Mario & Nintendo Smash Kart is a special game in the Mario Kart series for the Wii U. Like other Nintendo 3DS and Wii U games, this game can be purchased both physically at retail and digitally through the Nintendo eShop. The game is the twelfth game overall in the Mario Kart series. It is the second Mario Kart game that has other first-party characters in it. The Wii U is also the first console to have more than one Mario Kart installment.
The gameplay maintains the traditional elements of previous Mario Kart games, mostly from the two recent installments on the Wii and Nintendo 3DS respectively. Karts, which feature similar designs from Mario Kart 7, can be customized once again, alongside the returning bikes, which handle similar to the karts now and can only perform a wheelie via a boost, and the newly introduced ATVs. The hang-glider and underwater mechanics also return, as well as Coins, with the player being able to collect up to ten in one race as in Mario Kart 7. Like Mario Kart Wii, twelve racers are present in normal races. Tricks and the ability to look behind also return in this game.
The newest feature for the series is anti-gravitational segments that not only allow for more dynamic track design, but also for racers to drive across walls, ceilings, and other seemingly unusual places. When in anti-gravity, if a racer bumps into another racer, the kart spins rather than just bumping and both racers receive a speed boost. This is called "spin boosting".
The game also features Wii U GamePad integration. In addition to the standard Off-TV Play, players also have the option of displaying the course map, and when neither the Off-TV display nor the map are being displayed, the GamePad can be used as a horn button. Players have the option to toggle between these features at will. The GamePad can also be used to toggle on and off the gyroscopic steering.
There is Miiverse integration, which allows players to share their replay videos and comment on others' videos, in a feature called Mario Kart TV. Another change is that in 2-player mode, the screen splits vertically instead of the horizontally in the other console Mario Kart games, a feature that was originally intended to be in Mario Kart 64 but was removed from the final game. Additionally, if the player falls off the edge of the track, Lakitu will pick them up and drop them back on to the track more quickly when compared to how he did this in past installments. This makes glitches involving falling into areas impossible.
Point management works similar to Mario Kart Wii, except that racers below top 3 get an extra point.
There are various game modes for Mario Kart 8. All modes available on singleplayer (some also on local and online multiplayer) are listed here.
Mario Kart 8's Grand Prix works similar to past installments. Like past games the 50, 100, and 150cc engine classes are available by default, and completing 150cc unlocks Mirror; for the former three, however, Grand Prix rankings carry over to the lower engine classes after being completed on a higher engine class . Only the Mushroom and Shell Cups are available at the start of the game, with the others being unlocked after completing the cup before, and are available in every engine class after being unlocked. The player starts out with 5 coins on the first race of any cup. There is the usual four-race marathon. Players now have the option to do a multiplayer Grand Prix up to four players, unlike in most previous home console Mario Kart games, where only up to two players can race in Grand Prix.
Time Trial mode lets the player complete a selected course in the fastest time possible. Among the new features included, the user can upload Ghosts onto Miiverse and other players can give their comments about it. Additionally the user gains a stamp once he or she has won a race against a Nintendo Staff member Ghost. Leaderboards as seen in Mario Kart Wii also return.
VS mode can be played locally with up to 4 players. Players can set rules like which items appear, the difficulty level of the CPUs, and Team or Solo racing. Players can also set how the courses appear, choose a course after one is finished, or play all tracks randomly or in order. In this game, Mirror Mode appears as a default engine class, even if it isn't unlocked in Grand Prix.
Battle Mode has been restored to how it once was, having specific tracks for the mode, despite there not being any returning ones. It combines survival battle mode from Mario Kart DS and earlier installments and the timed points battle mode introduced in Mario Kart Wii; all players start with 3 points and 3 balloons each. Successfully making an opponent lose a balloon awards the player a point, and losing a balloon through any method will cause the player to lose a point. Balloons can never be regained (unless one is stolen from another player with a Mushroom or a Super Star), and if all balloons are lost, points can no longer be lost or gained. Defeated players can still drive and attack players as a Ghost, although they cannot receive points. Players can also now adjust the time limit from one to five minutes, and they can set up to 32 rounds in set intervals.
- Bowser Jr.
- Captain Falcon
- Diddy Kong
- Donkey Kong
- Dr. Stewart
- Eggplant Wizard
- Fox McCloud
- King Dedede
- Mach Rider
- Meta Knight
- Princess Daisy
- Princess Peach
- Princess Zelda
- Samurai Goroh
- Tiny Kong