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Family Guide to Mario Kart

Mario Kart is a go-kart racing game on the Nintendo Switch. You race against other Nintendo characters around different circuits, picking up power-ups, attacks and speed boosts. It is frantic and chaotic, but still requires skills to do well.

Mario Kart tries to balance things between different ability players. At the back, you go a little faster and get better power-ups. This results in good races for a range of players. Even so, experienced players can stay ahead by slipstreaming other karts, skidding around corners to get a boost and learning shortcuts.

You can play Mario Kart on a range of Nintendo systems:

  • Mario Kart DS (2005) DS with online multiplayer
  • Mario Kart Wii (2008) Wii with motion controls
  • Mario Kart 7 3DS (2011) with 3D visuals and flight
  • Mario Kart 8 (2014) Wii U with anti-grav racing and flight
  • Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017) Switch
  • Mario Kart Tour (2019) iOS


You can play with 4 players in the same room and up to 16 players online. On most Mario Kart games you can play 4 player split-screen on one system. On Mario Kart 8 you can play online with up to 16 other people.

Ghost Records

You can race again ghost laps of other players. These appear on the course when you race and represent the route the best-recorded lap took. Mario Kart DS offers one unlockable Staff Ghost per track. Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7 offer two Staff Ghosts per track. In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, there are two Staff Ghosts, one for 150cc, and one for 200cc.

Age Rating

Mario Kart 8 is rated PEGI 3. Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience. This includes a regular subscription fee (known as a 'battle/season pass') to unlock access to reward items and other aspects of the game.

Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U offered in-game purchases, packs and a season pass for additional characters, tracks and vehicles. These are all included in the Switch version of the game Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This game on Wii U and Switch supports Nintendo's amiibo, figurines and cards that can be purchased separately to unlock in-game items.


While all the games offer some difficulty settings and control options, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Switch offers the widest range of Accessibility Features. You can opt for steering via D-Pad, Left Stick or Tilt. Smart steering assistance ensures you don't end up stuck banging into the barrier, and can even remove the need to manually steer altogether.

Tilt to steer enables you to just tilt the controller to race. The game can be played with one stick, for steering, and one button, for triggering items. These options combine to enable this to be playable by quite young gamers and gamers with motor disabilities. You can take this further by setting the game up to be played with one button to trigger collected items.

Real Mario Kart Toys

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit (Mario Kart Live, Mario Kart Home Circuit) is a kart racing game with a difference. You play on the Switch but use it to control a real-life Mario kart that races around the floor of your living room.

You see the race from the view of the car beamed back to the screen of the Switch and must battle other racers like Luigi and Bowser while also collecting power-ups.

Avatar for Andrew Robertson
Andrew Robertson
Andy Robertson is the editor of AskAboutGames and has written for national press and broadcast about video games and families for over 15 years. He has just published the Taming Gaming book with its Family Video Game Database.