Mario Kart 8 - Toad Circuit

I know I’m a bit late to the party on this, but I’m going to walk through every track in Mario Kart 8‘s Wave 1 DLC and rate them based on a system that makes sense inside my own head. Maybe you’ll agree with my assessment; maybe you have very different thoughts. I just thought it’d be nice to offer my two cents on these tracks.

Paris Promenade (Tour)

Mario Kart 8 - Paris Prominade

Paris Prominade is the first track in Mario Kart 8’s first wave of DLC, and also the first track (of many) from the mobile game Mario Kart Tour. And I… don’t really like it.

The concept of using real-world landmarks and having Karters interact with them is interesting; I just find the execution a little clunky. The whole concept of the track changing each lap is more disorienting than anything, and some of the turns are a little too sharp for comfort — or maybe the placement just feels jarring.

I rate this: One Green Shell/One Blue Shell

Toad Circuit (3DS)

Mario Kart 8 - Toad Circuit

Toad Circuit is better as a Smash Bros. map than it ever was as a racing track (I know it’s technically not a Smash Bros. map, but it’s similar to the Figure-8 Circuit map).

This is a pretty simple course, with the track crossing over itself in a few places. That’s really the most interesting thing about it. There’s not much else to say here, and I’m not sure why they brought this one back.

I rate this: One Upside-Down Question Mark Block

Choco Mountain (N64)

Mario Kart 8 - Choco Mountain

I know Choco Mountain is a popular track, and I like it too. It’s not my favorite of the bunch, but it’s a good one. The falling choco rocks are fun, if not a bit predictable. The course is fairly dynamic too, with caves, jumps (including a hang-gliding jump), and lots of fun rounded edges.

I rate this: 3 Mushrooms/1 Golden Mushroom

Coconut Mall (Wii)

Mario Kart 8 - Coconut Mall

Coconut Mall is a Wii classic that I am happy to see return (and I’m sure many others are too). It’s mostly faithful to the Wii version, with a few changes. The Miis are largely replaced by Piantas and a few Shy Guys. Honestly, that’s fine. Piantas fit just as well in the mall.

The mall itself has a more colorful aesthetic, whereas the original version of the course had what I would describe as that “Wii aesthetic.” You know, where everything is kind of shiny and still kind of faded at the same time. There were still some of the orange colors in the Wii version, but if memory serves, there was a lot more beige in the original.

I am a little bit annoyed that Nintendo put arrows on the escalators. I could tell which way they were going without big shiny arrows telling me. I also miss how the cars near the end of the lap used to move back and forth and they don’t (much) anymore.

Even though I have my gripes, Coconut Mall still maintains a lot of the energy of the original.

I rate this: One Fire Flower/Bowser’s Mega Shell from Double Dash

Tokyo Blur (Tour)

Mario Kart 8 - Tokyo Blur

I’d call this a mid-tier Tour track. The main fixture here is the Rainbow Bridge, but, like the other “tours,” this takes you through several landmarks of Tokyo, including Mount Fuji off in the distance.

The track changes each lap here, but it doesn’t bother me as much as it did in Paris Promenade. Maybe it’s because the turns aren’t as sharp. Maybe it’s because the progression is pretty straightforward, starting with mostly left turns, then transitioning to right turns. It’s still a little bothersome, especially when you have blooper ink on your screen and you can’t see when one of these turns is coming up.

I rate this: 3 Bananas

Shroom Ridge (DS)

Mario Kart 8 - Shroom Ridge

When it comes to tracks that put you on the road with actual cars, I think I’d much rather see Mushroom City make a comeback than Shroom Ridge, but that’s due to my heavy bias from growing up with Double Dash. But let’s be honest, there’s a lot more going on in that track, like multiple routes, secret shortcuts, cars going all sorts of directions, and so on. All of that makes this straightforward, one-road track feel a bit tame.

That’s not to say Shroom Ridge is all bad. I have a harder time on these types of tracks, but the other cars do add some serious challenge that increases the fun for me. And there are a few mushroom-based shortcuts here as well.

I rate this: One Red Shell/One Blue Shell

Sky Garden (GBA)

Mario Kart 8 - Sky Garden

I know Sky Garden came first, but I still can’t help but feel like it’s just a less-interesting Cloudtop Cruise. I think Nintendo could’ve done more to this course to make it more interesting, though I’m not sure exactly what that would be. The background visuals are really pretty though.

Sky Garden is not the most boring track in the bunch, but it’s definitely not a top-tier release.

I rate this: One Green Shell

Ninja Hideaway (Tour)

Mario Kart 8 - Ninja Hideaway

Ninja Hideaway is a romp. This track is constantly and quickly offering you different options for which way you want to go, with there generally being an upper track and a lower track. I prefer the upper track, but you can still manage no matter which path you take.

The intersections sometimes come at you so fast that they’re easy to miss, and then there are ninja Shy Guys who will appear in front of you, then disappear and leave behind a banana. Those touches add character to this already very-interesting track.

I rate this: One Piranha Plant

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