Mario Kart 8: The Definitive Ranking of All 32 Tracks

Friday, July 11th, 2014

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Who doesn’t love Mario Kart? Well, maybe the odd weirdo out there doesn’t, but we sure as heck do.

The latest installment in the series has been out for over a month now. That’s pretty much the perfect amount of time for us to deliver to you: The Definitive Ranking of All 32 Tracks from Mario Kart 8… under oprainfall’s guidelines… or more like this writer’s guidelines.

Mario Kart 8 | oprainfall

Image courtesy of Brodie Drayton-Mills

It’s pretty simple. The list will start from what I believe are the worst tracks moving up to the best. You’re probably not going to agree with me about most of these, but hey ho, it’s all part of the fun.

Gentlemen, and gentle ladies, start your engines!

32) Dry Dry Desert

Mario Kart 8 - Dry Dry Desert (GCN) | oprainfall

‘Greeeeeugh!’ That’s the sound I make anytime someone picks Dry Dry Desert in an online race. The remake of the GameCube track is so painstakingly dull, as was the original, that I almost forgot to actually rank it. Even the upgrade in visuals can’t save this bland, monotonous course. The music’s not much cop either*, which makes Dry Dry Desert truly worthy of last place.

*ED. NOTE: British-ism for “not very good”

31) Toad’s Turnpike

Mario Kart 8 - Toad's Turnpike (N64) | oprainfall

Another painstakingly dull track that got the remake treatment. Whilst the boost in glorious HD made the cityscape a lot prettier, it unfortunately didn’t improve on the excitement factor. The races go on for too long and it lacks any thrills, even with trying to avoid all the traffic. I was never a fan of the N64 original and reliving it hasn’t changed my mind. Boo you, Toad and your Turnpike. Boo you.

30) Bone Dry Dunes

Mario Kart 8 - Bone Dry Dunes | oprainfall

The first new track limps in at an embarrassing 30th place. Bone Dry Dunes continues to prove that no-one likes desert type tracks. NO-ONE! It does look prettier than Dry Dry Desert, and seeing Toad’s sailing through the sand dunes on pirate ships is quite entertaining. But that doesn’t make the actual race anymore fun. Next!

29) Grumble Volcano

Mario Kart 8 - Grumble Volcano (Wii) | oprainfall

Grumble is the key word here. Out of all the Wii tracks they could’ve brought back, they went and bloody chose the most annoying. Some might think it’s cool to have chunks of the track fall away with each lap. You might think it makes it more edgy and requires more skill to navigate the tricky course. Well, it doesn’t. It’s just plain irritating. And no, this has nothing to do with my inability in coming higher than 11th place every time I play. They should change the name to Go Away Volcano… *looks smug*.

28) Sherbet Land

Mario Kart 8 - Sherbet Land | orpainfall

Oh dear. When it comes to retro tracks, Mario Kart: Double Dash!! didn’t fare too well. The second, and final, GameCube track to be remade stalls at 28. My main issue with Sherbet Land is that I found it to be instantly forgettable, even when I played it on Double Dash!! Yes, it’s got some sort of whimsical vibe about it, but other than that, I don’t have much more to say. Seriously, Nintendo. No Wario’s Coliseum? That would’ve been amazing with the anti-gravity. Think, McFly, think!

27) Dolphin Shoals

Mario Kart 8 - Dolphin Shoals | oprainfall

I have to admit, I do feel pretty bad placing Dolphin Shoals so near the bottom. The music that accompanies the track is one of the best. Visually it is absolutely gorgeous, especially when you come out of the water and onto the anti gravity section of the race. But, I just don’t enjoy elongated underwater sections. They frustrate me to no end. Plus, every time I partake in a race I get completely shafted, which results in me storming off in a huff until I can calm down. EVERY TIME! I’m not joking.

26) Tick-Tock Clock

Mario Kart 8 - Tick Tock Clock (DS) | oprainfall

This is another track that I find to be largely forgettable. In fact, it wasn’t until it’s resurgence that I remembered it being a track from Mario Kart DS. The idea of racing on the innards and faces of clocks is quite novel, but, again, it lacks any real excitement for me to care too much about it. Although, using the clock hands as risky short cuts is pretty cool.

25) Music Park

Mario Kart 8 - Music Park (3DS) | oprainfall

Anything that reminds you of Wii Music should instantly be ostracised. That’s it. Some nice corners for drifting, though.

Up next, 24 through 17.

About David Rawlings

David Rawlings, or ‘Rawky’ as we like to call him, joined the Operation Rainfall Campaign at the beginning. He’s British and found solace with us as he was able to understand our pain about Nintendo and their localizing faux pas. He’s a big fan of the letter ‘U’ and refuses to remove them from words, even though we constantly ask him to. He also believes it’s about time Princess Daisy got kidnapped.

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  • Daniel Gurfinkiel

    While I’m well aware that this is only an opinion list, after all, I couldn’t disagree more with some of the picks.

    For one, Donkey Kong Jungle is criminally low on the list. For me, it’s the second best track after Mount Wario. Also, Bone Dry Runes is a much better track than they give it credit for. Same for Sweet Sweet Canyon, really, which is a criminally underappreciated track.

    Also, Wario Stadium is definitely too low on the list, for me. It’s my third favorite track! It’s fast, it’s furious, it’s full of turns, twists, and boosts and jumps. It has everything. To have Moo Moo Meadows, Twisted Mansion and Cloudtop Cruise all above that one makes me think the author doesn’t appreciate hard tracks, and instead prefers more plain and predictable ones.

    N64 rainbow road above the new Rainbow Road? No way, man.

    Donut Plains, Electrodome and Royal Raceway are, indeed, awesome tracks. I can agree with those being high on the list. Toad Harbor, not so much.

    Mount Wario is number 1, as expected. It’s everyone’s absolute favorite with good reason, including mine.

    All in all, I think Mario Kart 8 actually has a superb selection of tracks. I actually love racing on all of them, except Toad’s Turnpike, which is the only one that is truly bad, boring, plain and uninspired. Which is quite weird, considering it was easily one of the best tracks in Mario Kart 64. Every other track in the games ranges from “Good” to “Awesome”, for me.

    • David Rawlings

      It’s cool that you don’t agree with a lot of the choices. That’s why we have opinion lists. I wouldn’t expect anyone to fully agree with my placements. I do like challenging tracks, but I just think this version of Wario Stadium is weaker compared to previous ones. Thanks for your comment though.

  • Karli Winata

    Everytime I jump off the ramp at Toad Harbor, my head instantly plays “All I Want,” and I instantly look for floating dollar signs on the side of the road.

  • Adibobea9

    You’re right, I don’t agree with you about most of these, but it’s your list. Luckily I have a better opinion…

  • Another_Unknown

    Glad to see a list with a SNES and a GBA track in the top 10. Donuts Plains 3 is an awesome track, alongside with Donuts plains 2. Just one track from SNES and one from GBA isn’t enough. There a lot of good tracks from these games that don’t appear in the retro cup, like Ribbon Road, Broken Pier, RIverside Park, Donuts Plains 2, Vanilla lake 1 and 2, etc.

  • Can someone tell me where to find those images? I know they’re from Nintendo’s facebook or twitter, but Ii can’t find them anywhere

  • Harry Edmunds-Bergin

    Am I the only one that thinks N64 Royal Raceway is the worst track in the game (excluding Excitebike Arena in DLC)? Toad Harbour and Donut Plains 3 are overrated, Dolphin Shoals, Piranha Plant Pipeway and DK Jungle are way too low. Melody Motorway is underrated aswell. As understandable as it is ranking Mount Wario #1, I feel its 2nd best to Electrodrome. Another track you haven’t given enough credit for is Tick-Tock Clock. Abseloute Classic!

  • -D

    My only problem (yes, I’m a little late) is the obvious track placing. My Wario is one of my least favourite tracks because it is REALLY overrated and I find it boring is all hell. Dry Dry Desert is really fun. I enjoy the design and the tornados from the original were quite a hassle. Thank god that they’re gone! Anyway, great list ?