In honor of Mar10 Day, I’d like to present to you my list of best Mario Kart tracks! Do keep in mind this list is purely subjective according to me, and is therefore the end all be all of Mario Kart tier lists. I’ll be ranking these tracks on a variety of criteria that are very serious: how much I like them. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
5 – Block City
Okay, maybe this doesn’t count as a “track” per say, but I can’t leave this off my list. This was THE battle map when we all just wanted to throw shells/bombs/bananas at each other and goof around. The design is simple enough: four quadrants all with a unique color and fun little interactions with the blocks. Personally, I liked camping out under the yellow structure waiting for someone to zip on into my Bob-Omb trap. (I was like 8, so please forgive me)
Battle maps were never the biggest part of the games, but this one holds a special place for me. The 5th place, if you will.
Now Bowser’s Castle appears in every single Mario Kart game to date, and is always iconic. I specifically linked a run of the Mario Kart 64 Bowser’s Castle, because I feel like that’s where the track picked up its most memorable structure. You drive through the castle gardens, interior, and lava hellscape exterior. All the while, dodging around the classic Thwomps and various fire-spitting apparatus.
With the finale of this course sending you over the lava surrounding Bowser’s Castle, it brings together the previous iterations of the track in a way that truly feels like a full tour of King Koopa’s crib.
Mario Kart DS was one of the installments that I played the most, but probably the one I remember the least about. Maybe that’s because I tore it apart with Action Replay? Either way, I cannot forget the absolute banger that accompanied this track. It was so good they had to rearrange it for Smash Ultimate of all things! Hype as heck and neon bright, Waluigi Pinball sticks out as a gem even with the… “chunky” we’ll say, DS graphics.
Who can say no to Rainbow Road? The be and end all iconic Mario Kart track. Double Dash!! has the best Rainbow Road, with tight corners that you can really zip through if you play it right. For me, MK Wii and MK8 do come quite close, but nothing quite compares to winding up that corkscrew hitting EVERY SINGLE boost pad. Too many times have I spun out and come hurtling to Earth only for Lakitu to save my sorry kart.
On top of regular play, Rainbow Road is home to some of the nastiest shortcuts of Mario Kart. For more info there, I’d highly recommend the man, the myth, the legend, Summoning Salt and their video The History of Rainbow Road World Records.
Big Blue is the epitome of Mario Kart. You’re absolutely blasting through colorful scenes, there are obstacles aplenty, and it’s all set to the zestiest sax known to man. The track is a one lap wonder, and is structured into 3 different parts, all reminiscent of the speed and vibes of F-Zero. Unfortunately for fans of the series, the best F-Zero tracks in the past decade have been in Mario Kart.
Every single race through Big Blue is hype, especially with the 200cc mode in MK8. You really do feel like you’re the Captain plowing through to the finish line. With enough boosts and speedy environmental gimmicks to make sure you’re always as fast as you can be, there’s never a dull race of Big Blue. That’s why I am naming it the best Mario Kart track!