There has been a wide range of vehicle designs during the Mario Kart series. Some are iconic and still reappear in more modern titles, while others have been forgotten. With Mario Kart 8 Deluxe continuing the series’ long legacy on the Nintendo Switch – and arguably one of the best tabletop games for this console – fans have been introduced to a whole slew of new kart designs.
But with so many members on the show, it can be difficult to discern which one is better. While some karts may be considered classic by many people, others may stand out as unique in their own right. From rhino-themed racers to tow trawlers, there is a plethora of fantastic designs.
Master Cycle – Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
It’s no surprise that Link made his debut in the Mario Kart series. Not only is he an iconic character in The Legend Of Zelda, but he has also appeared outside of the series, such as in the Super Smash Bros. series. While Link brings two bikes in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it’s his Master Cycle that really shines.
Its horse-like design paired with the Hylian shields on the sides make it a standout vehicle in the game. It perfectly blends many of the iconic series iconographies to create the ultimate Legend of Zelda-inspired vehicle.
Prancer – Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
While Mario Kart 8 Deluxe might not be the only kart racing game on the market, it is by far one of the best. This is in part thanks to his creative vehicle designs, including the Prancer. The Prancer mimics the swaying horses typically found on carousels, and its ornate carriage rear gives it the appearance of a carriage.
It is one of the most regal vehicle models in the game., especially in relation to the product placement vehicles that players can unlock. Its design is unique and evokes a wonderful sense of fantasy and childish wonder.
Small tugboat – Mario Kart 7
The Tiny Tug kart part is one of the funniest designs in Mario Kart 7. It’s, as you might expect, a small boat that players can equip with wheels and run around tracks while ingesting fungus. If he is not the most creative in terms of originality, the idea of racing in a boat is too funny to pass up.
There have been other boat-themed kart racers in other episodes of the series, such as the Landship kart in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. However, while they offer a similar thrill, The Tiny Tug’s picturesque setting and the prominent pipe protruding from the stern of the ship set it apart from all others.
Magikruiser – Mario Kart Wii
Kamek and the Magikoopa are formidable enemies in Mario games. So taking the opportunity to practically ride one of them is incredibly enjoyable. The Magikruiser takes the basic design of a Magikoopa and transforms it into a bicycle. Its head and hood make up the top end of the bike, while its broom’s vibrating brush explodes out of the rear end.
It’s a colorful design that perfectly encapsulates both the original enemy design as well as a fast bike. This is a phenomenal design and just another brilliant way for Nintendo to incorporate iconography from the entire series into its seminal kart racer.
Quacker – Mario Kart Wii
Mario Kart Wii has some of the most underrated tracks in the history of the series, many of which are worth revisiting. For those who fancy another go to Mario Kart Wii, doing it in style is highly recommended. And what better vehicle to do it than the fantastic Quacker.
The Quacker is a duck shaped bicycle. Kind of like Tiny Tug, Quacker is a fantasy vehicle design purely based on both its humorous value and its misplaced nature in the series.. The Quacker is an incredibly fast bike and actually deserves to be unlocked in the game. It’s also just a great way to run around and embarrass everyone around you.
Booster seat – Mario Kart Wii
Baby Mario and co were introduced in Mario Kart: Double Dash, but disappeared in Mario Kart DS. They would then appear in Mario Kart Wii and subsequent titles in the series. While some may find their appearance a little obnoxious, with them came a series of fantastic karts, including the booster seat.
The booster seat is not only a fantastic design for a baby character, but is also a brilliant spiritual successor to the Goo-Goo Buggy. It was a great standard kart to reintroduce baby characters and perfectly combine their playful and pro-racing sides.
Rambi Rider – Mario Kart DS
According to Metacritic, Mario Kart DS is considered to be one of the best Mario Kart games ever to be released. While this is probably due in part to its high-fidelity graphics and iconic track list, it’s possible that much of its success lies in its excellent kart design. From the iconic Cucumber to the legendary Rambi Rider of Donkey Kong, Mario Kart DS had it all.
The Rambi Rider isn’t complex in its design, but it sums up everything there is to know about Donkey Kong perfectly. It’s a rhino-shaped kart that looks as scary as Donkey Kong is perpetually happy. While the Rambi Rider doesn’t have all of the features you see on other karts in the series, its simplicity allows it to excel and become incredibly memorable.
Golden mantis – Mario Kart DS
The Gold Mantis is a gold digger kart owned by Waluigi. What makes this design so special is not only the fact that it is a gold-plated excavator capable of rolling over its competition, but that it is disproportionate to Waluigi’s immense size. .
Watching Waluigi sit cramped with his long, slender legs stretching out to either side is great fun. His arms extend to the top of the excavator especially when he pumps his fist in the air after a well-deserved victory. It’s a great vehicle design because it not only accentuates Waluigi’s comical size perfectly, but also his tasteless sense of self-worth.
Goo-Goo Buggy – Mario Kart: Double dash !!
Mario Kart: Double Dash is possibly one of the best Mario Kart games and one of the many GameCube games that are in desperate need of a makeover for modern consoles. He introduced fans to the baby characters and brought some amazing karts with them.
The Goo-Goo Buggy, despite its silly name, is an incredibly fun kart. With Baby Luigi hanging desperately in the back as Baby Mario walks forward, it’s hard not to smile every time he walks by. While the Goo-Goo Buggy hasn’t returned in some of the latest installments, its place is still cemented in Mario Kart history as one of the best-designed karts.
Koopa King – Mario Kart: Double dash !!
The aptly named Koopa King is a kart designed around the dreaded, but often rather adorable, Bowser. Named Koopa in Japan, Bowser’s scary appearance is perfectly reproduced in this gold-plated kart. With a sharp smile up front, protruding horns on either side, and a tuft of fur extending from the driver’s seat, this six-wheeled beast is sure to summon fear in its enemies.
While in the end Bowser isn’t quite as scary as his go-kart, it is a fun reminder that this hapless dad, who’s just trying to get by in a world full of vengeful plumbers, is meant to be a scary figure.
NEXT: Video Game Vehicles We Wish There Were
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