Mario Kart 8 is a video game developed and published by Nintendo. It combines features from earlier Mario Kart games and is just the second game in the series that features the ability for two players to ride on a kart: one to drive and one to use items. Mario Kart 8 is the eighth game of the series overall.

New Features

As every new Mario Kart game, Mario Kart 8 shows several new features, granting a new style of playing for the users. In Mario Kart 8, there might not be as many new features to the game, but several features are returning.

The biggest change of all is that you will start out with four cups: Mushroom, Flower, Metal and Star. Special Cup is still unlockable. The retro cups will still be unlocked and there will be four cups: Banana, Shell, Leaf, Lightning and for this Mario Kart only, there will be a Rainbow Cup full of previous Rainbow Roads. For future games, Nintendo has announced that there will be an Ice Cup for icy courses, Sand Cup for deserts and Fire Cup for Bowser Castle courses.

One of the other notable changes featured in the game is the point system given to the racers after a competition in Grand Prix mode. You have the option to have an eight player race, a twelve player race, a sixteen player race or a twenty-four player race.

There can be up to sixteen people playing a game together at once that you know, using Game Center or your license.

You can also set bets for people who will win the race. If you get it right, you gain an extra point or two in the Grand Prix or Vs. standings. If you get it wrong, you can set a disadvantage in the game for the player, such as getting cursed mushrooms in 3 different points of the game, losing points or getting a delayed start.

A smaller change is that you can unlock changing some characters colors. You can change Yoshi, Birdo, Fly Guy, Kamek, Dry Bones, Dry Bowser, Luma, Hammer Bro, Toad, Koopa Troopa, Paratroopa and Shy Guy's colors, just like in Mario Superstar Baseball and Mario Super Sluggers.

Characters, Mirror Mode, Special Mode, Mission Mode, Internet Mode, retro Battle Mode courses, items, vehicles, color customization and Karts/Bikes are all unlockables in Mario Kart 8.

A new battle mode, Traffic Panic features karts lined up in traffic, backed up from bumper to bumper. You need to be the first person to beat all the traffic to win. Options include traffic lights (if you go through a red one, you get a disadvantage thanks to the police) and rainy-snowy-sunny modes (rainy and snowy are both very slippery).

New characters include Professor Elvin Gadd, who will be making his first appearance since 2005. Luma and Fly Guy will also be making her Mario Kart debut. New items include the Iceball, Propeller Mushroom, Cursed Mushroom and Metal, who will have most of Boo's powers seen in Mario Kart DS, Wii and 7 (stealing items).

Removed Features

Gliders and driving underwater, features from Mario Kart 7, have all been removed. Nintendo said "Mario Kart 8 will just feature karts and not gliding and submarines" in a response to the change. Bikes were a late add to the game.

Bowser Jr. will be removed and Koopa Kid will appear in his first game since Mario Party 6. Bowser Jr. will not appear in anymore games, as Koopa Kid will re-replace him.

Returning Features

Players have the option to play with one driver or a driver and someone throwing items, being the first game since Mario Kart: Double Dash. Furthermore, there is a return of the selection of karts: Every kart has specific stats that distinguishes from the others, as well capturing their respective character's style; for instance, Mario's kart, the Red Fire. Double item blocks will also be returning in Mario Kart 8. There will be a total of 50 karts to choose per character and their size.

Previous characters, King Boo and Petey Piranha will both make their returns after their last appearance in Mario Kart Double Dash.

Cart customization from Mario Kart 7 is returning, there will be a wide selection of karts, as seen in Mario Kart DS and a huge set of characters, as seen in Mario Kart Wii. Missions, from Mario Kart DS, will be returning.

Drifting from Mario Kart Wii will also be returning to Mario Kart 8. Performing a mini-turbo depends on how long players can hold the button for drifting and the angle at which they drift. Drifting can be used strategically and involves managing the drifts to avoid losing speed.

Another Mario Kart Wii feature, Tricks, are yet again a part of the gameplay, but can be used in regular karts instead of the now-non-existant gliders. When drivers perform a trick and lands successfully, they are able to gain a momentary boost of speed. Wheelies also return and can still only be performed when drivers ride bikes.

Motorbikes are re-introduced in this game. Peach, Daisy, and Rosalina are in an alternate outfit while driving motorbikes, as opposed to their traditional outfit while riding karts. Although Wario does have a biker outfit of his own from the WarioWare series, he does not wear it when driving motorbikes.

Mega Mushroom, Fake Item Box and POW Block all return in Mario Kart 8, after being absent in Mario Kart 7. Waluigi and most of the unlockable characters return after not being in Mario Kart 7 too.


There will be a total of 20 characters to originally start out with and there will be another 16 unlockable characters.

Player Image Default Partner Special Item Unlockable Colors
Baby Luigi BabyLuigibeinghimself Baby Mario Vacuum: Sucks any incoming items and sends it behind the kart.
Baby Mario Baby Mario NSMBDIY Baby Luigi Chain Chomp: Advances past everyone in a wild and grueling manner.
Birdo Birdo MP9 Yoshi Birdo Eggs: Can hit others. If hit, several items come out.
Magenta, Blue, Green, Orange, Yellow
Bowser Bowser NSMBW Koopa Kid Bowser Shell: A giant shell with spikes will be rolled out of the kart.
Bowser Shell
Daisy Daisy Peach Flowers: Flowers pop up on the course, slowing people down or blocking their view of the course.
Diddy Kong DiddyKong Donkey Kong Barrel: A giant barrel will be rolled out of the kart.
Donkey Kong DKthumbsUp Diddy Kong Bongos: Everyone near by will bounce back and forth for a couple seconds.
Dry Bones DRY Dry Bowser Broken Bones: Dry Bones can do amazing tricks and go through walls.
Dry Bones pile
Grey, Black Beige
Fly Guy FlyGuy Shy Guy Bandit: Steals an item and gives it to Fly Guy to use.
Bandit New
Red, Black, Blue, Green, Magenta, Orange, Purple, Yellow
Koopa Kid Koopa Kid Bowser Triple Trouble: Three other Koopa Kids will be sent out to try to crash other karts.
Triple Trouble
Yellow, Blue, Green, Red
Koopa Troopa KoopaSM3DL Paratroopa Five Green Shells: Koopa Troopa can shoot five green shells.
Five Green Shells
Green, Red
Luigi NSMBWii Luigi Mario Flashlight: Will blind them for a couple seconds and can be thrown.
Flashlight transparent
Mario Mario NSMB2 Luigi Tanooki: Tanooki Mario will start scurrying and is an item box magnet.
Paratroopa ParatroopaMKH Koopa Troopa Five Red Shells: Koopa Troopa can shoot five red shells.
Five Red Shells
Green, Red
Peach NSMBWiiPeach Daisy Heart: Three hearts will spin around the kart, and any item hit, Peach will be able to use.
Shy Guy ShyGuy Fly Guy Spear Guy: Shy Guy pulls out a spear and pushes karts over just slightly.
Red, Black, Blue, Green, Magenta, Orange, Purple, Yellow
Toad Toad Toadette Premium Mushroom: Toad is able to get ten more boosts than a Golden Mushroom.
Red, Aqua, Black, Brown, Blue, Green, Lime, Magenta, Navy, Orange, Purple, Teal, Yellow
Toadette MP7 Toadette Toad Double Mushroom: The wheel will roll again and Toadette could get two Mushrooms, two Propeller Mushrooms, two Mega Mushrooms, two Metal Mushrooms or two Golden Mushrooms.
Double Mushroom
Waluigi NSMBΩWaluigi Wario King Bomb-omb: A huge bomb-omb is set on the course and can explode from up to ten feet.
MP9 Big Bob-omb
Wario LazyWario Waluigi Wario-Man: Everything is tripled for ten seconds, including speed and drift.
Wario-Man MK8
Yoshi Yoshi FS Birdo Yoshi Eggs: Can hit others. If hit, several items come out.
Green, Aqua, Black, Brown, Blue, Lime, Magenta, Navy, Orange, Purple, Red, Teal, Yellow

Unlockable Characters

Player Image Default Partner Special Item Unlockable Colors
Baby Daisy Baby Daisy Baby Peach Gold Flower: Starts a trail of coins that will be counted to the total at the end of the game.
Baby Donkey Kong BabyDK Funky Kong Ukiki: Ukiki is ready to attack any behind Baby Donkey Kong with items.
Baby Peach Baby Peach (MKW) Baby Peach Peach POW: Baby Peach is able to POW at any time without notice.
Peach POW
Dixie Kong DixieKong Kamek Big Banana: A big banana would be shot out onto the course.
Giant Banana
Dry Bowser Dry Bowser Art Dry Bones Fire Flower: The trunk of the kart will be flaming with fire.
Grey, Black Beige
Funky Kong FunkyKongJungleClimber Dixie Kong Barrel Blast: The kart turns into a Bullet Bill-like rocket, except if it hits other karts, they don't get knocked out.
Hammer Bro Hammer Brother. Professor Elvin Gadd Hammer: Makes karts spin uncontrollably if it gets hit.
Hammer Bro, Boomerang Bro, Fire Bro, Ice Bro, Sledge Bro
Kamek Kamek YBA Dixie Kong F.L.U.D.D.: Using Professor Elvin Gadd's invention, Kamek is able to flood a small part of the course with F.L.U.D.D. and make players slide.
Royal Blue, Green, Red, Yellow
King Boo KingofBoos Petey Piranha Boo Swarm: A swarm of Boos get set to attack the player ahead.
Boo Swarm
Luma Luma Rosalina Ice Flower: The trunk of the kart will have a cool flare... too cool that it can freeze.
Ice Flower
Cream, Aqua, Blue, Green, Orange, Pink, Red, Yellow
Petey Piranha PeteyPiranhaPlant Petey Piranha Piranha Plant: Two piranha plants pop out and attack people next to Petey Piranha.
Piranha Plant
Professor Elvin Gadd Professor E. Gadd Hammer Bro Zim Zam Zap: Every couple seconds, a kart will freeze momentarily, thanks to a zap.
Zim Zam Zap
Rosalina PrincessRosalina Luma Space Orbit: Several pieces of space orbit will be shot out behind the kart.
Toadsworth Toadsworth2 Wiggler Mushroom Seeds: Mushrooms, like in Mushroom Gorge grow and Toadsworth can bounce and do tricks on them.
Mushroom Seeds
Wiggler Wiggler Walking Toadsworth Flintstone-Like: Wiggler starts speeding without a kart for a couple seconds.

Game Modes

Mario Kart 8 contains twenty new racing courses added, along with six new battle courses. The retro mode from previous Mario Kart games will also be returning too, so that will be another twenty courses.

Each racecourse contains its own difficulty and gimmicks. Up to four players can play in all the modes, excluding Time Trial mode, where only one is required. In addition, the users can play independently or in cooperative mode, an unique style of gameplay only featured in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!.

Grand Prix

In Grand Prix Mode, the player needs to win the cups against computer-controlled opponents. The difficulty level against CPU racers increases while selecting the engine class which are four:

  • 50cc - Easy. The minimum top speed is low for all karts and CPU racers have a very limited selection of items. Any kart will take the 1st and 2nd place positions.
  • 100cc - Intermediate/Medium. The minimum top speed is fairly average, while CPU drivers have a wider selection of items: they may use Red Shells to shoot it to the player in front of them. Lightweight karts are never in the top positions.
  • 150cc - Hard. The minimum top speed in the karts is high, and CPU drivers have a wider selection of Items, most notably, the Spiny Shell's addition. In this level, CPU drivers can take down players using the items against them.
  • Mirror - Very Hard. Similar to 150cc engine class, as well all racecourses are turned. CPU-controlled heavyweight karts always take the top positions.

There are mainly five cups in Grand Prix mode, each one with four stages to race. These cups bear their difficulty levels as well as the racecourses within. The most basic is Mushroom Cup with simple courses and few gimmicks. The Star Cup, on the other hand, contains long and gimmicky racecourses. All the courses have three laps.


Cup Name Cup Image Retro Cup Name Retro Cup Image Buyable Cup Name Buyable Cup Image
Mushroom Cup
Shell Cup
Coin Cup
Flower Cup
Banana Cup
Hammer Cup
Metal Cup
Metal Mushroom
Leaf Cup
Boomerang Cup
Boomerang Super Mario
Star Cup
Lightning Cup
Propeller Cup
Propeller Mushroom
Special Cup
Special Cup
Rainbow Cup
Golden Cup

Time Trial

In Time Trial, a single player races courses over a set number of laps to record the fastest completion time. Before racing, by adding the player's name entry will register their records available. When a race gets started, the characters will have two mushrooms in hand for speed boost. The best time elapsed in a lap and a race on a specific track will be saved after completing the race. Once completed the race on that racecourse, the user is able to compete against either their ghost from the current ghost data or the staff ghost within the stage. Otherwise, if a race is failed, the ghost data will not be saved. The ghost data recording can be disabled in the Options screen menu.


Missions, a Mario Kart DS feature, will return in Mario Kart 8. The player must complete some tasks and earn a ranking similarly to that in Grand Prix mode. It involves seven levels, each containing eight "missions" and a boss battle, most of which are taken from Super Mario 64 DS. Almost always the ranks depend on how much time is left or taken. There are varying mission types:

  • Driving through gates.
  • Collecting coins.
  • Destroying item boxes.
  • Using stars, Bob-ombs, or shells to destroy enemies.
  • Do ten wheelies in one lap.
  • Do ten tricks in one lap.
  • Driving backwards.
  • Advanced time trial, featuring more obstacles.
  • Reverse time trial.
  • Performing power boosts within a certain lap.
  • Racing a CPU player for one lap.
  • Racing a CPU player without an items for one lap.
  • Boss battle.


A traditional mode that has presented throughout all Mario Kart games. Two to four players can compete against themselves using a variety of items (including all the special items) on the new battle arenas found in Mario Kart 8.


  • Balloon Battle
  • Bob-omb Blast
  • Shine Thief
  • Traffic Panic


Versus (for two to four players) allows to racers to select their characters and karts, and compete among them on the tracks. Additionally, there are some versus options found in the Option menu to change over the mode's gameplay:

  • Number of Laps: The number of laps set over all tracks, ranging from one to nine.
  • Number of Players: You can choose if you want to face 2, 3, 4, 8, 12 or 24 players.
  • Items: The variety of items given to the racers can be changed to:
    • Recommended: Default way in obtaining certain item by racer's place.
    • Basic: Powerful items as lightning or stars are hardly obtainable.
    • Frantic: Items such as bananas or green shells are absent.
    • None: No item to use at all.
  • Teams: You can do a free-for-all or teams of 3, 4, 6 or 8, depending on if the number of people racing is even.


Mario Kart 8 needs internet connection for an the "Internet Mode", where you can race 8, 12 or 24 people across the world in a set of races, just like in Mario Kart Wii.


There are 27 items in Mario Kart and unlike every Mario Kart game before then, there are unlock able items. The unlock able items are Fireball, the Golden Mushroom, the Propeller Mushroom, Iceball, Mega Mushroom, Metal Mushroom and POW Block.

Item Image Places Description
Banana BananaPeel 1-3 When placed, a banana peel stays on the track until a kart touches it and lose its control. Bananas can be used as shields to break homing items such as red shells. It can be thrown either forward or backward.
Blooper 600px-Blooper 8-12 When used, all players in front of the wielding player are sprayed by Blooper ink that blocks their view for a while.
Bomb-omb Stand-omb 4-7 When used, all players that are by it when it explodes after a couple seconds, spin and loose all their speed. Players that touch it will also trigger it to explode.
Boo Boo 5-10 Boo makes the player invisible (the driver disappears from the map screen) and immune.
Bullet Bill BulletBillWii 11-16 The character into a Bullet Bill and automatically drives for the player for a limited period of time. Once used, the Bullet Bill is unstoppable, invincible, and has a very high top speed. The player hardly can maneuver the Bullet Bill, and the Bullet Bill will knock aside any racer that gets in its way, unless the racer uses a Star or a Boo.
Cursed Mushroom PoisonMushroom 1-10 A mushroom that gives the kart a big disadvantage in speed. It slows the kart completely down, but will eventually stop and the player will return to normal speed.
Fake Coin Fake Coin 1-9 At first sight, it looks like a Normal Coin, but it is electrocuted and is ready to zap whoever goes close to it. If hit, the player is electrocuted and will spin out. The only way to get rid of these coins is to run into it.
Fake Item Box Fake item box 1-9 At first sight, it looks like a Normal Item Box, but it is red with an inverted ? symbol. When used, it stays on the track until a kart hits it and spins out. The only way to get rid of these blocks is to run into it.
Fireball Fireball 10-14 The player throws several fire balls that twist and move around before they eventually die out. If someone gets hit by them, they'll spin and turn and pause.
Golden Mushroom GoldenMushie 13-16 When used, the Golden Mushroom increases the players speed and can be used a number of times before it wares out, passing several opponents.
Green Shell GreenShell 1-5 When shot, Green Shells go in a straight line, bouncing off the track walls and knocking into anything it touches, such as an item or another kart. It can be shot forwards or backwards.
Iceball Iceball 11-15 The player throws several ice balls that twist and move around before they eventually die out. If someone gets hit by them, they'll immediately freeze no matter where they are and cannot move for a couple of seconds.
Lightning ThunderboltNoGlow 8-16 When used, the Lightning shrinks, slows, and removes the items of any rival kart. If shrunken drivers get hit by an item while holding their power-ups, they lose it.
Mega Mushroom Mega Mushroom 13-16 Players become bigger, able to crush other players for a certain amount of time, reducing their speed, when getting the Mega Mushroom. While this item is active, the players cannot slow down when going off-road, and they are immune to all items, except for the Star, Bullet Bill, and Lightning. If players get hit by a Lightning while they are big, they shrink back to normal size rather than becoming tiny.
Metal Mushroom Metal Mushroom 1-4 It doesn't give you immunity from everything like stars, but it makes you immune from getting hit by items.
Mini Mushroom
Mini Mushroom
1-10 It makes you get small, without even getting a Lightning. It will eventually die off, but you move slower and are tinier than the other karts.
Mushroom SuperMushroom 1-10 A Mushroom gives the kart a brief boost of speed. If used properly, it can be used to take shortcuts and to steal (or drop) items from another kart.
Oil Barrel Oil 1-3 The oil barrel can either be thrown or emptied out and all the oil will be on the track. This will cause many players to slide and maybe crash into each other or into walls.
POW Block POW Block 8-12 When dispatched by a player, all racers ahead of the user finds POW Blocks above their karts. The POW Block makes players spin out in a similar way to that caused by a Banana Peel, except that they lose all of their current items. Players won't be affected by the POW Block if the third strike goes off while they are in mid-air. Players can also avoid it by starting a wheelie, or a trick right when the third strike goes off. When players have a Star, Mega Mushroom, or Bullet Bill activated, they won't get affected by the POW block.
Propeller Mushroom Propeller Mushroom 7-15 The player and their kart are both able to fly for a few seconds, but cannot fly over walls and several other large objects. They are however, not immune to items and if hit by one, will fall to the ground.
Red Shell RedShell 2-12 Red Shells home in on the nearest kart. It can be thrown backwards as well. However, when shot backwards, it acts like a green shell. Red Shells cannot bounce, however, and they break if they hit a wall.
Spiny Shell Spiny Shell - Mario Kart Wii 6-16 When shot, the Spiny Shell leads to the kart that is first place. Once it hits the kart, it creates a blue explosion. The characters in the kart lose any items if it is hit. Other karts can get hit in the blast radius. This item does not appear in Battle Mode.
Star Star 12-16 When applied, the kart that used it becomes invincible against any item. It can also boost speed and handling of the kart. The kart is also capable of knocking out any rival kart from the course and stealing items.
Triple Bananas TripleBananaPeels 3-6 Three bananas that players can throw to cause panic on the road. Players can slip and loose all their speed if they hit any of the three bananas.
Triple Green Shells TripleGreenShells 3-7 When shot, Green Shells go in a straight line, bouncing off the track walls and knocking into anything it touches, such as an item or another kart. It can be shot forwards or backwards.
Triple Mushrooms TripleMushroomsMKC 5-14 Three mushrooms that give the drivers a boost of speed three times in a row. If characters who hold the mushrooms get hit by an item, they lose two of their mushrooms.
Triple Red Shells TripleRedShells 3-8 Red Shells home in on the nearest kart. It can be thrown backwards as well. However, when shot backwards, it acts like a green shell. Red Shells cannot bounce, however, and they break if they hit a wall.


  • Licenses - Each license contains each player's data, their Mii, nickname, and a table including all categories and cups with an empty space. After a cup is won, the corresponding space is filled in with a colored square: gold for first place, silver for second, bronze for third.
  • Magic Paintbrush - The magic paintbrush, created by Professor Elvin Gadd, for Bowser Jr. (now Koopa Kid, again) is now being used to change characters colors in Mario Kart 8. It is an unlockable. You can change Yoshi, Birdo, Kamek, Dry Bones, Dry Bowser, Luma, Hammer Bro, Toad, Koopa Troopa, Paratroopa and Shy Guy's colors, just like in Mario Superstar Baseball and Mario Super Sluggers.
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