Released on May 30, 2014 in North America and Europe, Mario Kart 8, the latest installment in the ever popular Mario Kart series, is exclusive to the Wii U. Mario Kart 8 features 32 tracks in all, 16 new and 16 returning. The following are my favorite and least favorite tracks. I've spent a significant amount of time playing (okay, mostly watching) this game so I can confidently state I am somewhat of an expert on this topic.
First, the best:
1. Sunshine Airport
Sunshine Airport is so much fun because you're racing all over an airport on an island, driving between the wheels of airplanes and conveyer belts on the tarmac, and then through the terminal. The best part is the giant planes that take off and land directly above you throughout the course.
2. Twisted Mansion
I may be biased in choosing Twisted Mansion as one of my favorite tracks because I really want to live here. In the Twisted Mansion, I mean. The music is spooktacular, the dark red carpets in the home are beautiful to race on (velvet, I like to think), and the short-cut between the bookcases in the library and across the lawn at the end to avoid the hammer-wielding knight statues, when executed properly, are brilliant.
3. Mount Wario
This track is probably my absolute favorite because it's a 3-stage race and each section is completely different. You start off the race by jumping out of a helicopter and then make your way down the mountain through various terrains including ice, snow, ski jumping ramps, and moguls, while Toads, Yoshis, and Shy Guys cheer you on. You basically feel like a Winter Olympics athlete the entire time. It doesn't get much better than that.
4. Toad Harbor
Toad Harbor is tied with Mount Wario in being my absolute favorite track. Located by the seaside, the town has a strong resemblance to San Francisco, which may be why I love it so much. With a vertical wall section with anti-gravity and plenty of boost pads throughout, racing around cable cars and down steep hills is a blast and I kick ass in this track.
5. Wario’s Gold Mine
Wario's Gold Mine is a serious thrill. There's not much going on in terms of color but you're able to get a lot of speed early on, you feel as though you're on a roller coaster, and the music is ridiculously catchy. I especially love the part inside of the mine where you feel as though you're riding in a simulation minecart.
And now, the banes of my existence:
1. Rainbow Road
Not to be confused with the mesmerizing N64 Rainbow Road in Lightning Cup, SNES Rainbow Road in Triforce Cup drives me insane with frustration. I will take the point loss and exit the race if this track is selected as I hate everything about this course. I hate that I'm just driving around in a weird sort of indented square with no rails whatsoever and only 90 degree turns, coming dangerously close to being crushed by Star Thwomps, and spending the majority of my time falling off the edge and being saved by Lakitu.
2. Bone Dry Dunes
I hate this track just as much as I hate SNES Rainbow Road. You spend the majority of the race trying to stay on the road but instead end up getting stuck in the sand. You never quite pick up speed, you're constantly being slowed down, the curves are too sharp and tricky to even be fun, and again, what is with ALL OF THAT SAND?!
3. Dry Dry Desert
Same as above.
4. Yoshi Circuit
I find it unfortunate I hate Yoshi Circuit so much as I really enjoy racing in Yoshi Valley. The entire track is in the shape of Yoshi which seems cute at first except my blood pressure quickly rises when I'm trying to drive down the back of his head. Do you SEE those turns? I feel as though my drifting game is relatively strong but it takes serious skill to be able to quickly navigate this course without getting stuck on the grass.
5. Dolphin Shoals
I'm not sure what it is about Dolphin Shoals I hate so much because aesthetically, it does everything for me. I love dolphins and the underwater parts of the course are incredibly well designed. I especially enjoy the part of the race that takes place on the back of what I thought was a leviathan but apparently is a Mega Unagi. I think the reason this falls in my worst category is because I spend so much of my time trying to figure out where the road is. All of the ramps, blowing bubbles, and boost platforms together are distracting and I end up going the wrong way or continuously falling off.