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Mario Kart IX is a racing game that is the ninth installment in the mainline Mario Kart series, developed by Nintendo EAD, assisted by Namco Bandai Holdings, and published by Nintendo to the Nintendo Switch. It is the sixteenth installment overall in the series. The game reuses some mechanics, modes, items and tracks from Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and the Mario Kart GP games, most notably the anti-gravity feature from Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, 12-player racing tracks and Bikes from Mario Kart Wii, and kart customizing from Mario Kart 7. The game also has online and amiibo functionality.
Much like its predecessors, Mario Kart IX is a kart-racing game, which involves players selecting characters of different weight classes, and choose a type of vehicle to drive, varying stats, strengths, and weaknesses. Players can select a cup they want to play on to race on their respective tracks. Littered in the tracks are obstacles and hazards, item boxes that causes an item roulette to appear on-screen, and gives the player an item it stops on, which may give players an advantage during a track race, and coins used to buy more stuff from the Mario Kart Shop. If the player falls off the track, they will be picked up a Lakitu and lose a few coins they collected in the race.
After finishing a track, a leaderboard is shown to display the amount of points each racer receives, and if they place lower, they will get lower points than the others. At the end, all these point tally up to who will place first, second and third in the results ceremony. If the player lands lower than either these placings, the player will not be at the ceremony, and instead will be greeted to a finger-waving Lakitu with the words "Nice Try!" or "Better luck next time!".
The point management works similar to Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Much like the previous installments, the Grand Prix mode returns and is left unchanged from the past games. Players race against opponent racers on tracks, winning each race to gain points, and attempt to obtain the cup's trophy. Each time the player selects this mode, they can choose between three engine class, 50cc, 100cc, 150cc, Mirror Mode, and 200cc. The last two are unlockabale, the former being unlocked when the default class difficulties are beaten on every cup (excluding DLC cups), and the latter being unlocked after beating Mirror Mode on every cup (excluding DLC cups).
The game's Story Mode. In this mode, the player controls Mario in a default kart and traverse through different worlds, racing against others on some tracks. During a race, some objectives need to be completed to face the boss of each world, and are not mandatory to select the next track. Beating some characters can unlock them to use, and the player can customize their kart. After completing all objectives in each track of the world, the character can face the world's boss, and beating them will cause the player to move on to the next world. Each world is set to a different engine class, with the first two being 50cc, the middle two being 100cc, the last two being 150cc, and the final, secret two being Mirror Mode and 200cc respectively.
Time Trails are back as well, being left unchanged from the previous installments. Players can race on a single track they like if they are unlocked/downloaded, and complete all its laps in the fastest time possible. The record times are saved as Ghosts, which can be "raced" against by others.
A normal race against other players or CPUs. The engine class can be changed just like in Grand Prix, but you can also choose teams, include items or not, include team damage (people on the same team can attack others using their items), choose how many matches in a single game, etc.
Battle Arena is the game's equivalent of the Battle Mode, where most of the Battle Modes from Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe return. The player can choose either Balloon Battle, Coin Runners, Shine Survivors (Shine Thief from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Shine Runners from Mario Kart DS combined), Renegade Roundup, Bob-omb Blast, and an all new mode, Tenacious Thieves, as battle options. The options in VS Race return here.
Characters that were playable in Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe reappear in this game, including some that were downloadable. There are Lightweight, Middleweight, and Heavyweight driver classes, which can be further divided into Feather, Light, Medium, Standard, Cruiser, and Heavy driver classes, the first two being Lightweight classes, the two in the middle being Middleweight classes, and the final two being Heavyweight classes. There are, currently, a total of 49 characters in Mario Kart IX's roster, excluding character variants.
These are the characters that do not take up a character slot in the roster, and can be chosen to play if the selected character has any variants.
| Mushroom Circuit|
Shy Guy Hills
Noki Noki Bay
| Wii Luigi Circuit|
Wii U Sweet Sweet Canyon
3DS Shy Guy Bazaar
GBA Cheep-Cheep Island
| Ruined Catacombs|
| Wii Toad's Factory|
3DS Rock Rock Mountain
DS Shroom Ridge
Wii U Toad Harbor
| Star Summit|
| GCN Wario Colosseum|
3DS Maka Wuhu
Wii U Electrodome
GBA Sky Garden
| Waluigi Colosseum|
| Wii Moonview Highway|
Wii U Rosalina's Ice World
3DS Bowser's Castle
GCN Rainbow Road
| Wii U Excitebike Arena|
Toadette's Music Room
Port Town Aero Dive
| GBA Wario Shipyard|
Wii U Dragon Driftway
Shy Guy Toy Box
SNES Battle Course 2
DS Nintendo DS
Wii Galaxy Colosseum
NS Lunar Colony
|Banana Peels can be thrown or placed on the track, and cause other drivers to spin around temporarily, causing them to slide forward a bit before stopping dead in their tracks. Banana Peels can be held behind to protect the player from attacks from behind. These can be found in Item Boxes.|
|Bob-ombs can be thrown or placed on the track, and explode after a few seconds or after a driver touches it, launching them into the air, and spinning the others who are caught in the explosion's midst. Bob-ombs can be held behind to protect the player from attacks from behind. These can be found in Item Boxes.|
|Boos function differently here, as they make the driver be invisible for five seconds, making them phase through stage hazards and drivers. They can also steal items if they phase through a driver with an item. These can be found in Item Boxes rarely.|
|Boomerang Flowers give the driver the ability to throw boomerangs that cause the other drivers to spin around when they hit them. These are found in Item Boxes.|
|Blue Shells home in on the driver in the lead, causing a blue explosion that launches the unfortunate driver into the air. Blue Shells have different designs depending on what mode you are playing on; the one with wings appears in Grand Prix, Vs Race, and Story Race, while the wingless one appears in Battle Mode.|
|Bullet Bills turn the user into a literal Bullet Bill, zooming across the track and knocking any other driver away if they touch the user. This lasts for six seconds. These can be found in Item Boxes if you are very far behind.|
|Bloopers can be used to ink the other driver's, covering the screens of other players with ink. These are found in Item Boxes.|
|Cape Feathers give the kart a cape, which can upgrade a normal hop to a slightly higher spin jump, which grants the player the ability to cross gaps. These can be found in Item Boxes.|
|Carrots give the user bunny ears, allowing them to hop higher and slowly float downwards for a few seconds. These items rarely appear in Item Boxes.|
|Coins are scattered around the track, and running over them will cause the player to collect one. Participating in matches, completing time trails, beating "Ghosts", and using one from an Item Box can cause you to gain coins as well. Coins are used to buy stuff from the shop.|
|Fire Flowers give the driver the ability to throw fireballs that cause the other drivers to spin around when they hit them. These powers last for six seconds or after fifteen uses. These are found in Item Boxes.|
Fake Item Box
|Fake Item Boxes causes damage to drivers if they confuse it for a real Item Box.|
|Golden Mushrooms stay in the slot for a while, and using it will cause the user to gain a speed boost, and can be done rapidly. It stays in the slot for six seconds or after fifteen uses. These are found in Item Boxes when you are far behind.|
|Green Shells can be thrown or shot behind the user, which knocks the driver away if they touch it. Green Shells can be held behind to protect the player from attacks from behind. These can be found in Item Boxes.|
|Ice Flowers give the driver the ability to throw iceballs that cause the other drivers to freeze in place for a few seconds when they hit them. These powers last for six seconds or after fifteen uses. These are found in Item Boxes.|
|Item Boxes give the player a random item from a roulette shown on screen.|
|Mega Mushrooms enlarges the player and their kart twice their normal size, causing them to run into other drivers to flatten them. These are found in Item Boxes.|
|Mushrooms can give the player a speed boost. These can be found in Item Boxes. Each track is littered with these.|
|A POW Block icon appears over drivers that are behind the user, which causes them to spin around should they not be in the air at the time the effects take place. These can be found in Item Boxes if you are far behind.|
|Super Leaves give the kart a raccoon tail, and can be used to spin around and whack drivers out of the way. The tail lasts for six seconds or after fifteen uses. These can be found in Item Boxes.|
|Red Shells are the same as Green Shells, but they home in one the closest driver when thrown. These can be found in Item Boxes.|
Triple Green Shell
|It is pretty much three Green Shells, which circulate around the player's kart, and are thrown one at a time. These can be found in Item Boxes if you are in the middle.|
Triple Red Shell
|It is pretty much three Red Shells, which circulate around the player's kart, and are thrown one at a time, homing in one the closest driver. These can be found in Item Boxes if you are in the middle.|
|It is pretty much three Mushrooms, which give the player boosts in speed each Mushroom is used. These can be found in Item Boxes if you are far behind.|
- Mario Kart IX was going to be called Mario Kart 9, but this was changed, as there were many other games being named similarly.
- The game is...
- ...the second Mario Kart game to be released on the Nintendo Switch, the first being Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. If not counting that game since it is a port, this is the first Mario Kart to be released on the Nintendo Switch that is not a port of another game.
- ...the fourth Mario Kart game to introduce characters from other series, the first being Mario Kart DS, the second being Mario Kart 8, and the third being Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
- ...the second game to have downloadable content in the game, the first being Mario Kart 8.
s denotes a sysop approved project.