It has been two years since Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has been released for the Nintendo Switch, but I believe that it’s never too early to think about the next installment and what could be put into it. Looking at the new track list in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, I think there are plenty of really cool standout tracks such as Mario Circuit and Twisted Mansion, but I think there are also plenty of tracks that are uninspired in their theme such as Sweet Sweet Canyon (I think it’s a rip-off of Sugar Rush from Wreck-It-Ralph) and Sunshine Airport. The physical structure of the tracks are very unique and are full of mind boggling physics and creative turns, but I personally believe that Nintendo has out done themselves and can’t really up their game. Nintendo should go back to their roots with more basic tracks that have a lot of character, but don’t completely go off the walls with their creativity.
New Donk City
Super Mario Odyssey is one of the most heralded game in the Mario series since Super Mario Galaxy 2, and the exclusion of the game from Mario Kart entries is simply criminal. New Donk City is the most recognizable area from the game, and it can prove to be a good version of Toad’s Turnpike. Cars can zip in and out of the track and Jump Up, Superstar! would blast throughout the course. If Nintendo really wanted to be creative with this track, they can have racers drive up buildings, but I think sticking to the ground can both be classic and entertaining. This could also be an excuse to put Pauline in the game as a playable racer.
With the inclusion of Link in MK8D, the whole Legend of Zelda world is up for grabs. There are many games to choose from, but I think the most recent game, Breath of the Wild, would be a magical choice for a track. I think that this track should be one long course divided up into three sections as to allow lots of Breath of the Wild scenery to populate the track. The possibilities of this are endless. Racers could start in the Shrine of resurrection, climb up Shiekah towers, traverse mountains and valleys and end the race at the foot of Hyrule Castle which would be shrouded in the shadow of Calamity Ganon. The music would be difficult to implement as most of the music in the game is very calm and relaxing, the opposite of what Mario Kart is all about.
Just like Link, other Nintendo characters are included in the game like Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl. MK8D does include these characters, but it doesn’t include any course based on Splatoon. There are so many battlefields to choose from and most all of them will work as a Mario Kart track. The music fits right into a Mario Kart and the colors are vibrant and in your face. I would totally let Nintendo go bananas with the course shape and placement, because Splatoon is inherently off the wall and crazy.
Since Super Mario Galaxy was released in 2007, there have been 4 Mario Kart games that have been released. None of them are themed from Galaxy. One could argue that Rainbow Road is Galaxy themed, but Mario Kart has had Rainbow road since it’s first installment, and none of the Rainbow Road tracks specifically emphasize Galaxy.The closest to a Galaxy course is Mario Kart 7’s Rainbow Road, but nothing in the course really screams Galaxy. The amount of creativity that could be at play with a Galaxy course is unbelievable, as racers could jump from planet to planet, go into warp stars, or even race around the observatory if Nintendo got really lazy. Super Mario Galaxy is practically tailor-made to be a Mario Kart track, but it somehow is not the case at the moment.
(A good) Luigi’s Mansion
Luigi’s mansion is already represented as a track in Mario Kart, but I think that it really does a disservice to the eerie creativity of the Mansion. The DS Luigi’s Mansion track is very bland and is hardly in the Mansion, while most of the track takes place outside the Mansion on a dirt road with moving trees. There are winding hallways that could be filled with all kinds of ghosts that were featured in the original game and very cool visuals would be present not unlike the Twisted Mansion from MK8D. I may have a bias because the original Luigi’s Mansion is one of my top GameCube games, but what we got to represent the Mansion has thus far been lackluster.
More women represented tracks
In the latest edition of Mario Kart there are a record number of female characters in the roster of playable drivers. In fact there are roughly 14 female characters if you want your Mii to be female. There are female represented tracks that are in Mario Kart, but they are all seen as light-hearted, “easy” tracks that can be seen as soft or not as bad-ass as their male represented tracks like Mario Circuit or Waluigi Pinball. I believe that the female Mario characters deserve tracks that can be bad-ass but still be true to the character.
Yoshi’s Island/Wolly World
Yoshi has never had a track that really embodies everyone’s favorite green dinosaur (save for the track that is literally the outline of Yoshi, but nothing else that tells the racer that this is Yoshi’s track), and he has two games that come to mind that can really be exploited. First suggestion is Yoshi’s Island, which has a very attractive crayon based world and appealing visuals that would really pop on the switch. The other that would be really great is the beloved Wolly World. Much like Yoshi’s Island, Wolly World has some fantastic visuals that are incredibly vibrant and could play well into the Mario Kart track list.