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Mario Kart 9
ACL-Mario Kart 9 logo
English logo
Developer(s) Nintendo EPD,
Existence Software
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Distributor(s) Nintendo
Platform(s) Nintendo Switch
Release Date(s)
Q4 2018 - Q1 2019
Mode(s)
1-4 players locally,
1-8 players via wireless network connection,
1-12 players via online connection
Age Rating(s)
E for Everyone (ESRB)
3 (PEGI)
A (CERO)
Genre(s) Kart racing
Series Mario Kart series
Predecessor Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (2017)
Media Included Nintendo Switch Cartridge

Mario Kart 9 (Japanese: マリオカート9 Mario Kāto 9) is the ninth main instalment of the Mario Kart series. It was developed by Nintendo EPD and Existence Software for exclusive release on the Nintendo Switch. The game is the successor to 2017's Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and several assets are taken directly from this game.

Unlike other recent Mario Kart titles, Mario Kart 9 does not introduce any new gimmicks that factor into the design of the courses, though underwater, gliding, and zero gravity segments return. Much more emphasis has been placed on item usage, and the amount of items present in the game has been substantially increased from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, with three items not present in it returning from past games in addition to seven brand new ones. The Battle Mode from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also returns, as does the Mission Mode from Mario Kart DS.

Gameplay

Maintaining most elements from previous Mario Kart games, Mario Kart 9 is a kart-racing video game with a heavy emphasis on using items to hinder opposing racers. Players pick a character, which is placed in one of six different weight classes that determine the base stats of the character's vehicle. Players are then able to mix-and-match different customization pieces in order to create their vehicle, which they will then use to race around various obstacle course-like racetracks in an attempt to place first out of twelve other racers. Players receive different amounts of points depending on their position at the end of the race; with the winner of the Grand Prix determined by the one with the most points overall. For the first time in the series, Mario Kart 9 features 15 racers, as opposed to the 12 of Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 8 or the 8 of all other titles in the series.

During a race, racers can drive through Item Boxes to be granted an item through a roulette. As previously stated, these items are the main focus of a race, as using them may hinder other racers and/or aid the player. These items vary in usefulness depending on the distance from the current frontrunner; with racers closer to the frontrunner receiving less-powerful items (i.e. Banana Peels or Green Shells), while racers furthest from the frontrunner receiving the most powerful items in the game (i.e. Spiny Shell and Lightning). A mechanic that returns from previous instalments is the ability to carry up to two items at once, though Mario Kart 9 allows racers to carry two without needing to hold one behind their kart. With the ability to hold up to two items, racers can switch between the two of them at will.

All four vehicle classes from Mario Kart 8 return in Mario Kart 9, these being the kart, inside-drifting bike, outside-drifting bike, and ATV. As with its predecessor, the bikes of Mario Kart 9 handle much differently from their Mario Kart Wii counterparts, instead handling very similarly to the karts and only performing wheelies - now purely aesthetic - when boosting.

Point spread comparison
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Super Mario Kart,
Mario Kart 64,
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
9 6 3 1 0 0 0 0 - - - - - - -
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!,
Mario Kart DS
10 8 6 4 3 2 1 0 - - - - - - -
Mario Kart Wii 15 12 10 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 - - -
Mario Kart 7 10 8 6 5 4 3 2 1 - - - - - - -
Mario Kart 8 15 12 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 - - -
Mario Kart 9 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Gold background signifies victory results, with a unique winning animation and music.

Silver background signifies moderate win results.

Bronze background signifies losing results, with losing animations and music.

Grand Prix

Racecourses

There are 32 race courses in the game, split into eight different cups. Four of these eight cups feature brand new tracks, while the other four feature tracks from previous games. Of the 16 returning courses: 3 return from Mario Kart 8, 4 return from Mario Kart 7; 2 return from Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and Mario Kart 64; and 1 returns from each of Mario Kart DS, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, and Super Mario Kart. As with in Mario Kart 8, all retro courses feature updated graphics and course layouts; though those from Mario Kart 8 remain unchanged and those from Mario Kart 7 primarily only see a graphical upgrade with few changes.

If the player has a Mario Kart 8 Deluxe save file on their Switch, they will also unlock two bonus cups - the Egg and Bell Cups - made up entirely of courses that appear in that game.

SuperMushroomNSMB2
Mushroom Cup
FireFlowerMK8
Flower Cup
StarMK8
Star Cup
CatBell - SuperMario3DWorld
Bell Cup
Special Cup
Special Cup
GreenShellMK8
Shell Cup
U Mario Kart Stadium Wii Toad's Factory 3DS Daisy Hills GBA Riverside Park
BananaMK8
Banana Cup
SNES Donut Plains 2 3DS Wuhu Loop Wii Mario Circuit U Super Bell Subway
Super Leaf NSMB2
Leaf Cup
YoshiEggNSMBW
Egg Cup
LightningBoltMK8
Lightning Cup
SuperMushroomNSMB2 Mushroom Cup
FireFlowerMK8 Flower Cup
StarMK8 Star Cup
CatBell - SuperMario3DWorld Bell Cup
Special Cup Special Cup
GreenShellMK8 Shell Cup

U Mario Kart Stadium returns from Mario Kart 8. Like the other courses in Mario Kart 9 that debuted in that game, it is identical to its original appearance. The course is set within a large stadium at night, with pit stops and banners designed for the six characters to appear in every Mario Kart title: Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Toad, and Bowser. The course features an anti-gravity U-shaped turn near the end of it, that leads into a gliding section.

Wii Toad's Factory returns from Mario Kart Wii and, barring a graphical update, remains mostly unchanged from its original appearance. The course now has a more industrial setting, and is set solely within a factory as opposed to both inside and out of it. The room with the conveyor belts near the end of the course is now larger, and has been tilted to be on an angle with zero gravity enabled. The ending part of the course, which was previously set in a mud-filled halfpipe, is now set in a tank of water that racers jump into from the conveyor belt room, though the patch of mud remains, though smaller now.

3DS Daisy Hills returns from Mario Kart 7. As with other courses from that game, Daisy Hills' only major change comes in the way of its graphical design. The course is now set at sunset, and the goats once present on the course have been replaced by cows. The number of hot air balloons present in the gliding section has been reduced, and they now use designs more akin to those found on Royal Raceway in Mario Kart 8.

GBA Riverside Park returns from Mario Kart: Super Circuit, and is the only course in the Shell Cup to see any major design changes. While still located within a jungle, the scenery of Riverside Park has been redesign to feel more prehistoric, and now bares some similarity to the course Dino Dino Jungle from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Kart 7. Overall, the course's terrain has been made less even, with many pits and bumps that racers can trick off of. The section where racers had to jump over the river in the original version has been revised, and now racers must travel through the water itself. The course itself has also been redesigned so that it takes place on two planes, with players driving through a small alcove behind a waterfall after the first bridge section. The end of the course has been redesigned so that, while racers must still jump over a portion of the course to reach the finish line, this circular turn is now set in zero gravity as it is located on the side of a hill over which this river runs; the jump is still present, though is now a gliding section and has been made much longer than it previously had been. A volcano appears in the background of the course, which erupts at the beginning of the final lap, though this does not effect the course and is purely cosmetic.

BananaMK8 Banana Cup

SNES Donut Plains 2 returns from Super Mario Kart and uses an aesthetic design very similar to that of Donut Plains 3 from Mario Kart 8. The course's layout remains very similar to its original design from Super Mario Kart, though the road has been made wider in some parts while more bumps have been added over which racers can perform tricks. Looking at the track from a bird's-eye view with the starting line on the right, a large portion of the left side of the course has been submerged beneath a lake, though the road follows its original path. The Monty Moles remain on the track though have been re-positioned: one is located near the end of the course, while another right after the lake, where eight puddles of mud were located in the original course.

3DS Wuhu Loop returns from Mario Kart 7 and, aside from seeing a graphical update and a widening of the road, remains relatively the same. The shortcut located after the tunnel, where racers could drop off the right of the road and onto another segment, has been altered so that it is now set in zero gravity. One of the other two shortcuts on the course - the three pillars that racers could hop over - has been completely removed, while the other shortcut - the dirt road that leads to a glider jump - remains unaltered.

Wii Mario Circuit returns from Mario Kart Wii with very little changes in its overall design. Besides a graphical update, only one major change has been made to the course: after the overhang, the road enters a zero gravity section for the last semi-circular turn. The Goombas have been removed from this course, but the Chain Chomp remains.

U Super Bell Subway returns from Mario Kart 8, and is, like the other courses from that game, identical to its original appearance. Super Bell Subway is set within the Golden Bell, a subway located within a large city. This subway has several elements based on the original Super Mario Bros. title, with the underground theme being incorporated into the course's theme and the appearance of a mural depicting World 1-2 from that game.

Super Leaf NSMB2 Leaf Cup
YoshiEggNSMBW Egg Cup
LightningBoltMK8 Lightning Cup

Time Trial

Time Trial returns from previous instalments of the series. Just as in previous entries in the series, Time Trial mode sees players testing their skills out on a racecourse by racing against no CPUs with no items available to them besides three Mushrooms. The aim is to complete a race in as little time as possible, utilizing shortcuts and mini-turbos to shave as much time off of the timer to earn a better score.

Players can also test their skills out by racing against Staff Ghosts - ghosts based off Time Trial attempts of staff members who worked on the game - or they could save their own attempts or download those of other players.

Staff Ghosts

Course Staff Member Character Vehicle Combination
Body Wheels Glider

VS. Race

Battle Mode

Mario Kart 9 features an expanded version of the Battle Mode found in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and all five different modes that appeared in that game return alongside three new ones, bringing the total number of game modes to eight. These eight game modes are: Balloon Battle, Bob-omb Blast, Coin Runners, Shine Thief, Renegade Roundup, Thunderclap Dash, Boo Bounce, and Prankster Playground.

  • Balloon Battle: Each participant is given five balloons, and loses a balloon when they are hit by an item. The objective is to hit other players, as a participant will gain a point whenever they successfully manage to make one of their opponents lose a balloon; should a participant lose all of their balloons, they will respawn with three and be deducted half of their points (rounded up). Players may also use Mushrooms to steal the balloons of other participants. The player with the most amount of points when time runs out wins.
  • Bob-omb Blast: All participants can only obtain Bob-ombs from Item Boxes, though they can not be harmed by those they (or their teammates) throw. Unlike in races and other battle modes, where the player can only hold up to two different items, all participants may carry up to 10 Bob-ombs at one time. Like in Balloon Battle, all participants begin the battle with five balloons and will lose one upon being hit; should they lose all their balloons, they will lose half of their points (rounded up). The player with the most amount of points when time runs out wins.
  • Coin Runners: The aim of the game is to collect coins, which are scattered around the course. Participants can attack each other with items to make their opponents lose coins, though they can be harmed by their own items. The player with the most amount of coins when time runs out wins.
  • Shine Thief: A large Shine Sprite will spawn somewhere on the map, and the objective is that a single racer (or team) must hold on to it for a 20-second count (30 in team battles). The person carrying the Shine Sprite moves much slower than those trying to steal it from them; the Shine Sprite will drop onto the ground once the one carrying it is hit by an item (though boosting into them with a Mushroom will steal it directly).
  • Renegade Roundup: Renegade Roundup is the Mario Kart equivalent of Cops and Robbers, and as such is always a team-based game. There are two teams: the law (who all carry Potted Piranha Plants at all times), and those dodging them (the titular renegades). Both the renegades and the law can obtain items to throw at each other, though the law's Piranha Plants will bite at the renegades should they be close enough, sending them into one of the jails that remain stationary on the map. Those sent to jail can be released by hitting the switch located directly beneath it. The law wins by rounding up all the renegades at a single time, while the renegades win by successfully dodging the law until time runs out.
  • Moon Mash: Moon Mash is, in name, a new game mode introduced in Mario Kart 9, though is based off the Shine Runners mode from Mario Kart DS. In Moon Mash, a total of 15 Power Moons are dropped onto the stage, and players must collect as many of them as they can within 30 seconds. Once the timer ends, the one(s) with the least amount of Moons is eliminated from the competition, though they can still drive around and attack others with items. This will continue until only one player, or multiple members of only a single team, remain. When a player is hit by an item, they will lose half of their current number of Power Moons, but unlike Coin Runners, the Moons will respawn in another place immediately instead of simply landing around the one who dropped them. Additionally, when fewer than six players remain, the amount of Power Moons that will spawn will decrease to nine.
  • Prankster Playground: Prankster Playground is an entirely-new mode introduced in Mario Kart 9, and can be seen as Mario Kart's version of the Turf War mode from Splatoon. All racers have Magic Paintbrushes strapped to their vehicles, and driving around will paint their colour on the ground- any item they use will also paint the ground where it travels as well as within a small radius around those hit by these items. The participant or team with the most amount of turf covered at the end of the time limit is the winner.

Battle Courses

Baloon
Battle Stages
Sherbet Fort Mario Motors Spike Ruins
Derelict Dwelling SNES Battle Course 2
8D Dragon Palace Wii Funky Stadium 3DS Honeybee Hive

Mission Mode

Mission Mode returns in Mario Kart 9, having last been seen in Mario Kart DS. There are 40 new missions in the game, and feature a variety of different challenges on several different courses. The mode also incorporates elements from the online tournaments of Mario Kart Wii; such as modifying certain battle courses into race courses or pitting players against CPU racers with unique abilities.

Mission Mode is not unlocked by default: 5 missions are unlocked each time the player completes a cup for the first time in any engine class. That means the player must complete each cup at least once in order to unlock all missions.

Every ten missions (Missions 10, 20, 30, and 40) is a boss battle, where players are pitted against unique foes that do not appear anywhere else in the game. All boss battle missions take place in large octagonal rooms each with their own unique appearances and gimmicks that match the boss that is fought. Missions 5, 15, 25, and 35 are mini-boss battle missions, and, once completed, will unlock the miniboss for use in other modes as a playable racer. These boss battle missions are highlighted with blue backgrounds in the table below.

# Objectives Player Opponent(s) Setting

Characters

Playable Characters

Characters are broken up into six weight classes, with their stats being changed to further categorize them. There are Lightweight, Middleweight, and Heavyweight racers, which are further divided into Feather, Light, Medium, Standard, Cruiser, and Heavy weight classes.

Default characters

Unlockable characters

Unlock criteria
Character Criteria

Course Obstacles

Hazard Description Courses

Items

Vehicle Parts

There are three types of vehicle parts: tires, bodies, and gliders. In addition to these three types of parts, there are four different types of vehicle types that are defined by their body types: karts, outside-drift (OD) motorbikes, inside-drift (ID) motorbikes, and ATVs. Some body types change colour depending on the character that is using it; some additional bodies will change only should certain characters use them.

Some parts must be unlocked before they can be used. Parts can be unlocked by collecting coins, with a random unlockable part becoming usable when the player's cumulative number of coins reaches a certain amount; every 50 coins up until the player collects 1000 coins, then a part is unlocked for every 100 coins collected. There do exist some exceptions to this, namely the three Gold vehicle pieces - the Gold Tires, Gold Standard, and Gold Glider. These three Gold vehicle pieces are unlocked simultaneously by obtaining a 3-star ranking on all cups across all engine classes.

The stats of each vehicle are determined using the same base set of values as Mario Kart 8, and thus the stats for the Standard Kart, Standard Tires, and Super Glider (shown below) are identical. Just as in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, point values for the stats can range from 0.75 to 5.75.

Part Speed Acceleration Weight Handling Mini-Turbo Traction
Ground Water Air Anti-Gravity Ground Water Air Anti-Gravity On-Road Off-Road
Standard Kart 3 3 2 4 2 2 2 2 1 3 3 2 5
Standard Tires 2 4 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 2 2 4
Super Glider 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

The base set of stats used by the Standard Kart, Standard Tires, and Super Glider are lifted from Mario Wiki's page on Mario Kart 8.

Several vehicles return from previous Mario Kart games, while many new vehicle parts have also been added. Most of the vehicle parts featured in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe return, and feature their stat adjustments from that game.

Returning parts

Part Type Speed Acceleration Weight Handling Traction Mini-Turbo
Ground Water Air Anti-Gravity Ground Water Air Anti-Gravity
Standard Kart Kart 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Standard Tires Wheels 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Super Glider Glider 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

New parts

Part Type Speed Acceleration Weight Handling Traction Mini-Turbo
Ground Water Air Anti-Gravity Ground Water Air Anti-Gravity

Gallery

Trivia

  • The game was originally announced as "Mario Kart Switch".
  • Mario Kart 9 is the first game in the series to include the playable characters from all previous instalments of the series.
    • Mario Kart: Double Dash!! featured all of the characters that had been playable in the series up to that point except Donkey Kong Jr., who only appeared in Super Mario Kart.
    • It also marks the return of:
      • Petey Piranha and Koopa Paratroopa, who had been absent from the series since Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (2003).
      • Diddy Kong, Funky Kong, and Birdo, who had been absent from the series since Mario Kart Wii (2008).
      • Honey Queen and Wiggler, who had been absent from the series since Mario Kart 7 (2011).
  • This is the first game since 2000's Mario Tennis where Donkey Kong Jr. appears as a 3D model instead of a sprite, and the first time since 2002's Game & Watch Gallery 4 where Donkey Kong Jr. makes an appearance outside of cameos or ports.
  • Data suggests that Link, Isabelle, Villager, and the Inklings - all of whom appeared in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - were originally planned to return; however comments from the developers hint that this is merely leftover data. All of the characters that appeared in the aforementioned game use the same models and many of the same animations.
  • Mario Kart 9 is the first game in the series to introduce characters who should technically be unable to drive, as Wingo lacks arms to steer and instead uses his wings (which would realistically be unable to steer).
  • This is the first game in the series where a Magikoopa and a Hammer Bro. are playable characters. This is notable as:
    • A Magikoopa could be seen in some pre-release screenshots for Mario Kart 64 (occupying a space on the character select screen that, in the final game, Donkey Kong would instead) as well as having an unused character emblem present in the data for Mario Kart 8.
    • A mugshot of a Hammer Bro., that goes unused in the final game, appears alongside other playable characters in the data for Mario Kart Wii; it was one of the four known characters to be scrapped from that game, alongside Petey Piranha, Koopa Paratroopa, and a third Mii outfit.
ACL click here thingy footer
Mario Kart 9
Playable Characters
Default characters Mario · Luigi · Peach · Daisy · Rosalina · Pauline · Bowser · Bowser Jr. · Boom Boom · Donkey Kong · Diddy Kong · Donkey Kong Jr. · Yoshi · Birdo · Wario · Waluigi · Toad · Toadette · Toadsworth · Baby Mario · Baby Luigi · Baby Peach · Baby Daisy · Baby Rosalina · Koopa Troopa · Paratroopa · Lakitu · Hammer Bro. · Dry Bones · Magikoopa · Shy Guy · Wiggler · Honey Queen · Glydon · King Boo · Peepa · E. Gadd · Metal Mario · Pink Gold Peach · Mii
Unlockable characters Tanooki Mario · Cat Peach · Penguin Luigi · Dry Bones · Lemmy · Larry · Wendy · Iggy · Ludwig · Roy · Morton · Spewart · Topper · Rango · Hariet · Pom Pom · Nabbit · Spike · Waddlewing · Petey Piranha · Funky Kong · Dixie Kong · Captain Toad · Wingo
Alternate colours Green Shy Guy · Blue Shy Guy · Light Blue Shy Guy · Yellow Shy Guy · Pink Shy Guy · Black Shy Guy · White Shy Guy · Orange Shy Guy · Red Yoshi · Blue Yoshi · Light Blue Yoshi · Yellow Yoshi · Pink Yoshi · Black Yoshi · White Yoshi · Orange Yoshi · Gold Mario
Non-Playable Characters
Mission Mode Opponents Chain Chomp · Fire Mario · Roving Racers · Dark Bones
Bosses Reznor · Bouldergeist · Motley Bossblob · Gobblegut
Hazards Chain Chomp · Cow · Monty Mole
Background characters Cheep-Cheep · Dragoneel · Goomba · Hammer Bro. · Koopa Paratroopa · Luma · Noki · Penguin · Pianta · Reznor · Shy Guy · Spear-Mask · Toad · Tostarenan · Whittle · Yoshi
Items
Returning items Coin · Green Shell · Triple Green Shells · Red Shell · Triple Red Shells · Spiny Shell · Mushroom · Triple Mushrooms · Golden Mushroom · Mega Mushroom · Super Leaf · Fire Flower · Boomerang Flower · Cape Feather · Star · Shine Sprite · POW Block · Potted Piranha Plant · Bob-omb · Bullet Bill · Blooper · Boo · Fake Item Box · Banana · Triple Bananas · Super Horn · Lightning
New items Gold Shell · 1-Up Mushroom · Power Moon · Luma · Potted Inky Piranha Plant · Torpedo Ted · Red Boo · Gushen · Amp · Floating Mine · Turnip · Baseball