Mario Kart (Series) Review

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Posted: 6 months ago, last updated 4 weeks ago.

Author: Andy Robertson.

OverviewOverview

Mario Kart is a go-kart racing game on Nintendo systems. You race against other Nintendo characters around different circuits, picking up power ups, attacks and speed boosts. It is frantic and chaotic, but still requires skills to do well at.

Mariokart tries to balance things between different ability players. At the back you go a little faster and get better power ups. This results in good races for a range of players. Even so, experience players can stay ahead by slipstreaming other karts, skidding around corners to get a boost and learning shortcuts.
  • Super Mario Kart (1992) on SNES with two players.
  • Mario Kart 64 (1996) on N64 with four players split screen.
  • Mario Kart: Super Circuit (2001) GBA
  • Mario Kart: Double Dash (2003) Gamecube with two players on one kart
  • Mario Kart DS (2005) DS with online multiplayer
  • Mario Kart Wii (2008) Wii with motion controls
  • Mario Kart 7 3DS (2011) with 3D visuals and flight
  • Mario Kart 8 (2014) Wii U with anti-grav racing and flight
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017) Switch
  • Mario Kart Tour (2019) iOS

DetailsDetails

Rating: PEGI 3+, ESRB EVERYONE

Release Date: 27/08/1992, updated in 2018

Platforms: GameCube, Nintendo 2DS/3DS, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Switch and iOS.

Genres: Action and Racing.

 

CommitmentCommitment

Players: You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 16 players online. On most Mario Kart games you can play 4 player split screen on one system. On Mario Kart 8 you can play online with up to 16 other people.

CostsCosts

This game is free to start playing, but requires payment to continue at some point. Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience. This includes a regular subscription fee (known as a 'battle/season pass') to unlock access to reward items and other aspects of the game.

Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U offered in-game purchases, packs and a season pass for additional characters, tracks and vehicles. These are all included in the Switch version of the game Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This game on Wii U and Switch supports Nintendo's amiibo, figurines and cards that can be purchased separately to unlock in-game items.

Mario Kart Tour on iOS enables you to start for free if you link your Nintendo account, it then offers in-game purchases to advance and upgrade in the game.

You will need Nintendo Online (must be 18 to purchase, but can be any age to use) to play online with Nintendo Switch.

Multiplayer on DS or 3DS is available with one copy of the game, via Download Play feature.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

This game was rated PEGI 3. This game offers in-game purchases.

This game has been rated ESRB EVERYONE.


Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.

AccessibilityAccessibility

While all the games offer some difficulty settings and control options, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Switch offers the widest range. The game supports accessibility (as outlined by Special Effect's video).

Can opt for steering via D-Pad, Left Stick or Tilt. Smart steering assistance ensures you don't end up stuck banging into the barrier. Tilt to steer enables you to just tilt the controller to race. Auto accelerate enables you to have the kart always accelerate without having to hold down a button. These options combine to enable this to be playable by quite young gamers. You can take this further by setting the game up to be played with one button to trigger collected items.

Difficulty

How you can adjust the challenge of play, and assistance the game offers when you fail or get stuck.

Customise Difficulty: Customise different aspects of the game.

Adjustable Between Levels: You can adjust the difficulty between levels/rounds.

Adjust Speed: Adjust the overall speed of the game, or rewind play for a second attempt, to ease reaction times.

Assistance

View Control Mapping: You can view a map of controls during play.

Assistance When Stuck: The game notices if you get stuck and provides assistance, such as skipping levels, hints or tutorials.

Assistance With Controls: You can get the game to assist aiming, steering, reloading, jumping, running etc.

Rubber Banding: Trailing players are dynamically given an advantage, or the game gets easier if you die frequently.

Practice Area: You can practice freely without opponents or time pressures.

Reading

How much reading or listening comprehension is required, and how accessible this is.

Simple Minimal Reading: Minimal reading is required.

Some Dialogue is Voiced: Some of the game dialogue and narrative is voice acted.

Controls

How you control the game, different options for alternative inputs and whether you can remap these settings to suit your needs.

Gamepad

Required inputs for the game, or that can be setup with remapping.

1 Button: Can play with single button.

Multiple Buttons & Single Stick: Can play with multiple buttons and a stick.

Motion Controls Available: You can use motion controls, tilting the controller to steer for example.

Select Preset Controller Mappings: Select preset button layouts.

Holding Down Buttons Optional: Holding down buttons not required or can be turned off or switched to toggling the action on and off.

Rapid Pressing Optional: Quick, repeated button pressing not required or can be skipped or disabled.

Vibration Optional: Controller vibration not used in the game or you can disable it.

Image

How you can adjust the visuals to suit your needs, and offer additional information if you can't hear the game.

Bright Colourful Palette: Game uses bright colours and is generally high contrast.

Audio Cues for Visual Events: Audio is provided to indicate visual events.

Clear Interface: The game navigation, maps and information are clear to read, large or adjustable.

Audio

How you can adjust the audio of the game and whether audio cues compensate for aspects of the game that are hard to see.

Balance Audio Levels: Set music and game sound effects separately.

Visual Cues for Audio Events: Text or other visual indicators of audio events.

System Settings

Nintendo Switch has some built-in features, including a lockable zoom, that can be used on all games. iOS has a very extensive suite of accessibility settings including ways to navigate with voice and comprehensive screen reading, though most of the features don't work with games... read more about system accessibility settings.

Supported by PlayabilityInitiative and accessibility contributors: @GeekDadGamer


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Games Like Mario Kart

The following games are like Mario Kart. They address a similar topic or offer a similar way to play. They are good options to play next and also good alternatives to Mario Kart for younger age ratings.

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