Mario Kart 8 (JP) is a racing game developed primarily by Nintendo EAD, with Namco Bandai Holdings assisting, for the Wii U. It is the eighth installment in the main Mario Kart series (hence the game's name) and, including the arcade games, the thirteenth overall. This installment is the follow-up game of the Nintendo 3DS title Mario Kart 7. Like other Nintendo 3DS and Wii U games, this game can be purchased both physically at retail and digitally through the Nintendo eShop, with the digital version requiring 4949.8 MB (approx. 4.83 GB) of memory to be installed. The game was released on the last three days of May 2014 worldwide.
A prominent new addition is anti-gravity, allowing players to drive on almost any surface. Elements from Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7 are reused, such as 12-racer fields, Bikes and 2-Player online from Mario Kart Wii; and gliding, underwater driving, and kart customizing from Mario Kart 7. In addition, ATVs join the returning karts and bikes as a new class of vehicle. The game also features more detail in courses, specifically retro tracks, which appear more redesigned than their original appearances. The game is also the best selling title for the Wii U, selling 8 million copies as of September 30, 2016, surpassing sales of both Mario Kart: Super Circuit and Mario Kart: Double Dash!!.
On November 7, 2017, Nintendo has terminated the Miiverse service, which makes it impossible for players to use this game's Miiverse stamps, upload highlight reels onto YouTube, and create new online tournaments (though it is still possible to attend the pre-existing ones).
The gameplay maintains the traditional elements of previous Mario Kart games, mostly from the two recent installments on the Wii and Nintendo 3DS respectively. Players pick a character of three weight classes and drive vehicles of varying stats, strengths, and weaknesses around an obstacle course-like racetrack, in an attempt to finish first of the twelve racers, the number of racers used in Mario Kart Wii. During the race, racers can pick up items from Item Boxes, where the probability of receiving items is dependent on the racers' distance from the frontrunner; for example, first place typically receives defense items such as Bananas and Green Shells, while racers at intermediate distance from the lead receive more powerful offense items such as Triple Red Shells and Fire Flowers and racers far from the lead receive items that lead to an increase in speed or the possibility of going off-road without losing speed, such as the Super Star or Bullet Bill, to help compensate their distance. Players receive an amount of points depending on the position they end up with. Whichever player has the most amount of points wins the entire race.
Karts, which feature similar designs from Mario Kart 7, can be customized once again, alongside the returning bikes, which handle similar to the karts now and can only perform a wheelie via a boost, and the newly introduced ATVs. The hang-glider and underwater mechanics also return from Mario Kart 7, as well as Coins, with the player being able to collect up to ten in one race, and automatic drifting activated by steering in a direction for a certain amount of time, with a turning capability that, unless a Wii Remote without motion controls is used, matches the one while drifting (and even surpasses that in the case of sport bikes) and the ability to slowly charge Mini-Turbo and Super Mini-Turbo boosts, added in this game. . Tricks and the ability to look behind also return in this game.
The newest feature for the series is anti-gravitational segments that not only allow for more dynamic track design, but also for racers to drive across walls, ceilings, and other seemingly unusual places. When in anti-gravity, if a racer bumps into another racer, the kart spins rather than just bumping and both racers receive a speed boost. This is called a "Spin Boost".
Two types of bikes return: standard bikes, that perform regular drifts, and sport bikes, that lean toward the inside of the turn instead of drifting. While leaning instead of drifting, sport bikes lose less speed, but have a lower turning capability with respect to outside drifting vehicles, this being a feature seen in Mario Kart Wii as well.
The game also features Wii U GamePad integration. In addition to the standard Off-TV Play, players also have the option of displaying the course map, and when neither the television gameplay nor the map are being displayed, the GamePad can be used as a horn button. Players have the option to toggle between these features at will. The GamePad can also be used to toggle on and off the gyroscopic steering, and in its default display and when displaying the map the GamePad also displays the current rankings.
There is also Miiverse integration, which allows players to share their replay videos and comment on others' videos, in a feature called Mario Kart TV. Another change is that in 2-player mode, the screen splits vertically instead of the horizontally in the other console Mario Kart games, a feature that was originally intended to be in Mario Kart 64 but was removed from the final game. Additionally, if the player falls off the edge of the track, Lakitu will pick them up and drop them back on to the track more quickly when compared to how he did this in past installments. This makes glitches involving falling into areas impossible.
Point management works similar to Mario Kart Wii, except that racers below 3rd place get an extra point. Below is a chart of the point spread comparison between these eight games:
|Point Spread Comparisons (GP)|
|Super Mario Kart |
Mario Kart 64
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
|Mario Kart: Double Dash!! |
Mario Kart DS
|Mario Kart Wii||15||12||10||8||7||6||5||4||3||2||1||0|
|Mario Kart 7||10||8||6||5||4||3||2||1||—||—||—||-|
|Mario Kart 8||15||12||10||9||8||7||6||5||4||3||2||1|
| Grove-green bg signifies victory results (great clapping, character(s) cheering), unique finish music, and best after-race music
Yellow-limegreen bg signifies moderate results (mild clapping, moderate character reaction), same music in Wi-Fi as winner (different in MKDS GP)
Normal bg signifies losing results, losing music (no clapping, character(s) showing sad expression); - means not available
In Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64, and Mario Kart Super Circuit, 5th or worse forces the player to retry the race. If the racer fares this badly four times, the Grand Prix must be started over (except in Mario Kart 64, where the player gets infinite retries). Starting with Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, to recent installments including this one, the Grand Prix goes forth normally.
These are in order they appear on the character select screen. There are 36 total playable characters in Mario Kart 8, consisting of 16 default characters, 14 unlockable characters, and 6 characters obtainable by purchasing the DLC packages. Including the add-on characters, there are 14 new playable characters, being the seven Koopalings (indicated by an * in the gallery), Baby Rosalina, Pink Gold Peach (indicated by an **), Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach, Link, Villager, and Isabelle. Even though there are a total of nine groups of characters sharing the same statistics, the official site divides the initial 30 characters in three weight classes dependent on the weight of the character: light, medium, and heavy. Unlike other Mario Kart games (barring the use of glitches), multiple players can use the same characters, both in local and online play.
The add-on packs contain three new characters each, (see here for more info) but if both are purchased, the player will gain access to eight new colors for Yoshi and Shy Guy as well. Updates have been released that allowed suits to be unlocked by using amiibo, which allow Miis to resemble characters such as Samus Aran and Sonic the Hedgehog.
Available from the start
Two different DLC packs have been released for Mario Kart 8.
The Legend of Zelda x Mario Kart 8
Animal Crossing x Mario Kart 8
Released on April 23, it includes for $7.99
ItemsThere are a multitude of different items listed below which can be obtained from item boxes scattered around the track, which randomly generate items to the drivers according to their position in the race. They can be used to help the drivers, or disrupt their opposition with varying effects.
The items written in bold are newly introduced in this game.
Customzation returns from Mario Kart 7, now with alternative Bikes and ATVs in addition to Karts as the main body. Except for the golden parts and DLC, they are randomly unlocked through getting multiples of 50 coins.
There are various game modes for Mario Kart 8. All modes available on single player (some also on local and online multiplayer) are listed here.
Mario Kart 8s Grand Prix works similar to past installments. Like past games the 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc engine classes are available by default, and completing 150cc unlocks Mirror; for the former three, however, Grand Prix rankings carry over to the lower engine classes after being completed on a higher engine class. In addition, and for the first time in the series, a 200cc engine class has been added as of the version 4.0 update, which is available by default alongside Mirror as of version 4.1. Players choose a cup, which takes them through four consecutive races of set order in that cup. Only the Mushroom and Shell Cups (and the DLC cups) are available at the start of the game, with the others being unlocked after completing the cup before, and are available in every engine class after being unlocked. Players now have the option to do a multiplayer Grand Prix up to four players, unlike in most previous home console Mario Kart games, where only up to two players can race in Grand Prix.
Time Trial mode lets the player complete a selected course in the fastest time possible. Among the other features, in addition to viewing ghost data, players can upload their own ghost data onto Miiverse, which other players can download and comment on. In addition, beating one of Nintendo's Staff Ghosts in a race earns the player a stamp based on the course they raced on which they can use in Miiverse posts. Leaderboards as seen in Mario Kart Wii also return.
VS. Mode can be played locally with up to four players. Players can set rules such as which items appear, the difficulty level of the CPUs, how many races to play, and whether to race on a Team or race Solo. Players can also set how the courses appear, choose a course after one is finished, or play all tracks randomly or in order. In this game, Mirror Mode appears as a default engine class, even if it isn't unlocked in Grand Prix. The point system is the same as the Grand Prix.
Battle mode now features race tracks remixed to fit battle mode rather than containing all-new separate arenas. Balloon Battle can be played in teams or in free-for-all mode. It combines survival battle mode from Mario Kart DS and earlier installments and the timed points battle mode introduced in Mario Kart Wii; all players start with three points and three balloons each. Successfully making an opponent lose a balloon awards the player a point, and losing a balloon through any method will cause the player to lose a point. Balloons can never be regained (unless one is stolen from another player with a Mushroom or a Super Star), and if all balloons are lost, points can no longer be lost or gained. Defeated players can still drive and attack players as a Ghost, although they cannot receive points. Players can also now adjust the time limit from one to five minutes, and they can set up to 32 rounds in set intervals.
As with Mario Kart Wii, one or two local players can play over the Internet against other remote players. Players can race and battle with up to eleven other players from around the world or in their region, and can join and race with friends from the Friends menu. Finally, players are able to join a worldwide room using custom rules. Players can also set up their own rooms for friends and can race with custom rules, such as engine class, whether items are on or off, vehicle types available, control method, whether to play with computer players or not. As of version 3.0, players can also toggle whether they want to play on just the original 32 courses, the original courses and one of the two sets of DLC courses, or every available course by pressing the plus button after selecting Worldwide or Regional, as well as when setting up a room for friends. When playing online worldwide or regional, players once again earn VR points based upon their ranking at the end of a race or battle like in Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7; like in Mario Kart 7 a player's VR starts at 1000, though like Mario Kart Wii players have different VR rankings for races and battles. Between 1000 and over 4000 VR when playing Worldwide or Regional VS. Race, players race at 100cc, and starting at over 5000 VR, players race at 150cc.
Players can also create their own tournaments, similar to the communities from Mario Kart 7. When creating a tournament, players can choose an icon and a name for their tournament as well as set the rules, including engine class, whether to play in teams or not, whether to have items or not, vehicle types, whether there are computer players or not, and, as of version 3.0, available courses (the original 32 courses, every course including DLC courses, just the DLC courses, or, as of version 4.0, the original courses and one of the DLC packs). Players can also set times in which the tournament is available (weekly, daily, or between a fixed period and at what day and time the tournament begins and ends), the number of races before scores are totaled, and whether the groups shuffle after every four matches or not. Finally, the availability can be set, including whether a code is required, or if it is open to anybody worldwide or regional, and whether only players of certain ratings can play. When looking for a tournament, players can enter a code, search by type, or look at active tournaments. In addition, playing in a tournament that allows the DLC tracks to be selected requires purchasing the DLC before the player can enter.
After entering a room, players can choose one of three predetermined tracks or "Random", which chooses one of any of the game's tracks at random if the player's option is ultimately chosen (this is to prevent people from selecting the same course repeatedly). When playing with friends, however, players can select from any of the tracks available depending on the settings. Once every player has selected a track, a roulette selects one of these options as the track to be raced on.
Mario Kart TV
Mario Kart TV is an Internet-based feature in which players can view and share highlights of their and others' race and battle highlights. In the Mario Kart TV menu, the game automatically saves the twelve most recent race and battle replays, and the player can favorite up to six at one time. Players can view and edit theirs and others' replays by changing the duration of the replay and the focus characters and actions and can slow down, speed up, and rewind the replay while watching. Players could also share their highlights on Miiverse and YouTube; only up to 60 seconds of video could be uploaded at one time, however.
The amiibo functionality is racing suits of the character for the player's Miis
Here are amiibo supported
With an update in April, 9 more are supported
Development for Mario Kart 8 started in 2012. Series producer Hideki Konno first revealed that he wanted to produce a Mario Kart game for the Wii U in late 2011. A Wii U Mario Kart game was later revealed to be in development in the January 2013 Nintendo Direct and confirmed to be shown off at E3 that year, with the game being officially revealed during the E3 2013 Nintendo Direct.
Some ideas that were scrapped in Mario Kart 8 included a drill that made drivers drive into subterranean depths. The idea was scrapped because the developers thought it was not as interesting as the anti-gravity idea. The anti-gravity concept stemmed from the Wii U being a powerful console, and with the upgraded hardware, the developers wanted to make courses with a 3D plane in mind rather than the 2D plane as the other tracks in the Mario Kart series. The title, Mario Kart 8, also stemmed from the anti-gravity mechanic as, in addition to being the eighth main installment in the series, the "8" used in the official logo was stylized to resemble a Möbius strip.
Promotion and advertising
Collaboration with Pennzoil
Nintendo and Pennzoil teamed up to promote Mario Kart 8 by hosting an event in which participants were able to race on real-life modified karts on a specially-designed track. Icons representing some of the items in the game were spread in the course as well.
Bonus/Free game promotion
Between May 30 and July 31, 2014, Club Nintendo members in North America, Europe, and Australia who registered Mario Kart 8 could receive a free download code for one of several Wii U games. In Europe and Australia, players had the choice of: Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U, Game & Wario, Pikmin 3, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Sonic Lost World, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Wii Party U, The Wonderful 101, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate while North American players were limited to only New Super Mario Bros. U, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Pikmin 3, and Wii Party U.
Mario Kart 8 has received mostly favorable reviews, and has been lauded as one of the best games in the series to date. General praise has been given to the game's graphics, the tracks, the music, and the overall gameplay (both single-player and multi-player). The addition of anti-gravity has also been praised, as has the online mode. The roster, however, notably the amount of baby and metal characters and the lack of previous racer veterans has received some criticism. The battle mode, however, has a universal negative reaction among reviewers, with most of reviewers preferring the traditional battle modes that previous Mario Kart games did rather than this iteration. The incorporation of the Wii U GamePad has also been a point of contention.
Over the weekend of its launch, Mario Kart 8 sold 1.2 million units worldwide, making it the fastest-selling Wii U title so far and the best selling title for the Wii U as well, selling approximately 2.82 million copies worldwide as of July 30, 2014. As of September 30, the game sold over 3.49 million copies worldwide. In January 2015, it was announced that over 1.7 million total copies (both physical and digital) had been sold in the United States alone, and by March sales had reached 1.9 million. As of March 31, 2015, the game has sold 5.11 million copies worldwide. By the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016, sales have reached to 7.24 million. At September 30, 2016, Mario Kart 8 has reached 8 million sales, including digital, physical, and bundle sales; as of March 31, 2018, it reached 8.42 million, although it was exceeded by its Nintendo Switch port Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which sold 9.22 million units.
Mario Kart 8 won two awards at The Game Awards 2014, being the "Best Family Game" and the "Best Sports/Racing Game".
References to other games
References in later games
Pre-release and unused content
Mario Kart 8 has featured several changes from earlier builds to the final build of the game. For example, Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7 mechanics were used as placeholders in the E3 2013 build of the game. Several small changes, such as Twisted Mansion originally being called "Boo House" and Toad Harbor's racing banner originally having a Galaxy Airline logo were present in earlier trailers of the game. Several of the music featured in earlier builds, such as Mario Circuit's music, was more synthesized than orchestrated in final build of the game.