5 Features We Would Love to See in Mario Kart 9

Mario Kart 9 could be in development, and these are some features fans should love to see implemented into the series. Mario Kart 8 was originally released on the Wii U almost a decade ago. At this point, fans are clamoring for the next opportunity to throw Koopa shells and ruin friendships.

5 Features We Would Love to See in Mario Kart 9 Cover

I have been playing a lot of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe again recently. With the scarcity of new releases so far this year, it has been the perfect go-to game while drinking coffee and listening to podcasts in the morning. It wasn’t until early last week, though, that I had a revelation. Between the Wii U and Switch versions of the title, Mario Kart 8 has been the main entry for almost a decade. 

When looking at software sales for both the Wii U and the Switch, Mario Kart 8 is the number one game on both lists. The popular series may not even need a new title to continue its legacy, as spin-offs like Mario Kart Tour and Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit recently brought new ideas to the franchise. After 7 years of anti-gravity racing on the same tracks, though, I would love to see what new concepts Nintendo could bring to a sequel. Here are the top 5 features I want to see in Mario Kart 9.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Nintendo Switch Presentation 2017 Trailer

You can also check out this Mario Kart 8 Deluxe review.

#5. Dynamic Tracks

Forty-eight wonderful courses are waiting for you within MK8. Half of these stages are brand new to the series, while the other half are older tracks remade to utilize the current game’s anti-gravity feature. Each one will take time to master, from finding shortcuts to knowing when to drift around corners. While I was initially impressed with the level aesthetic back when it launched in 2014, the appeal has diminished as I have raced on the same static stages over and over again. 

The Animal Crossing track is one of my favorites in MK8 because it has 4 different layouts, one for each season. When choosing the course, the game will randomly pick a season and subtly change the track depending on the theme. The Winter version causes the track to become slippery, while the Summer variant adds ramps to the beach area. Each layout also provides a different song, ensuring that each variation of the course actually feels unique. I would love it if each Mario Kart 9 stage has at least one alternate version to race on.

It's always rainy in Neo Bowser City, but what if it was sunny for once?

It’s always rainy in Neo Bowser City, but what if it was sunny for once?

Even if future courses only have a day or night variant, they could feel more alive and encourage replayability. Scorching deserts could turn into freezing wastelands at night. What does a Boo Mansion even look like during the day? Hopefully, with these alternate stages, we would also receive variations of the music within the game, similar to how Animal Crossing: New Horizons changes its tune depending on the weather. I was shocked to recently find out that New Pokémon Snap will be diversifying its stages with a day and night cycle. Hopefully, Nintendo embraces the idea for its future projects. 

#4. Character-Specific Items

Mario Kart: Double Dash introduced a plethora of new features to the series. Allowing two players to ride on a single kart was unique and fun, but I really miss the items that only specific characters could use. Mario and Luigi could toss fireballs at their opponents, while Donkey and Diddy Kong could unleash a giant banana peel onto the course. If you think the modern version of Mario Kart is chaotic, having to worry about which characters you were racing against added an extra layer of difficulty to the game.

Yoshi and Birdo could hurl eggs at their opponents.

Yoshi and Birdo could hurl eggs at their opponents.

The variety of items available in MK8 is plentiful, with about 18 different tools to help you claim victory. The main appeal of bringing back character-specific items is to provide more depth and strategy while choosing your racer. The only difference between characters these days, besides how they look, is their weight. It would be great if each character could feel more unique in the future with specific items and maybe even vehicles attached to them.


#3. Planes, Boats & Automobiles

I love karts as much as anyone else, but after almost three decades of racing in them, I could use a little bit more variety. While the series has dabbled in aerial and water-based courses previously, players have never had the opportunity to drive anything new. With more options, the Nintendo level designers could explore new territory and create dynamic new tracks that utilize multiple vehicles.

Plane Glider sounds fine, but I just want the plane.

Plane Glider sounds fine, but I just want the plane.

The first idea would be to create three types of courses: driving, flying, and sailing. Each course would require the player to use a specific vehicle to maneuver to the finish line. Flying-focused levels could have players soaring high above The Mushroom Kingdom and provide a less-linear track design. Similar to how MK8 uses an Excitebike stage to showcase the company’s history, perhaps we could get a Wave Race-inspired stage that puts all of our favorite characters on a jet-ski for a wet and wild ride.

The second idea is that within a single course, players will be forced to drive multiple vehicles. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed originally used this idea, but there is plenty of room for innovation. The basic premise is that players will start the race in a kart, switch to a boat, and eventually a plane all in the same race. Designing an entire Mario Kart game around this feature could lead to some absolutely incredible levels. Imagine a course that begins with you driving through Peach’s Castle and ends with your character sailing past Isle Delfino. The possibilities are endless, and I would love to see what Nintendo could do without being restricted to kart-only racing.

#2. More Online Options

Nintendo has a reputation for not delivering great online multiplayer for its games. While titles like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tend to freeze or lag during online sessions, MK8 has always provided a reliable and fun service. I have rarely been booted from a race or noticed any significant lag in my many hours on the internet-paved tracks. The fact that it runs well is an achievement in itself, but the one thing I am looking for in future releases is more variety in modes while online.

The current online hub.

The current online hub.

Players can either compete in races or play in battles while connected to the internet. While both can be fun and chaotic, they do get stale after a while. With the inclusion of more online modes, Nintendo could deliver players a wide array of fun and new ways to play. Surprisingly, I think Mario Kart could look at and learn a lot from Grand Theft Auto Online

GTA Online offers players a massive amount of vehicle-based mini-games to play around within. Overtime Rumble, for example, requires players to launch their vehicle off a ramp and attempt to land on a giant dartboard to receive points. This is just one small idea that could add a lot more depth to one of Nintendo’s strongest online titles.

#1. More Nintendo Characters 

If you asked me back in 2012 if I wanted characters outside of The Mushroom Kingdom in Mario Kart, I would have said no. But that was before I got a taste of what the series could be if it were treated as a celebration of Nintendo’s past. Of course, Super Smash Bros. has typically been the go-to place for nostalgia and cross-overs. Still, after MK8 began releasing characters and courses inspired by Animal Crossing and The Legend of Zelda, I found myself desperate for more. Over the last year, I have caught myself fantasizing about racing through the Kanto Region from Pokémon or taking the lead as Olimar from the Pikmin series.

Link is on track to becoming one of my favorite racers.

Link is on track to becoming one of my favorite racers.

Opening the series up for other franchises to make their debut could turn Mario Kart on its head. Over the last few entries, the series has become known for re-using older tracks to balance new and familiar areas for fans. With new characters from different worlds involved, there is a good chance that the game would be full of only new tracks designed from the ground up. Whether that means tearing your way through Tallon IV from Metroid Prime or destroying the halls of the Garreg Mach Monastery from Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the possibilities remain endless and are nothing but fun to dream about.

Including new characters from other worlds would also fix one of my biggest complaints about MK8. There are 42 playable characters in the game, but most of them are just variants of one of the main drivers. When looking at Pink-Gold Peach or Baby Rosalina as options, it just makes me wish Nintendo got weird and added Goombas or Bullet Bills onto the roster instead. Replacing the duplicate drivers with icons like Captain Falcon or Jigglypuff would help make every character feel special and hopefully prevent everyone from playing as Waluigi online.

The current roster of characters.

The current roster of characters.

Those are the 5 features I would love to see in Mario Kart 9. Do you agree or disagree? Are there any features you would like to see in the next installment? Let me know in the comments below.

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