Which Mario Kart racer is the very best, like no-one ever was? Answering that question isn’t just about playing favourites anymore. Number crunching science has spoken, and the results are in.
There’s just something about gaming. By its very nature, you’re just playing a game, but things have a tendency to get super, super competitive. Take something like Mario Tennis Aces. As release approaches, all we have to go on so far is the demo. Nevertheless, heated discussions and tier lists are in full swing.
Mario Tennis? Tier lists? You’d better believe it. There are tier lists for Pokémon, too, and a huge competitive community over at Smogon to boot. You might think that these aren’t the sort of titles to get so competitive over, but here it is. In a similar vein, things just got incredibly serious over Mario Kart way.
Just about every gamer has dabbled in Mario Kart at some time or another. It’s one of those priceless couch co-op experiences that gaming just doesn’t offer enough of any more. When you do, you probably pick your favourite racer (the old classic Mario, a preferred colour of Yoshi where available, whoever) and hop on into it. More committed Karters go deeper than that, though.
More recent entries have offered a range of unlockable kart parts, which you can use to customise your vehicle’s stats. These are divided into the body of the vehicle itself, the wheels and the glider. In this way, you have quite a lot of freedom to tweak your setup. Do you want to give a heavy character even more speed, or do you want to sacrifice a bit of that for some much-needed acceleration? It’s all up to you.
To achieve the very best combinations possible, you’re going to need to tackle a complex concept known as Pareto efficiency. Essentially, there’s no single ‘best’ setup in Mario Kart, because of the stats. Neither acceleration nor speed is technically better than the other, for instance.
Pareto efficiency, as The Civis Journal reports, is about allocating limited resources (the points in each stat that different combinations will give you, in Mario Kart terms) in the most effective way. In such a way that it’s impossible to improve on any area of a spread without losing out in another area.
It’s very technical and bar graph-y, as you’ll see if you hit the link, but it all boils down to one simple concept. There are certain setups that are most ‘efficient’ for speed, and others that are most efficient for acceleration. Depending on whether you favour one style in particular over the other, these are the character, kart, wheels and glider combinations you’ll want to look into.
The big question, then: what are the best combinations? Fortunately, Nintendo Life are on hand with a handy-dandy guide: “The best combo for acceleration is Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Baby Peach, Baby Daisy, Baby Rosalina, Lemmy Koopa, or Mii Light, driving a Biddybuggy, Landship, or Mr. Scooty with Roller, Azure Roller, or Button tyres. The best combo for speed is Wario, Bowser, Morton Koopa, or Mii Heavy driving a Gold Standard, Mach 8, Circuit Special, or Sports Coupe with Slick or Cyber Slick tyres.”
So, there we are. If you’re a fan of the more recent Mario Kart titles, why not try these out and see how they perform for you?