3. Mario Kart 7
The true and fullest realisation of what a handheld Mario Kart game could be, Mario Kart 7 refined the systems and modes first laid down in Mario Kart Super Circuit to make for an experience that was by far better than its console equivalent. After a lengthy absence in the series, coins once again returned as a vital acceleration mechanic and karts could be customised with the addition of gliders.
2. Mario Kart Double Dash
Perhaps one of the most unique entries to the series not least due to the ability to switch between two on board characters on the fly, the Gamecube’s Mario Kart Double Dash introduced the concept of tag-team racing which would later go on to be copied by the likes of Crash Bandicoot. Multiplayer could see you either racing with friends normally or sharing the same kart, either way character-specific items always came in handy when trying to win.
1. Mario Kart 8 (Deluxe)
Nintendo’s latest entry into the 25-year long racing franchise is by far the most refined, polished, and beautiful to look at. When bundling 8 with all of its corresponding DLC (which also makes for the Switch’s new deluxe version) players can find themselves racing in three distinct versions of Rainbow Road along with some lovingly detailed tracks like Hyrule Circuit. Thrusting Mario Kart into the HD pantheon of rival racing games, once playing we’re left wondering how it could possibly be improved further.