The Mario Kart series has been a staple in the Nintendo world since the release of the SNES. This classic racing game has been made eight times for eight different consoles, and including remakes, over 200 courses have appeared in the series. That’s sure a lot of tracks!
While racing as Peach or Mario can be a whole lot of fun, the game can also get pretty frustrating. Some levels have far too much lava, annoying banana peels, and giant slabs of ice that block the finish line.
Although there a few frustrating levels, the people at Nintendo have also come up with some pretty great tracks. Driving a motorcycle through a mall or a car through a pinball machine is something I definitely want to do again. So while we’re here to remind you of the most frustrating tracks in all of Mario Kart history, we’re also here to remind of you of some courses we’d love to see remade.
Mario Kart 9 doesn’t have an official release date yet, but we’re excited for the latest installment. Although it skips over a few of our remake picks, we’re ready to welcome a whole new set of courses. Perhaps we’ll even find some new favorites!
Hold on tightly to that steering wheel because we’re ready to spin out over the twenty worst Mario Kart levels as well as the ten that need to be remade.
30 Worst On Wii: Grumble Volcano
Mario Kart Wii was a blast, but Grumble Volcano was too much of a blast. It’s not fun having to dodge giant fireballs when all you want to do is slide into first place.
We certainly weren’t thrilled when it made a revival in Mario Kart 8. While the graphics and music were a whole lot better, we were still left with the bitter memory left by the Wii’s version of this course.
The random pieces of road that sunk into the lava? Also not great.
29 Worst On SNES: Ghost Valley 2
Once again, this course is one of those that probably shouldn’t have gotten a second shot. While we’ll cut Super Mario Kart some slack because it was created in a time when graphics weren’t great, this course still fails miserably. It’s an incredibly boring ride down a floating boardwalk and there are far too many opportunities to fall off. Additionally, it’s very short. You’ll be crossing the finish line asking if the race even happened.
Answer: It did. But it shouldn’t have.
28 Best On GameCube: Daisy Cruiser
Daisy Cruiser was some fun stuff.
This orange and blue cruise ship made Mario Kart: Double Dash twice as exciting.
After all, who wouldn’t want to drive a kart all across the back of a cruise ship? What’s the best part you ask? The giant pool. The winding hallways. The moving tables in the dining room.
While the original is still our favorite, it made a comeback in Mario Kart 7. We’d love to see a similar course made with a few modifications in the future.
27 Worst On GameCube: Sherbet Land
Don’t get me started on this one. I’ve never been a fan of the sherbet levels in the Mario Kart series and this course is no exception. After dodging the skating Shy Guys, racers are forced to skirt through an icy cave that is incredibly tight. Finish that off with some pesky ice blocks at the end that’ll freeze you instantaneously, and you’ve got the wonders of this course.
It was remade for Mario Kart 8 and turned out to be a lot better. The glazed-over graphics were ditched in favor of some gorgeous deep-colored scenery.
26 Worst On N64: Wario Stadium
People oftentimes say that they don’t remember the details of something, but they do remember how that said thing made them feel. This is my case with this course.
Wario Stadium was long – very, uncomfortably, boringly long.
There wasn’t much to it. There’s a lot of dirt. There are a few bumps and that’s about it.
The course was even oddly shaped. The track was kept in the confines of a curvy rectangle and really, the whole thing was just annoying. This is one track I won’t be playing again.
25 Best On Wii: Coconut Mall
Coconut Mall was so much fun back when it first released on the Wii. There’s nothing quite like driving up an escalator.
While it didn’t feel great to get hit by a car by the finish line or realize you were going up the wrong escalator, we can ignore these hiccups. It’s a cool track. Like Daisy Cruiser, this course also reappeared in Mario Kart 7, but we’d like to see it come back on a big screen.
Mario Kart 7 was only released on the Nintendo 3DS so there’s still a lot of graphical stuff that can be reworked.
24 Worst On N64: Luigi Raceway
The Luigi courses have always seemed to lack a little. Some of them aren’t too bad, but they’re usually simplistic. This is one of those over-simplified courses.
Shaped like a classic telephone, this course’s map only features a few curves. The obnoxiously bright color scheme made with lots of green, blue and yellow is something else we’re not a fan of. I wish there was more to say about this track, but there isn’t. It’s that unexciting.
23 Worst On SNES: Ghost Valley 1
If you can’t tell, Ghost Valley courses on the SNES deserve a bad rap.
If you thought Ghost Valley 2 was boring, you clearly haven’t been on the original.
Somehow this one’s worse. The track is even more simplistic and the graphics look the same. Nintendo’s creators should have stopped here, but nope – a second one was what they craved. Unfortunately, this course was reused on the Game Boy Advance’s Mario Kart Super Circuit. The graphics are only made worse by the weird purple trees added to the background.
22 Best On GameCube: Baby Park
Baby Park is probably the only course in all of Mario Kart that you’ll be able to lap your fellow racers on. The track crowds up with everyone’s items and you’re forced to dodge them for all seven laps. The track might be a simple oval, but it gets crazy and amusing.
This classic course was remade for Mario Kart 8. It got a color boost and was made even more theme-park-like.
We want to see a new spin on this course. Tiny, multiple-lapped courses are where it’s at.
21 Worst On Nintendo DS: DK Pass
It’s the snowmen and the snowballs that make this course frustrating. Really, it’s just the snow. I’m into the type of courses that don’t involve dodging giant objects that role toward you. This makes this course rank low in my book for sure.
Outside of the pesky snowballs, there isn’t a lot to the course. The track is decent, but it’s not that exciting. Really, I’d call this course average, and average isn’t good.
20 Worst On Nintendo DS: Shroom Ridge
I have a love-hate relationship with Mario Kart courses that involve cars that come right at you. This course follows that relationship for sure.
It’s not just the cars though, it’s that the cars come by you while you’re on the edge of a cliff. It’s those giant pesky turns in which racers can’t see if a vehicle is hurling at them. That’s what I don’t like.
The course could be worse, but it could also be better. It’s not creative in any way. I’d rather be driving through a mall than on a street. It’s too traditional.
19 Best On GameCube: Mushroom Bridge
Remember how I was complaining about courses involving vehicles like two seconds ago? Turns out, this one isn’t all that bad.
While Mushroom Bridge also appeared on the Nintendo DS, it showed up on this smaller console as a copy rather than a remake.
Mushroom Bridge is lots of fun, and if you’re feeling risky, you can actually ride up the edges of the bridge.
It’s probably not worth it as you’ll most likely end up in the water, but it added some interest indeed.
18 Worst On SNES: Vanilla Lake 2
This course combines all the worst stuff in Mario Kart. Obnoxiously cracked ice, an oversimplified track, boring graphics, and oh yeah – that obnoxiously cracked ice I already mentioned. It’s far too easy to end up in the water if you’re not ridiculously careful on this course. The frustration is real and totally not worth it.
And yes, I’m not always ratting on Super Mario Kart. Try Rainbow Road on the SNES instead. It’s actually quite exciting.
17 Worst On Nintendo 3DS: Shy Guy Bazaar
Shy Guy Bazaar has some of the stuff granted to the newer Mario Kart games such as fresh graphics. Its map, though, is lacking. There’s a lot of jumping toward the end and a lot of turning toward the beginning. It’s certainly not the worst Mario Kart course ever made, but it could have used some improvement.
The theming is pretty cool. The flying carpets are a plus. But overall it doesn’t stand out as one of the top Mario Kart 7 courses.
16 Best On N64: Yoshi Valley
The original Yoshi Valley was one of the coolest tracks on all of Mario Kart 64. What particularly made it interesting was racers' ability to choose multiple directions to the finish. There wasn’t just one fork in the road – there were many. If you could dodge the giant egg at the end, this course was a keeper.
The Mario Kart 8 version was very cool, but we’d like to see it again. Give us more courses that have optional routes, Nintendo. We like making our own decisions.
15 Worst On Nintendo DS: Yoshi Falls
This course made a comeback on the Wii, but it really shouldn’t have. It’s pretty basic, and driving over a waterfall just doesn’t seem like a good idea.
The whole course is a game of “how close can I get to the edge without falling over?” It doesn’t have tight turns or a crazy theme. It’s just you, your fellow racers, and a giant circular track. We prefer the other Yoshi courses for sure.
14 Worst On Wii: Maple Treeway
I don’t think the designers of this course tried to make it frustrating, but somehow it is. Let’s start with that first turn up the trunk of the maple tree. Do you even know how hard it is to not fall off there? Now let’s talk about the giant caterpillars that like to block the track. What about we say a few words on those banana peels that appear when you rush through a stack of maple leaves? Yup, not our favorite.
13 Best On Game Boy Advance: Shy Guy Beach
We were happy to see it revived on the Wii, and we’d like to see it again.
Mario Kart Super Circuit’s Shy Guy Beach was wild.
The hazards like the crabs and the bombs made it more exciting rather than annoying. While there are moments this course gets old, it’s overall a good one. We’d be happy to see a new version of Shy Guy Beach hidden in a future Mario Kart game. As long as we can dodge those palm trees, we’ll be fine.
12 Worst On SNES: Choco Island 2
Let’s start with the music this time around. Something about it is far too upbeat for the way this course turns out. There are lots of rough patches and mud that your car can easily get stuck in, and we’re not fans of it. Also, the edges of the course look weird and grainy to the point that they seem to flash at you as you drive. Nothing about this track is settling in the slightest.
11 Worst On GameCube: Mario Circuit
This course has always left a bad taste in my mouth. The map is interesting, but it’s not fun to turn to the corner and run into a Chain Chomp, Piranha Plant, or Goomba. There are too many of Mario’s enemies lurking around the corners of this track, and there’s not enough excitement outside of it.
The road itself is pretty basic. Why ride around a circuit when you could ride around a cruise ship? Point made.
10 Best On N64: Koopa Troopa Beach
There is too much to love about this course. The best part by far is the waterfall shortcut.
This was Mario Kart’s best beachy fun-land before Peach Beach was a thing.
There isn't much to dodge outside of palm trees and the occasional crab, and it's fun to skirt by the water as it comes in and out of the ocean.
Being able to launch over the giant green boulder-like thing toward the end is also pretty cool.
9 Worst On Nintendo 3DS: Wuhu Island Loop
Glitches can be fun, but on Wuhu Island Loop, they’re just obnoxious. That glitch that let you skip half the course? Not good.
While Wuhu Island is awesome, the theming seemed pretty off for a Mario game. Wuhu Island is the epicenter of the Mii world. What were Mario and his friends doing there?
I guess the main issue with this place is that it lacked originality. You can already bike around Wuhu Island in Wii Sports Resort. Do we really need to drive around it, too?
8 Worst On Wii: DK Summit
Ah, one of the snow courses. Again.
This course gets pretty hectic. You start with a giant launch through a cannon. You skirt through piles of snow, up ramps, and around snowboarding Shy Guys. It’s a bit much.
There’s also a couple of big jump shortcuts that will shave seconds off your final time. They’re worth taking, but they take some work to figure out. There’s a lot of strategy involved in this course, and to us, the effort isn't worth it.
7 Best On Wii U: Mount Wario
Guess what. Nintendo finally made a rockin’ snow course with this one.
While lots of Mario Kart tracks seem to spiral upward or forward, this one actually brings you on a descent down a mountain.
We’re a big fan of that originality!
The laps are unique and the theming is fresh. Can we also talk about how beautiful the graphics are on this one? While it might be a while before we see it one remade, we’re looking forward to catching this one again. It’s one of the most exciting tracks you’ll race on.
6 Worst On SNES: Donut Plains 3
The remake is better, yes, but the original lacked a few things. The most frustrating part comes toward the beginning when you’re required to go over a bridge with some planks missing. Who thinks of this stuff? We don’t want to take a dive in water, so this is one course we won’t be playing anytime soon.
I will give this course a little credit. It’s interesting, at least. Just watch out for the moles!
5 Worst On Game Boy Advance: Lakeside Park
Lakeside Park was pretty groovy, but we’re still not into courses that involve erupting volcanos. There’s lots of water and a heavy amount of tight turns. Mainly it’s just confusing. Additionally, the lava looks like meatballs, so that doesn’t really help with the whole making-sense-thing. What is up with this course?
Did I already talk about the bridge with the missing planks the creators chose to include again? No? I’m sure you can assume how we feel about that.
4 Best On Nintendo DS: Waluigi Pinball
While this course got remade once, we think it deserves a chance to be remade again. Waluigi Pinball was the star of Mario Kart DS. It’s a freaking pinball machine you’re racing in, guys, c’mon.
The launch at the beginning, giant pinballs, and bumpers made this course a keeper.
It’s the craziest gameland and one of our all-time favorites. Just imagine how bomb it would look on a giant screen rather than a handheld console!
3 Worst On Nintendo DS: Figure-8 Circuit
With every good course comes a bad one.
There are no Goombas, crabs, caterpillars, or moles. There is no ice, water, or lava. There actually isn’t much of anything.
The problem with this course is that it’s mainly a flat figure-eight track with nothing else. While this might have been acceptable in the SNES days, this is the Nintendo DS, guys. Let’s get real. Not even the background is the slightest bit interesting. Everything about it is basic.
2 Worst On Wii U: Dolphin Shoals
The graphics in Mario Kart 8 are stunning, no doubt, but this track is a little too gimmicky for our taste.
There’s a lot going on. Ramps. Hoops. A giant eel. Whatever was going wrong with the last course is the opposite of what went wrong with this one. While it’s still pretty fun, it’s also pretty overwhelming. It’s sort of like it was designed to show off all of the updated features in Mario Kart 8 rather than exist as a solid course on its own.
1 Best On All Systems: Rainbow Road
Love it or hate it, Rainbow Road has been rocking every single Mario Kart game that has been made so far. We love seeing the new twists and turns (quite literally) that Nintendo adds to this colorful course. It seems they just keep getting better.
While we’re still awaiting details of Mario Kart 9, we’re going to bet that Rainbow Road will be the grand finale course once again. We can’t wait to try it out!