. These packs were based on Mercedes-Benz, The Legend of Zelda, and Animal Crossing respectively. All of the DLC is included in Deluxe from the beginning (not including the Mercedes pack).

This game contains anti-gravity for the first time which opens up the possibility for loops and other things that haven’t been seen in a Mario Kart game before. The level design is among the most ambitious in the series and it really brings the series in a new direction. 

Mario Kart 8: Deluxe marks the return of the double item box as well as Shine Thief from Double Dash. There is also a new battle mode called Renegade Roundup that works like Cops and Robbers.

Mario Kart 8

 Mario Kart 8: Deluxe

Game Modes

Grand Prix mode received a big improvement over past games with the ability to play with up to 4 players at the same time. There was also a higher difficulty level of 200cc that was added in an update to Mario Kart 8.

Battle Mode did not have specific maps in Mario Kart 8 and wasn’t well-received. The existing race maps were shuffled around to accommodate Battle Mode. Mode specific maps return in Deluxe.

Mario Kart TV is a highlight editor that allows you to upload highlights to Miiverse or YouTube.

  • Grand Prix (1-4 Players) (50cc, 100cc, 150 cc, Mirror, 200cc [update])
  • Vs. (1-4 local Wii U, up to 8 local Switch)
  • Battle (1-4 Players)
  • Time Trial (1 Player)
  • Online (1-2 Players)
  • Mario Kart TV (replay editor)


Mario Kart 8Mario Kart 8 features the most characters in series history with 37 and Deluxe adds to that with and additional 5 for 42 total. There’s a ton of variety here and thisgame contains most almost every character a Nintendo fan could ask for in a Mario Kart game.

Default Racers

YoshiToadKoopa TroopaShy Guy
Baby MarioBaby LuigiBaby PeachBaby Daisy
BowserDonkey KongWarioWaluigi

Unlockable Racers

RosalinaMetal MarioLakituToadette
Baby Rosalina*Pink Gold Peach*Iggy Koopa*Roy Koopa*
Lemmy Koopa*Larry Koopa*Wendy O. Koopa*Ludwig von Koopa*
Morton Koopa Jr.*Mii**
* – Mario Kart debut** – Mii’s weight is determined by its height and weight.


Mario Kart 8: DeluxeDownloadable Racers (Included in Deluxe)

  • Tanooki Mario
  • Cat Peach
  • Link
  • Male Villager from Animal Crossing
  • Female Villager from Animal Crossing
  • Isabelle
  • Dry Bowser
  • 8 coloured Yoshis
  • 8 coloured Shy Guys

Deluxe Characters

  • King Boo
  • Bowser Jr.
  • Dry Bones
  • Inkling Girl
  • Inkling Boy
  • Gold Mario (unlockable)

Mario Kart 8: Deluxe


The tracks are the same in both versions except for the Battle Mode tracks which have been changed for the Switch version.

Mushroom CupFlower CupStar CupSpecial Cup
Mario Kart StadiumMario CircuitSunshine AirportCloudtop Cruise
Water ParkToad HarborDolphin ShoalsBone-Dry Dunes
Sweet Sweet CanyonTwisted MansionElectrodromeBowser’s Castle
Thwomp RuinsShy Guy FallsMount WarioRainbow Road
Shell CupBanana CupLeaf CupLightning Cup
Wii Moo Moo MeadowsGCN Dry Dry DesertDS Wario StadiumDS Tick-Tock Clock
GBA Mario CircuitSNES Donut Plains 3GCN Sherbet Land3DS Piranha Plant Slide
Piranha Plant Pipeway
DS Cheep Cheep BeachN64 Royal Raceway3DS Music Park
Melody Motorway
Wii Grumble Volcano
N64 Toad’s Turnpike3DS DK JungleN64 Yoshi ValleyN64 Rainbow Road
Egg CupTriforce CupCrossing CupBell Cup
GCN Yoshi CircuitWii Wario’s Gold MineGCN Baby Park3DS Neo Bowser City
Koopa City
Excitebike ArenaSNES Rainbow RoadGBA Cheese LandGBA Ribbon Road
Dragon DriftwayIce Ice OutpostWild WoodsSuper Bell Subway
Mute CityHyrule CircuitAnimal CrossingBig Blue

8 Only

Mario CircuitToad HarborWii Moo Moo MeadowsGCN Dry Dry Desert
N64 Toad’s TurnpikeGCN Sherbet LandSNES Donut Plains 3N64 Yoshi Valley

Deluxe Only

  • Battle Stadium
  • Wuhu Town (3DS)
  • Sweet Sweet Kingdom
  • Luigi’s Mansion (GCN)
  • Dragon Palace
  • Battle Course 1 (SNES)
  • Lunar Colony
  • Urchin Underpass


There were a couple nice additions to the item list in Mario Kart 8. The Boomerang Flower allows you to throw it to spin out other players and it will come back to you. The Pirahna Plant will eat players closest to you for a short period of time. The Super Horn emits a shockwave and can hit racers as well as things like the Spiny Shell. Crazy Eight adds an eighth item to the Super 7 power-up from Mario Kart 7.

Green ShellTriple Green ShellsRed ShellTriple Red Shells
BananaTriple BananasMushroomTriple Mushrooms
Golden MushroomFire FlowerStarBlooper
Bob-omb Spiny ShellLightningBullet Bill
Boomerang Flower (New)

Fake Item Box

Piranha Plant (New)

Feather (Deluxe)

Super Horn (New)

Boo (Deluxe)

Crazy 8 (New)



Mario Kart 8 and now Mario Kart 8: Deluxe are different types of Mario Kart games, but they’ve really perfected the formula of what this type of game is. Being able to take this one with you on the Switch now might make it one of the most popular in the series. It’s definitely a big draw for me.

That’s it for our Mario Kart series retrospective. 9 games have come and gone since 1992 and this series has shown no signs of slowing down. Hopefully, we’ll see Mario Kart 9 at some point in the next few years. It’s been quite an evolution so far and I can’t wait to see where the series goes from here!