Mario Kart 8 Switch Circuit is a racing game developed primarily by Nintendo , with Namco Bandai Games assisting, for the Nintendo Switch and a re cut of Mario Kart 8 for the Nintendo Wii U . Unlike the Wii U version the game has the same proper Battle System from the prior 7 instalments and new nitro and retro tracks.


The gameplay maintains the traditional elements of previous Mario Kart games, mostly from the two recent instalments on the WiiNintendo 3DS and Wii U 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.

Most of the elements used from Mario Kart 7 return, and function like they did in Mario Kart 8. Inside drifting bikes from Mario Kart Wii return also in this game and continue to have a lower drifting angular velocity range with respect to karts and outside drifting bikes, likely to compensate for the altered drifting mechanics. Likewise, while officially no automatic drifting mechanics is in the game, when steering for a while in one direction the vehicle starts skidding, resulting in an angular velocity that, with high enough Handling, matches the one while drifting (and even surpasses that in the case of inside drifting bikes) unless a JoyCon without motion controls is used, and in the ability to slowly charge Mini-Turbo and Super Mini-Turbo boosts.

Game Modes

There are various game modes for Mario Kart 8 Switch Circuit.

Grand Prix

Mario Kart 8's Grand Prix works similar to past instalments. 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 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.

​Nitro Courses

Mushroom Cup Flower Cup Star Cup Special Cup
60px-MK8 MushroomCuptv.svg
60px-MK8 FlowerCuptv.svg
60px-MK8 StarCuptv.svg
60px-MK8 SpecialCuptv.svg

Mario Kart Stadium


Mario Circuit

MK8 SunshineAirportCourse

Sunshine Airport


Cloudtop Cruise

MK8 WaterParkCourse

Water Park


Toad Harbor

MK8 DolpinShoalsCourse

Dolphin Shoals


Bone Dry Dunes

640px-MK8SweetSweetCanyon course

Sweet Sweet Canyon

640px-MK8 TwistedMansionCourse

Twisted Mansion

MK8 ElectrodomeCourse


Bowser's Castle (Mario Kart 8)

Bowser's Castle


Thwomp Ruins

MK8 ShyGuyFalls course

Shy Guy Falls

MK8 MountWarioCourse

Mount Wario


Rainbow Road

​Retro Courses

60px-MK8 ShellCuptv.svg
60px-MK8 BananaCuptv.svg
60px-MK8 LeafCuptv.svg
60px-MK8 LightningCuptv.svg
Shell Cup Bannana Cup Leaf Cup Lightning Cup
Moo Moo Medows

Moo Moo Medows

Dry Dry Desert

GCN Dry Dry Desert


DS Wario Stadium

MK8-Course-DS Tick-TockClock

DS Tick Tock Clock

MK8 GBAMarioCircuit

GBA Mario Circuit


SNES Donut Plains 3


GCN Sherbet Land

MK8-Course-3DS PiranhaPlantSlide

3DS Piranha Plant Slide


DS Cheep Cheep Beach

Royal Raceway

N64 Royal Raceway

Music park

3DS Music Park

MK8-Course-Wii GrumbleVolcano

Wii Grumble Volcano

Toad Turnpike

N64 Toad Turnpike

3DS DK Jungle

3DS DK Jungle

MK8-Course-N64 YoshiValley

N64 Yoshi Valley

MK8-Course-N64 RainbowRoad

N64 Rainbow Road

Time Trials

Works the same as in past installments. Players are allowed to race in a course of their choice (if it has been unlocked already) and complete all its laps in the fastest time possible. When doing so, the player's records will be saved as Ghost, allowing them to compete against their own Ghosts and see if they can exceed their previous record. Players can also exchange their Ghosts with other players, compare records and also race against them.

VS Race

1 to 4 Players

Vs Race is a multiplayer mode that can be played locally with up to 4 players. Races can be customized in this mode by adjusting different settings, which include choosing which items appear, CPU difficulty, Team or Solo racing, engine class and the requirements to win races. Nothing can be unlocked in this game mode, and only the already unlocked racetracks in Grand Prix will be available here.

Mario racing King Boo in GCN Yoshi Circuit


1 to 4 Players

The player can choose one of five types of battles available for play. Unlike in Mario Kart 8 and similarly to the other past games, the game features fourteen all new arenas, half are Retro and the other half are Nitro.

Toad battling on Wii Delfino Pier

Balloon Battle

The classic battle style consists on popping opponents' balloons to score, using the items from the Item Boxes. All the racers start with three balloons and must use the items from the Item Boxes to take away a balloon from their opponents. Hitting a rival is worth a score. Balloons can never be regained unless one is stolen from another player using a Mushroom , and if all balloons are lost points can no longer be lost or obtained. However, players are still able to drive and attack other players as a Ghost, so a player with a high score and no balloons is still able to win.

Shine Runners

After a 12 year absence after Mario Kart DS, this mode returns with new features. Ten Shine Sprites are scattered onto the course at the beginning. Players need to capture the Shine Sprites, and to avoid being hit, as it causes a player to lose one sprite. The sprite then moves to a random spot for someone else to grab. In the meantime, a clock ticks down to zero. Anyone with or tied with the lowest Shine total when the clock hits zero is eliminated. The clock resets itself to a lower time and the battle continues until at least one is left (there are nine sprites to avoid a tie, but it is possible to have two players with four sprites trying to get that last one on the course when time expires or have three players with three sprites each. In this case, no one is eliminated and the clock resets as usual.

Bob-omb Blast

Returning from Mario Kart: Double Dash. Characters use Bob-ombs to hit their opponents and score stars to win. The bombs can be obtained by running over an Item Box, which only contains Bob-ombs. Every character can hold up to five of these explosives, and can throw them forwards or drop them backwards. Any kart that makes contact with an opponent's bomb or gets blown up by the explosion will lose stars.


Racers collect the Coins scattered in the battle course within the time limit of two minutes. The racer that has the most Coins at the end wins. Racers can use the items to hit their opponents and make them drop a maximum of three coins that they have collected. There is no limit of how many coins you can collect, which is similar to Mario Kart Wii.

Piranha Party

The First New Battle style, Piranha Party, has racers using their Potted Piranha Plants to snipe their Balloons and Items. The player must avoid the other racers to avoid, getting their items stolen. Your score is based on the racers you hit, with the stolen items. If you hit them all, then you win the battle. 

Mindful Moon 

The second battle style, Mindful Moon is very similar to Shine Thief from Mario Kart: Double Dash on the GameCube . There is one Power Moon on the course, and one player must hold it for at least 50 seconds to win. If they are hit by an item, they will lose the Power Moon, allowing others to grab it and making the timer start over.

However in Team Battle, the opposing teams each have their own colored forts, where they can store the Power Moon and keep it from other players. The only way to steal it is to run over the Key Switch, holding the Moon in a cage. 

Thunder Titans

The third and final new battle style, Thunder Titans has the racers trying to avoid getting caught and eliminated by a Thunder Cloud, that wanders freely around the Battle Course. If it catches a racer it will hover over it. There's a timer for the cloud, and when it reaches zero, the cloud will fulminate the racer, and eliminate it from the game. After this the cloud will start to get bigger.

The only way to damage the cloud, is to throw Bob-ombs at it, throw Fire Balls at it or use a Potted Piranha Plant to bite it until it explodes with lightning. The racers have a specific time limit to destroy the cloud, whoever hits the cloud the most under the limit wins the battle.

Battle Stages


  • Battle Stadium
  • Urchin Underpass
  • Nintendo Wii U
  • Nintendo Switch
  • Airship Airline
  • Classroom Castle
  • Lakitu Skies
  • Whomp's Fortress


  • SNES Battle Course 1
  • N64 Double Deck
  • GBA Battle Course 4
  • GCN Luigi's Mansion
  • DS Top Tart
  • Wii Delfino Pier
  • 3DS Wuhu Town


As with Mario Kart 8 one or two local players can play over the internet against other 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 after selecting Worldwide or Regional,[14] 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. 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 totalled, and whether the groups shuffle after every four matches or not. Finally, the availability can be set, including whether it is open or a code is required or it is open to anybody, whether it is open to anyone worldwide or just 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; 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.
250px-MK8 Online Menu

Main menu for the Online mode.


"New Items"


1-UP Mushroom

Gives the player an extra speed boost, whenever they are over taken by a racer.
Pickaxe CTTT

Super Pixax

Destroys and blocks, targeted items, heading towards the player.


Flips the targeted racer's kart into the air once the racer has been hit.

Propeller Box

Allows the player to glide in the air for only ten seconds. This item is only available in battle mode
120px-NSMBU Bumper


Bounces racers off the track, if touched. The player can throw it onto the track, as an obstacle.

Differences from the original

  • The Rainbow Road track has been completely remodelled and remade, due to fans complaining that the Wii U version was too tricky and that they kept falling off it. So instead of the track being set at a space station. It is set in a Star Wars themed city, with some Big Ben styled Clocks floating around the sky. The track is still 3 Laps, but it is a twice as longer as the Wii U version. The track isn't made from flashing color squares like in the original, and it looks more like the Rainbow Road from Double Dash!!.
  • Characters can now carry up to two items at once, even if they don't drag the first item, and the game features the return of the Double Item Box from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. The game also introduces smart-steering and auto-accelerate for beginners; the former makes driving and staying on the track easier, the latter makes the vehicle automatically accelerate.
  • The game also features a different in-game guide, directly accessible from the game's menu. There is also an option to change character and vehicle combinations during an online lobby without having to leave; this is done by pressing the "Y" button (left button when playing with a single Joy-Con) during the course selection screen of an online lobby. The game also has reduced loading times when compared to the Wii U game.
  • Pink Gold Peach and Metal Mario are removed from the game's roster and are replaced with Petey Piranha and Funky Kong.
  • The game features 8 new characters not present in Mario Kart 8, 6 of whom are returning from past games in the series. While the other two include additional non-Mario characters with the inclusion of Inklings from Splatoon.
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