Mario Kart 8 isn’t just the most popular Mario Kart of all time, but one of the most popular games ever made. Having sold well over 55 million games, it’s because of this popularity that the DLC has been such a success.
While the first wave of DLC had some great tracks, especially Ninja Hideaway, there were a few courses that are just boring, or are even worse than they originally were. Fortunately, that’s much less the case with the second wave. Here’s all eight of the new courses ranked from best to worst.
8 Snow Land (GBA)
When it comes to all the courses in this second DLC pack, Snow Land is by far the most boring. It’s an ice-themed track filled with snowmen, penguins, and constantly moving item boxes. Other than that, there’s not really much.
This is especially evident when you look at the other snowy courses in Mario Kart 8. Mount Wario is an epic track slaloming down a mountain, and Sherbet Land is a fun journey through an icy cavern and under a frozen lake. And don’t even get me started on Ice Ice Outpost. Compared to these, Snow Land is just basic.
7 Sydney Sprint (Tour)
Every racetrack from Mario Kart Tour has been themed after a city, and the worst one so far has been the Sydney Sprint. Based on Sydney, Australia, there are a few great visual moments. The Sydney Opera House looks great, and the carnival rides are colorful and fun. Unfortunately, the rest of the course is pretty mixed.
There are a lot of boats in the water themed after different Nintendo characters, but that was already seen with Royal Raceway. Everything else just seems like a generic city. Seriously, why aren’t we racing underwater or on an awesome beach? On top of that, the audience when you drive through the Sydney Opera House looks flat and terrible. Sydney is a great city, and there is a lot of missed potential here.
6 Mushroom Gorge (Wii)
It’s easy to pass off a stage with brown roads and a lot of greenery. They tend to come across as the most generic courses in whichever game they’re introduced. While Mushroom Gorge feels that way at first, it’s actually fun and bouncy with some really impressive visuals.
While the mushroom trampolines are already a lot of fun, Mushroom Gorge hits its peak when you enter the cave. There are bright, colorful crystals and a whole forest of springy shrooms. There may be other courses that look more striking, but very few will be as fun as Mushroom Gorge.
5 New York Minute (Tour)
As soon as you start up New York Minute, it feels like you’re in Times Square. The bright lights and themed signs are wonderful – especially the Donkey Kong The Musical sign, and that kind of fun is found throughout the whole track.
There are a few dull moments, however. Central Park feels like just a regular park and for some reason the last lap takes you through Rockefeller Center’s lobby and parking garage. It’s a nice reference to the city, but who wants to drive through a parking structure in Mario Kart? Why not drive through some stockbrokers at Wall Street or a Broadway stage? Then we could actually see Donkey Kong The Musical!
4 Mario Circuit 3 (SNES)
It would have been so easy to make Mario Circuit 3 a boring copy of the original. Instead, it was updated with some really fun details. Instead of just hiding behind the rainbow walls, the entire crowd is standing on Super Mario Bros. blocks and stacks. It’s a nice detail that really brings this course together.
But even without that, Mario Circuit 3 is a fun course that requires a lot of drifting skills. Like every course from Super Mario Kart, it takes some practice to nail, but when you do, the course becomes an absolute blast.
3 Kalimari Desert (N64)
Kalimari Desert was an interesting course in Mario Kart 64. The western aesthetic was unique, and the train was an awesome touch that you could actually drive into if you were feeling risky. However, it was basically a loop with not a lot going on in the distance, so it could be argued that it’s pretty boring. But even those who loathed Kalimari Desert in 64 have got to admit that the Mario Kart 8 version is a ton of fun.
There are a lot more jumps and chances for shortcuts, and this version actually forces you to race towards the head-on train in the tunnel. This adds a burst of adrenaline to the race and makes the track much more memorable. Of the eight DLC courses, Kalimari Desert is easily the biggest improvement over its original.
2 Sky-High Sundae
It looks like every wave of the DLC will have at least one original track. In the first wave, that was the incredible Ninja Hideaway. In this release, it’s Sky-High Sundae, and it’s absolutely ridiculous in the best way possible.
You start off in an ice cream shop, flying through a soft serve cone and racing past a ton of vendors, before driving up tubs of ice cream, leaping off of ice cream sandwiches, drifting around a curve of ice cream cones, and finish the lap off by jumping on ice blocks. All the signs are on waffle cones, and there’s even an ice cream cone helicopter flying around. It’s impossible to race this course without having a smile on your face. To put it plainly, this track is pretty sweet.
1 Waluigi Pinball (DS)
Waluigi Pinball has been a fan favorite track since it was introduced on the Nintendo DS, and that is still the case on the Switch. Not only is the concept really weird, but that works to its benefit since it adds to the mystery of Waluigi. What’s his deal? What would a Waluigi game look like? It really seems that at this point we’ll never know.
But what really makes Waluigi Pinball work is that in all of this goofiness, it’s still an excellent racetrack. The Space Mountain launch is unique, the drifting curves require some decent skill, and dodging the pinballs in the main area can be nerve-racking. Waluigi Pinball is the perfect combination of chaos and skill, which is why it is easily one of the best courses in all of Mario Kart.
NEXT: Genres That The Super Mario Series Should Cover Next