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  • 8.8: Gamespot rated it with an 8 out of 10. The review was glowing with positive remarks, but the uproar from fans happened when the reviewer docked two whole points for a poor Battle Mode and poor selection of characters when other games with the same flaws got higher scores. The Deluxe version got a 9 out of 10 from them, more in line with the general consensus, and garnered fewer complaints as a result.
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  • Americans Hate Tingle: Metal Mario, Pink Gold Peach and the baby characters have a pretty big fanbase in Japan, while overseas, they're by and large seen as uninspired clones that steal slots from more deserving characters.
  • Annoying Video Game Helper:
    • Smart Steering in Deluxe is supposed to prevent falling off and crashes, but it can be obstructive sometimes. It has a tendency to railroad you into certain paths it thinks you're taking, actively blocking you from accessing shortcuts if you don't plan ahead. It also likes to pull U-turns and slams the brakes to avoid crashing, which can occasionally be just as bad of a setback as if you crash. Thankfully, you can turn it off, and you should, since you can't do Ultra Mini-Turbos if it's on.
    • When you unlock a new vehicle customization option, then go to any mode other than online and go pick your vehicle, the game will "helpfully" point out the part you just unlocked by forcibly highlighting it for you. If you forgot what your build was before the game changed it for you, you're screwed, because the game won't revert you back to it.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
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    • Waluigi's exclusion from Mario Kart 7 has really divided the fans over whether or not that was a good idea, especially when ScrewAttack reported Waluigi was excluded because he was somehow considered creepy. But he returns in Mario Kart 8, to the joy of many fans. Similarly, veteran racers such as Bowser Jr., Dry Bones, and King Boo being added to the Deluxe edition after fans lamented their absences in the initial version.
    • The revamped battle mode in Deluxe won over fans who were dissatisfied with the one in the original.
    • The Super Horn was introduced specifically to counter the dreaded Spiny Shell, greatly diminishing its Game-Breaker status. Fans were relieved. However, in Deluxe, the item distribution algorithm has been altered so the Spiny Shell appears more often.
    • After being a hot-button topic throughout the Wii U era of 8, it's been confirmed that the Fire Hopping exploit has been removed from the Deluxe version of the game.
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    • Unlocking the Gold Glider in Deluxe has reduced its requirements to 5,000 coins from 10,000 coins in the original, which makes this require less grinding. The coins collected in Coin Runners (more than 10 coins) also count to the total and make unlocking even easier.
    • While a minor complaint, many people were dissatisfied that the Animal Crossing outfit could only be unlocked through the Villager amiibo, and not through the amiibo cards. Deluxe remedies this issue, allowing the outfit to be unlocked with any amiibo card.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Metal Mario is disliked by some people, because he is only a metal version of Mario with slightly heavier stats. Some people even hate his voice. That being said, Japanese players and some Super Smash Bros. 64 fans love him. Pink Gold Peach is also disliked for similar reasons.
    • Unlike in Wii and 7, Rosalina's base shattered due to her being overused online and overshadowing the other Cruiserweight characters. This is on top of her new, Peach-like voice and having a baby version of herself as a part of 8's roster.
    • Link, Villager, Isabelle, and as of Deluxe, the Inklings, while being welcomed with open arms by many fans, have left the hardcore fanbase in tatters, partially due to being Crossover (that is, non-Mario) characters and (initially) even more so for the sin of being paid Downloadable Content. Not helping matters is the fact that there are a number of F-Zero tracks and a usable Blue Falcon vehicle, but Captain Falcon is nowhere to be seen as a playable character. (He does have a Mii costume unlocked by scanning his amiibo figure, but that's not a lot of comfort.)
    • Morton. Thanks to the way weight and acceleration classes interact with one another, Morton is often considered the best character in the game with the right kart set up, often running circles around the competition. While some don't mind, especially with how undistinguishable the Koopalings tend to be from one another in games they show up in, others despise Morton because of it, often citing him as 8's version of Funky Kong.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • Bowser's Castle, which has a giant lava golem Bowser that punches the track so hard it undulates, as well as a kickass electric guitar soundtrack.
    • For many, the Star Cup has the best four tracks of the game:
      • Sunshine Airport, a relatively fun race around an active airport.
      • Dolphin Shoals, mostly due it being a huge love letter to water-based levels of the whole Mario-franchise in terms of creativity. However, this experience is heightened by its very track-integrated soundtrack: it starts out as pretty ambient tropical song, eventually exploding into astoundingly catchy saxophone during the anti-gravity section. It only gets more awesome during the final lap where this rendition is played throughout the course.
      • Electrodrome, a high-tech racetrack that looks like it came from a rave party.
      • Mount Wario, a race down a snowy mountain that feels like skiing, through icy cliffs, a cave, a hydroelectric dam, and a ski jump. It also happens to have one of the most acclaimed soundtracks in the game and the Mario franchise.
    • Water Park, which combines Amusement Park and Down the Drain. Especially fun for fans of real water parks.
    • Mute City is one of the few courses that's fully in anti-gravity, on top of having a ton of boost panels to keep you going at top speed for the whole race.
    • Hyrule Circuit, a course which pays tribute to The Legend of Zelda. Instead of coins, there are rupees to collect, and the familiar "item get" jingle plays when you get an item. There's even a part of the course where hitting three boosts in a row will reveal a shortcut and the "secret revealed" jingle.
    • Wild Woods has great music and scenery, and a slide.
    • GBA Ribbon Road has been reworked, and most agree it's for the better. You're on a toy racetrack in a kid's bedroom.
    • Big Blue combines elements of the aforementioned Mount Wario and Mute City, making for a tension-filled race that's exciting all the way through.
  • Broken Base:
    • 8 bringing back some of the controversial features from Wii, like having twelve characters per race instead of eight.
    • The fact that N64 Rainbow Road got the same treatment as the Rainbow Road from 7 did where the track is divided into three sections instead of three laps. Some people, in a rather ironic twist given the complaints about the original, feel that It's Short, So It Sucks!; others, however, don't mind and are happy to see it back.
    • There's also the fact that N64 Yoshi Valley now knows what place you are in. Some people are relieved to have That One Level toned down; however, some are wearing Nostalgia Goggles and want it the way it used to be (mostly without knowing (or caring) that the track obfuscated racers' positions in 64 due to technical reasons).
    • The new Rainbow Road track. While some people say it looks gorgeous and fun, others have panned it for being too short and too simplistic compared to previous versions, and not using enough of the anti-gravity track mechanics introduced in the game.
    • The character roster in general. While Ensemble Darkhorses like Toadette and Waluigi have returned to the race, the 9 new racers have left a mostly sour taste in much of the fanbase. The 7 Koopalings are Ensemble Darkhorses themselves, but the fact that they take a whopping 7 slots in the 30-character roster has left the base a bit broken in that regard. Worse, Bowser Jr., a character whose fan base is often at odds with the Koopalings, was not included, along with other long-time fan favorite Diddy Kong. The more controversial racers include Baby Rosalina and Pink Gold Peach, largely for the fact that they both contribute as Palette Swaps, making the roster have five babies that play too similarly to one another and two metallic Palette Swaps of Mario and Peach. Counting those with the seven Koopalings, they all take up almost half of the entire roster. Bowser Jr. fans were somewhat appeased with his inclusion in Deluxe, but... Well, see below.
    • The announcement of free Mercedes-Benz DLC for Mario Kart 8 which launched on August 27th, 2014 (European and American confirmation here). This has shattered the base in numerous ways that include but are not limited to: Nintendo selling out when this is not their first time doing this (also, some of the previous product placement never left Japan), some are worried about the precedent set by Nintendo doing this product placement first instead of giving Battle Mode much-needed arena DLC or returning the cut characters first (also, some people were worried that this product placement DLC would be all we'd get for Mario Kart 8), some people find real-world elements doesn't mesh well with the Mario universe, and some people view that there's nothing wrong with this product placement and that this is another case of people hating on Nintendo for no reason especially since this DLC is optional and free of charge.
    • SNES Rainbow Road. Some people are glad this classic is back for another go in 8 since its last appearance in 7, but others would have preferred a different, newer Rainbow Road like the one from Super Circuit due to SNES Rainbow Road being the third Rainbow Road that's on the easy side in 8.
  • While people are excited for the improved Battle Mode and new and returning characters in the Deluxe expansion, some dislike the fact that they have to pay for the whole game all over again just to get it. And while the new content has been warmly received, there has been some debate over whether it should come to the Wii U version too (as either update content or DLC). It depends on whether you think the Wii U version deserves the content just as much or if it should be restricted for more sales.
  • Some complaints arose that the elimination mechanic in Balloon Battle would be removed in favor of Wii's point-based version. Others felt it suited online play better, while some wished the option still existed.
  • The fact that all the characters, difficulty levels and cups are all unlocked from the start in Deluxe made some people angry. On one side, you have the persons who already bought 8 on Wii U who feel happy that they won't have to do almost everything once again, while on the other side, you have the others who only bought Deluxe who feel that the single-player mode has lost most of its interest (you now can only unlock Gold Metal Mario, a palette swap of Metal Mario, after completing every cup in 200cc, which is not exactly worth the effort).
  • The removal of firehopping in Deluxe has ignited a heated Casual/Competitive Conflict within the community. On one side, supporters of this decision are happy they now have a chance to win online without people abusing a cheap exploit, while detractors cry out accusing Nintendo of ruining the game by taking all of the skill out of it.
  • 200cc can now pop up at random during online play in Deluxe, being more frequent with higher VR. Casual/Competitive Conflict ensues here since it makes the usual strategy of competitive playnote  a massive double-edged sword in online play, since such a combo is often too fast to stop or turn properly, making online races a case of Luck-Based Mission with this setup. On the casual side, people applaud it since it encourages builds that aren't just Morton + best speed to acceleration combo and actually lets lighter charactersnote  have a chance to shine in online play. However, detractors also point out that the majority of online karts are nothing but Biddybuggies, Streetles, Wild Wigglers, the occasional Landship, and Roller tires.
  • Character Tiers: While 8 retains the customization system from 7, about 90% of the speed stat comes solely from your character's weight.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • Bowser, Dry Bowser, Wario, Morton, and heavy Miis are ubiquitously used for world-record Time Trial runs in 8 due to having the highest speed stat. Largely averted in normal racing, where the trade-off between speed and acceleration is more balanced than it was in previous titles, though the heavyweights still see plenty of use online (especially Morton). This has been derailed by 200cc mode, which has also outright rendered the "firehopping" technique completely useless — due to the sheer speed, handling is vital for not falling off now, making lighter characters more useful. Top speed and acceleration doesn't exactly help when you're too fast to actually stay on the track...
    • Certain kart combinations tend to be seen a lot more than others. Streetle + Slick tires + heavy glider is often considered the best combo in competitive play, and if people do use bikes, expect it to be an inward-drifting one with slick tires and a heavy glider.
    • As of Deluxe, Slick tires have been heavily nerfed due to a mix of some stat changes, new steering mechanics, and random online matchups now allowing 150cc, Mirror, and 200cc races. The latter two alterations favor kart combinations with higher acceleration and handling, so expect to see lots of Biddybuggies, Streetles, and Roller tires. Wild Wigglers are also a frequent sight, often packing said Roller tires.
    • Likely due to it not being marketed at all, there are a lot fewer people using motion controls in Deluxe than the original Mario Kart 8. This was enough to reappropriate the phrase "I'm using tilt controls!" as a meme rather than a statement of pride.
  • Contested Sequel: Few will call Mario Kart 8 a bad game, with many loving the amazing HD graphics, the imaginative track design, the DLC, and the great soundtrack once again, but other aspects like the character roster, the Battle Mode note , and the fans' impression that it replaced F-Zero are a lot more controversial. This extends with its Deluxe version, as some would have preferred a new Mario Kart tailored for the Switch instead of a port with content that easily could have been added to the Wii U version.
  • Disappointing Last Level:
    • 8's version of Rainbow Road is getting this from many reviewers and players, since it's pretty basic by Rainbow Road standards, comes right off the heels of 7's version and doesn't make as much use of gravity mechanics as it could (being in a space station and all). Many feel N64 Rainbow Road to be a more fitting finale, which oddly the game itself seems to agree with, since that's the one that features prominently at the end of the credits as well as the main menu screen and box art of the Switch version — though the revamped second credits sequence after Mirror Mode uses the new Rainbow Road for the final shot, so this could be seen either way.
    • N64 Rainbow Road gets this due to how short it is due to the track itself being shortened a bit and the race reduced to a single lap, giving it the exact opposite problem that its original appearance had.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Waluigi. Many were sad when he was omitted in 7. But he was one of the first characters announced to be returning in 8, making his fans very happy.
    • The Koopalings. They've been popular with fans since their introduction, and now they are all finally playable, much to the fans' delight. Roy in particular seems to be this among the fans (through Morton recently got a hatebase, thanks to being a Tier-Induced Scrappy).
    • Metal Mario, particularly among the Japanese and Super Smash Bros. fans. Pink Gold Peach isn't so lucky in this regard.
    • After the first DLC pack was released, online matches are practically flooded with Link players. They rival the number of Rosalina players (and happen to have similar stats as well, being Cruiser-weight).
    • The Animal Crossing characters joined Link after the release of the second DLC pack. It's very hard to come across an online race that doesn't have at least two Isabelles or Villagers. Of course, it helps that Isabelle was a popular character to begin with.
    • As of Deluxe, the Inklings were also tightly embraced by the Mario Kart community.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Very few F-Zero fans were pleased when Mario Kart 8 came and introduced the anti-gravity mechanic. They view this as a final nail in the coffin for the F-Zero series because there's no need for two racing series with anti-gravity mechanics. Not helping is the 200cc mode, which seemingly causes the game to become F-Zero in all but namenote . To top it off further, the DLC packs provide two tracks based on F-Zero's recurring course themes (Mute City and Big Blue), leaving fans wondering if F-Zero is going to become a part of the Mario Kart series overall.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Subverted with the Super Horn. It can take out nearly any item in a short distance from the user, even the Spiny Shell. If you can get it, that is. And if you don't get hit by the Lightning item, which makes you drop whatever item you're holding.
    • Zig-Zagged with Smart Steering. On the one hand, it prevents you from drifting off the sides of the track, which can be helpful in 150cc and 200cc. On the other hand, it also causes you to do some weird U-turns, often prevents you from taking shortcuts, and disables Ultra Mini-Turbos.
  • Genius Bonus: Pink Gold Peach's name seems really odd at first, but pink gold is actually real. Also known as 'rose gold,' pink gold is an alloy of gold and copper most often used in jewelry. Or Apple products, as of late.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Sugar Rush from Wreck-It Ralph parodies this game in conjunction with a sweets motif, and the third track in the Mushroom Cup of this game is Sweet Sweet Canyon.
    • This video from Dorkly is about the Koopalings (specifically Larry) hating spending time with Bowser because all they do is guard airships and get beaten up by Mario. During the argument, Bowser says that "he can be a fun guy who takes them to go-kart races", but Larry says that Bowser only takes Bowser Jr. to those. In the original version of Mario Kart 8, Bowser Jr. isn't available, while the Koopalings are.
    • Thanks to the Mercedes-Benz DLC, Donkey Kong is finally able to go driving around in a fancy car.
    • F-Zero fans thought that F-Zero is dead due to this game's existence. Now there's F-Zero courses and an F-Zero kart as DLC. Also, Mario Kart getting F-Zero content is interesting, as F-Zero X had N64 Rainbow Road in its track lineup.
    • When The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was in development, there was a fake leak which claimed the game would feature a cyberpunk motif and Link driving a motorcycle. Although Skyward Sword ultimately had neither of those things, the latter seems oddly prophetic now that Link actually can ride a motorcycle as a guest racer. Made double-hilarious because in the rumored cyberpunk Zelda, some sources claimed that the motorcycle was either named Epona or that it was literally that game's version of Epona. And then they unveil the Master Cycle, a steampunk motorcycle themed after Epona made special for Link. The whole joke has gone circle with the 2nd DLC for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild where Link can actually ride a motorbike in his game officially, and the bike making it to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
    • In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, one of the fortune cookies that rewarded Nintendo furniture — #32, to be exact — told the Villagers; "You should consider a career as a professional kart racer". Looks like they took its advice.
    • This isn't the first game with a motorcycle in Yoshi's likeness.
    • This isn't the first time Mario and friends rode bikes on an Excitebike track.
    • The commercial for Super Mario Kart mentions that there are two speeds: "Fast and WAY too fast!" Then Mario Kart 8 introduced 200cc...
    • One of the trailers for the 4th Super Smash Bros. game opened with a bait and switch which teased that Kirby would appear in Mario Kart 8; one year later, Nintendo announced the DLC packs for Mario Kart 8, which would include guest racers from other series (though Kirby currently remains absent from these).
    • When Ice Ice Outpost was first released, many had thought the music was very similar to the music found in Mega Man 7 or Mega Man & Bass. While Mega Man didn't become playable himself, an outfit based on him was eventually confirmed to be a part of the second round of DLC.
    • While Baby Park didn't first appear in 8, the game went all-out to make Baby Park part of a Mario-themed amusement park, with rides and all. Soon after, Baby Park did appear in the second DLC pack, and Nintendo announced that it plans to bring amusement park rides to Universal Studios.
    • The first voice actress for Rosalina was named Mercedes Rose. Even though her voice actress changed, with the Mercedes-Benz DLC, Rosalina can still be associated with a Mercedes.
    • One player drew up a hypothetical race track and rides for Inklings, thinking they'd be perfect for Mario Kart. Come Deluxe, they appear alongside the DLC characters.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!:
  • Memetic Badass: After Mario Kart 8 was released, Luigi is often portrayed as a merciless, hardcore racer thanks to the Death Glares he gives whenever he passes someone. Then this happened...
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Upon the Super Horn's reveal, many have claimed the Spiny Shell's "tyranny" is over at long last, which is kind of true: while it can destroy any Shell if used at the right time, and it can be picked up by the race leader, it's also quite rare to come by.
    • With the reveal of Pink Gold Peach and Baby Rosalina in MK8, fans have started coming up with increasingly ludicrous character variant ideas for sequels, like "Baby Pink Gold Funky Kong".
    • Cold-blooded Luigi's Death Glare in MK8. It has mutated from there, with people trying to make nearly every single character in the game look psychotic to each racer they hit. Nintendo themselves have gotten in on it with a Miiverse post and a shout-out at E3. And when it was introduced as the last Underground challenge in the 2015 Nintendo World Championship, the first line the announcer says is "Get your death stares on!", complete with Luigi doing the stare.
    • 'Link Kart 8' became pretty popular as a snarky way to regard the sheer number of people picking Link online after the pack one DLC got released.
    • "Gotta go fast!" is often used to describe 200cc. Many have snarked that the brake button will finally be useful for once. There's also an unlockable Sonic amiibo suit. The "Two speeds: Fast and WAY TOO FAST!" line from the original Super Mario Kart's commercial is also used in the same context.
    • "Morton Kart 8", often referring to how Morton has become 8's version of the infamous "Funky Bike Wii" meme in regards to Funky Kong being the most picked character in Mario Kart Wii.
    • "I'm using Tilt Controls!" referring to the frequently spammed preset message for pregame lobbies.
    • "Woomy on a Vroomy", upon it was announced that Inklings would be playable in Deluxe.
    • With Deluxe adding Auto Accelerate and Smart Steering, you can now create your own Luigi Wins By Doing Absolutely Nothing scenario in Mario Kart. Like so.
  • Most Annoying Sound:
    • Characters scream things like "YEAH!" or "WOOHOOOOOO!" at the top of their lungs for almost everything they do, even for little things like mini-turbos and gliding. Although certain characters get more attention for it than others, when it comes down to it, every character could be considered equally annoying due to the cartoony ear-piercing voices.
    • Some people criticized Mario's voice for being much more high-pitched than usual. Listen for yourself.
    • The Mii voice clips return from Mario Kart Wii, and all of them are every bit as obnoxious as they were the first time around.
    • The "incoming shell" beeping alert. Especially when it's a Spiny Shell and you don't have a Super Horn or Mushroom to stop it.
    • The beeping sound when you've got shells spinning around your kart, especially if you've played the Metroid series so you can mistake it for the Critical Annoyance alerts when Samus is low on energy.
    • The taunting laugh a Boo makes when it steals an item from you, especially if it was a useful item or it happens at the worst possible moment.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • For some, the whistle of the magical flying train going around N64 Rainbow Road is very exciting.
    • The Mario Kart 64 motifs, like the final lap jingle, confirmation sounds, trophy presentation, and characters shouting clips from previous games, like Luigi shouting "Bingo!" when he nails someone.
    • The Super Horn blares an amped-up version of your kart's normal horn, which sounds especially satisfying when you blast a Spiny Shell to bits with it.
    • The Spiny Shell sound when you're not in the lead.
    • One of Link's voice grunts when boosting sounds a lot like "Hell yeah!"
    • Hitting the sign post when completing a lap in Mario Circuit, DS Wario Stadium, or 3DS Neo Bowser City produces a "KLANG!" sound that's strangely quite satisfying. It's a small detail that's fun to exploit, especially when you finish a race in first.
    • When you get to the final segment of Big Blue, the familiar voice of the F-Zero narrator calls out your accomplishment:
      YEAH! THE FINAL LAP!
    • In Hyrule Circuit, hearing the famous Zelda jingle that indicates the shortcut in the Master Sword room is open.
    • The SNES F-Zero race start chord can induce nostalgia when it plays at the start of Mute City and Big Blue.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • While anti-gravity seems to be the selling point of Mario Kart 8, Mario Kart DS's Rainbow Road already had anti-gravity sections in the form of a corkscrew and a loop. Anti-gravity isn't new to traditional kart racers either, being featured in Crash Nitro Kart back in 2003.
    • 8 Deluxe isn't the first Mario Kart game to have auto-accelerate; that feature was first introduced in Mario Kart Arcade GP DX as a feature intended for players incapable of reaching the pedals (such as sufficiently young children).
    • The patch to 8 Deluxe removing the Inkling Girl's Bicep-Polishing Gesture due to Values Dissonance isn't the first time this has happened: Bowser in Super Mario RPG had his victory pose altered in the English release for the exact same reason.
  • Polished Port: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch, which includes all the extra DLC content from the original version of the game, brings back the dual-slot items from Double Dash, increases the game's resolution when the console is docked and fixes a minor framerate glitch from the original version, adds in a bunch of new battle modes that are much more like what you'd expect from the series, and adds local-wireless multiplayer for up to 8 players on as few as 4 Switches (since each unit can support up to two players in a local wireless game).
  • Replacement Scrappy:
    • Outside of Japan, Baby Rosalina and Pink Gold Peach for veteran drivers like Bowser Jr. and Diddy Kong. It doesn't help that Baby Rosalina and Pink Gold Peach are Palette Swaps of the other baby characters and regular Peach respectively.
    • With the announcement that the Koopalings got into Smash Bros. for 3DS & Wii U as alternative costumes while Bowser Jr. still didn't get into the DLCs for Mario Kart 8 has left many Bowser Jr. fans livid at the Koopalings. Thankfully, this was alleviated when Bowser Jr. was added to the Deluxe edition for the Switch.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Pink Gold Peach, as she, unlike Metal Mario doesn't have a history for any of the games and is found as a cheap Palette Swap.
    • Any baby character except Baby Mario and maybe Baby Luigi has gotten shades of this, due to all of them being similar to one another. Particularly infamous is Baby Rosalina, who was made just for this game which jeopardizes Rosalina's actual past self according to Super Mario Galaxy.note 
    • As far as the DLC characters are concerned, not many people seem to really care about Tanooki Mario or Cat Peach. Mostly for them being the fourth iteration of both Mario and Peach respectively.
    • Morton is considered this for the Koopalings, as he's a Tier-Induced Scrappy and seen a lot while playing online, to the point that some people refuse to participate in an online race if anyone is picking Morton.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • 8 brought the Coin item back, meaning it's all too possible for someone in first place to get a useless Coin item while the guy right behind them has a Red Shell. The Coin can still appear even if the player already has 10 coins, so getting the Coin item with full coins is the equivalent of getting nothing. It doesn't help that players can only hold one item now. This is especially noticeable since 7 got rid of the Fake Item Box to prevent situations like that from happening. Even with Deluxe allowing players to hold two items, you still are going to get useless coins.
    • Coins boost your top speed as well as give minuscule boosts to it when you collect over ten. Improving your top speed on straightaways (especially on maps such as Excitebike Arena) should be a good thing. But then you learn that the extra coins don't count towards the hefty costs of kart parts and that every time you get hit (which will happen often), you lose three coins and the speed boost. Lakitu also charges you three coins for pulling you back onto the track or turning you around, which does the same same thing as being hit.
    • The item distribution in general has been skewed in some manner that it's not uncommon for somebody in 8th or 9th place to get said Coins at the same time the 2nd place racer gets Lightning. A lot of races turn into games of chance when some players are constantly denied any useful items while others get at least a Red Shell from every box they hit.
    • The Piranha Plant item. While the coins are often a waste of an item box, the Piranha Plant is often a waste of two item boxes, because the next set of them might come before the plant runs out. You can speed up the process by repeatedly hitting the item button, but it still might not go away fast enough. It's not as worthless as the coins can be, but isn't very useful in protecting against attacks from behind, i.e. most attacks.
    • The Lightning item was already this in previous games, but it sticks out even more in 8 and 8 Deluxe in particular because while a Spiny Shell can at least be negated with a Super Horn, Super Horns will not protect against getting zapped (and even if they could, Lightning has absolutely no tell). No amount of preparation will prevent you from, say, getting shocked right as you cross a glider ramp, getting escorted by Lakitu back to the ramp instead of across, and falling from 1st or 2nd place all the way back to last on the final lap.
  • Spiritual Licensee:
    • Seeing as though fans are probably not going to get a new entry anytime soon, this is the closest they can get to a newly-released F-Zero game. The extra downloadable content helps: Mute City, Big Blue, and the Blue Falcon vehicle in the DLC Packs, a Captain Falcon amiibo racing suit, and a lightning-fast 200cc mode.
    • With all the Nintendo non-Mario crossovers present (Splatoon, The Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing, F-Zero, and Excitebike), you may as well call this Super Smash Bros.: The Racing Game.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Ice Ice Outpost's music sounds very similar to a song you might hear in a Mega Man game.
  • That One Level:
    • Bone-Dry Dunes, due to its many sharp corners, tons of sand which slows the player down, and obstacles — such as Dry Bones, Bone Piranha Plants, and quicksands — all over the place and put in very troubling positions.
    • The game's incarnation of Bowser's Castle is also fiendishly difficult due to its back-to-back use of obstacles and its overall treacherous track design. Not that everybody complains about it, though.
    • Wii Grumble Volcano is back and trickier than ever, with narrow paths over lava after the first lap and lots of the sharp turns coupled with large elevation changes.
    • On 200cc, courses like the three Rainbow Roads, which are relatively easy on lower difficulty classes, become much more difficult due to the need to lower the speed to avoid falling in the curves. 3DS Neo Bowser City is another example, with its winding curves and the series of S-turns over a bottomless pit. Going through all the cups in chronological order, one of the first real challenges of 200cc is SNES Donut Plains 3, a winding course which requires you to bring in the right kind of character/kart combination lest you spend 80% of the race in the grass.
    • Super Bell Subway. It already has a multitude of unexpected guard rails, but the subway trains are what really make this course difficult. Unlike the cars on N64 Toad's Turnpike, the trains are huge, and they appear in the narrow parts of the track.
    • GBA Cheese Land gets flak because of the many sharp turns, which often means you have to be precise on drifting through the corners lest you end up in the cheese dust. The potholes scattered around the track make this harder, as the boosts that result from tricking off of them will throw off your subsequent drift.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Sweet Sweet Canyon and Sweet Sweet Kingdom are dangerously literal examples, being courses made entirely out of sugary junk food with incredibly upbeat music and even brighter colors than the rest of the game (for example, the sky in Sweet Sweet Canyon is pink).
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • In 8, the changing of Battle Mode from arenas to full race tracks hasn't gone over well with some fans. They just find these full race tracks too huge to do proper battling in and hope Nintendo adds arenas via DLC. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch saw Battle Mode arenas finally make a return (through not everyone is fine with having them being ''Deluxe''-only).
    • The game's item mechanics were changed slightly so people couldn't "double shield" with items (drag an item and hold a different item in your inventory to act as a back up shield) and triple shells/peels would be used right away as revolving shields. Some fans weren't too happy with the changes. Deluxe, again, resolved that by reintroducing Double Item Boxes.
    • Die-hard N64 fans weren't pleased with the fact that 8's rendition of N64 Rainbow Road has been split into three sectioned laps like the 3DS's Rainbow Road instead of having to complete three full laps around it, in order to cut down on the track's original length, though the lap change is sort of justified, as if the original track length was played online, it would last a good 6-7 minutes, which defeats Mario Kart's Online purpose of quick gameplay.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy: Bowser, Dry Bowser, Wario, Morton, and Heavyweight Miis. The flawed weight system in the game has turned them into unstoppable Lightning Bruisers, and nearly all Time Attack records will have used one of the five.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • The Villagers and Isabelle and Inklings aren't too hard to believe as guest characters in a Mario Kart game despite being from game series that are both completely separate from the Mario franchise, but Link, a character from a series that generally has fairly primitive technology (with some magitek exceptions, most prominently in Breath of the Wild), being in a game with modern vehicles that have anti-gravity, is something nearly no one saw coming.
    • No one expected Nintendo would do a cross-promotion with Mercedes-Benz and have karts based on Mercedes-Benz vehicles available as DLC. Seeing Mario driving a shrunken SUV is just plain bizarre.
  • Values Dissonance: In Deluxe, the Inkling Girl's original animation for hitting another driver with an item was her holding her bent right arm upwards and placing her hand on the upper arm. This gesture, while okay in Japan, was considered offensive in America, Europe, and Latin America. This was later edited, with Inkling Girl only holding up her arm.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: A few players unfamiliar with the Koopalings didn't realize Lemmy Koopa in 8 was male, due to his high pitched voice and pony-tail.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: 8 may have the most gorgeous visuals of the franchise thanks to the Wii U's improved graphics. Even racetracks from past games are almost unrecognizable from their original appearances. It's especially notable with ones from Wii and 7. It's hard to believe how much different Moo Moo Meadows looks after only one generation. And that is before getting into all the background details that have been added, especially those added to GCN Baby Park. Deluxe takes this a bit further and makes them look better than they did on the Wii U.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Satoru Iwata believed that Mario Kart 8 would be the game that would help the struggling Wii U boost in sales. To an extent, it worked, but not well enough to keep the console from going down as a failure for the company. It fared better on the Switch, becoming its best-selling game with over 15 million units sold.
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