Favorite Mario Kart gimmick

You spin me right round baby

  • Two-characters per kart (Mario Kart: Double Dash!!)

    Votes: 6 42.9%
  • Motion controls and bikes (Mario Kart Wii)

    Votes: 4 28.6%
  • Gliding and underwater drivnig (Mario Kart 7)

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Anti-gravity (Mario Kart 8)

    Votes: 4 28.6%

  • Total voters
    14

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So, every console Mario Kart since Double Dash had some sort of defining feature that has separated them from other Mario Kart titles. Out of the following, which ones do you think implemented best?

Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

This one had two characters per kart, which could allow for co-op players between players. However, I think this feature is extremely shallow, since it doesn't change up overall game-play all that much, as kart actions are now split between two characters rather than your character handling all of them. It was designed with two players in mind. It was pretty cool at first, but after a while, it does get pretty boring, as one character does all the driving (aka the fun stuff) while the player character in the back only helps with drifts and handles items. It does help newer players who can't drive, but even then, they have to help with drifts and item management, which can be a bit frustrating for the more experienced player. After a while, me and my sister rather play separately because one-kart two player mode is...eh. I haven't tried out LAN play because of not enough people and it requires a really...REALLY inconvenient set-up for it to work.

Other racing games such as Team Sonic Racing and Mario Kart Arcade GP DX did co-op play much better, as both games make your characters be independent yet they help each other out still, such as the sling-shotting and item sharing in Team Sonic Racing or the tank mechanic in Arcade GP DX where two characters merge into one. I would be interested to see if Mario Kart DOES a revisit of a co-op mechanic, but I don't want a return of the Double Dash format, as it's highly restrictive.

(Mario Kart DS doesn't have a defining gimmick really. I don't consider introducing online a gimmick, and I don't think Mission Mode is Mario Kart DS's selling point.)

Mario Kart Wii

This game introduced several features. One of them was motion control, which of course came with the Wii. Not a fan of the steering wheel compared to simply using a controller such as Wii-chuck, classic controller, or GameCube controller. I remember first using it and having trouble steering and my experience vastly improved the moment I switched.

Bikes are a welcome addition. When they were showed off in pre-release footage, my sister and I often joked about characters crashing into walls and ragdolling, like what would happen in Midnight Club if you crashed into a wall. I still await a ragdolling mechanic for a future Mario Kart. Bikes were poorly balanced though; wheelies were too broken and the advantage karts had, the mini turbo spark, isn't enough to mitigate it. Still, I like bikes, and more variety to vehicle types are always welcomed.

Tricks aren't a selling feature but they're fun to pull off and give players more to do in ramps. It's a welcome new mechanic that adds more depth to the game.

Mario Kart 7

I enjoyed gliding, but ultimately doesn't change much other than course aesthetics in the game at all. It's a good start to full-on flying, but Sonic & All-Stars Transformed was released around the same period and had actual flying planes. Maybe some other day Mario Kart will have air racing, I LOVE riding on planes ever since Diddy Kong Racing. I remember being so hyped that there were gliders, but I still like them. Underwater racing...isn't really a feature that changed anything at all. It's about as much as a feature as the ability to drive underwater in Sonic Robo Blast 2 Kart, except for some very minor physics differences. I do like creative ideas being expanded for more courses, however, and I still want a course that only takes place underwater. Still, as minor additions, I like them, and I want them in future Mario Kart games.

Mario Kart 8

Anti-gravity is very similar to Mario Kart 7's gimmicks, but also highly influenced course design....if it WAS implemented much better. What was disappointing about the feature is that courses don't twist all that often (only three do take fully advantage of 3D space: Mario Circuit, Electrodrome, Twisted Mansion, and Dragon Driftway), a huge amount of courses have only slightly tilted areas and some courses don't have all that much upside-down driving. There's also another large amount of designed not bafflingly used, such as loop-the-loops, corkscrews, pipes, spheres, and more. Even Mario Kart 8 Delxue's battle tracks have only two tracks with anti-gravity, Lunar Colony and Mario Kart Stadium, and neither use 3D space at all.
 

winstein

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I am tempted to say the dual-character, but I decided on Mario Kart 8's anti-gravity for the reason that it has the most potency in track design compared to traversal of air and water, especially with the way Mario Kart did those. The current race courses did well with this concept, especially that game's Mario Circuit, Electrodrome and in my opinion Big Blue. It's the Battle Courses that are lacking overall, with Battle Stadium really doing the best with this concept.

I think the corkscrew is used in Water Park. Maybe it's not like how Sonic did it (it's more akin to a straight path that veers slightly to the left/right), but it does feature a corkscrew.

Thank you for reading.
 
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Mario Kart 7 and 8's gimmicks just aren't good, they have potential, but it's ends up being a load of wasted potential.

In the case of Mario Kart 7, Underwater driving doesn't actually change gameplay, I think you fall slower, but that only ends up being utilised one game late in a single track (Dolphin Shoals). It has potential for unique aesthetics, but I can't think of a single underwater section that I truly looked at and went "wow that looks cool", because I didn't, and there isn't anything that does. Gliding does change the gameplay, if you consider holding the A button as you slowly fall through the air in a straight line actually adding something, which I don't. Plus it removed invincibility in Cannons so I have an excuse to have a grudge against it.

Mario Kart 8's Anti-Gravity is cool, in concept. It has a lot of potential, which ends up being wasted, making Anti-Gravity about as interesting as the previous two gimmicks. There are two major appeals to Anti-Gravity, neither of which I feel Mario Kart 8 actually manged to capitalise on. The first is track design, I think BLoF summed this up fairly well in the OP, Loops, Corkscrews, Pipes, anything of the sorts, they all end up being unused. The Anti-Gravity often ends up boiling down to a slightly slanted road, which if you ask me isn't really Anti-Gravity, sure there are some tracks that make use of it, the Mobius Strip that is Mario Circuit, the F-ZERO Tracks, Dragon Driftway, and Electrodrome, but those are the exception not the rule, and half of the tracks that end up making good use of Anti-Gravity are DLC. The other appeal to Anti-Gravity is visual spectacle, which even when it is there, I just never seem to notice, I'm not quite sure why, perhaps it's the angle of the camera, but I consistently never seem to notice how interesting the anti-gravity is from a visual stand point. Take this section of Mute City as an example:



It should look interesting, it's a giant corkscrew, yet it ends up feeling like a straight road with boosts on it whenever I drive down it, not like I'm spiralling down this corkscrew.

If you want Anti-Gravity done right, take a look at any other racing game with the mechanic, for example, let's take a look at Intersection from F-ZERO GX:


The first half of this is a long pipe, it may not seem like much beyond visuals, but it's actually fairly hard to stay on the inside to get the fastest possible time. Later on, this pipe ends up being used as an obstacle for the player to avoid as it cuts through the middle of the track, with boosts alternating on either side of the track. It's unique, interesting, and something that couldn't have been done without Anti-Gravity

So now we've established that the gimmicks in Mario Kart 7 and 8 aren't good (bad), what about Double Dash and Wii? I think Wii has the better mechanics, not that Double Dash has bad ones, but they just didn't fully stick with me, and if they were removed in a later Mario Kart I wouldn't miss, in fact I didn't miss them, because they've been removed and I have yet to go "I want the two characters per kart feature back". It's good, and adds something to the game, I just don't really care about it that much

In terms of Wii's gimmicks, Motion Controls aren't good in this case. They're forced, and feel more like they're taking away from the experience then adding to it. Thankfully they're optional so I don't have to worry about using if I just wanted to play the game with a normal controller. The other two are good additions however, firstly there's tricks, it may at first seem like a minor feature, but I feel it adds a fair bit to the game. I feel it gives you a reason to go into the air, or even be there in the first place. Before you would fly off a ramp, lose control of your kart, and then slam back onto the ground. It felt clunky and partially encouraged the player to not go into the air, now they'll get a speed boost for doing so, giving ramps and other features that will cause Air Time a place in the track. Unlike two characters per kart, I miss tricks when they aren't there, and that's a good sign.

The other feature introduced in Mario Kart Wii are the Bikes, and as disliked as they are, I still enjoyed them. Sure they were unbalanced and made 9 of the vehicles in a 36 Vehicle game actually worth anything, but I still enjoyed using them. Firstly they made the ever boring straights far more interesting with Wheelies, which increases you're speed, at the cost of handling, which makes it harder to avoid hazards, and a larger punishment when you get bumped by another player. It's a risk reward situation, and while the reward greatly outweighs the risk, especially in a meta where people use the same two vehicles, it still adds something to a section of the track that previously rather uninteresting. I don't miss them enough to want them to come back, but I enjoyed them while they lasted. Secondly, Bikes had Inside-Drifting. While more broken then the wheelie, I still enjoyed using it. It felt far better to control then a standard drift. Tightly going round the inside of turns was something I liked more then using a standard drift, not much more I can say there. I think it's appearance in 8 solidified how much I enjoyed using it, despite it being nerfed to the point of being considered inferior to the normal drift, I still enjoyed using it more in that game, and I often go out of my way to use a vehicle that has it.

If it isn't obvious enough here, Wii had the best Gimmicks, while 7 & 8 failed to capitalise on the potential of theirs.
 

Dr. Peach

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I like Double Dash's two people in one kart system. I would love to see it return as a special mode along with the Road Rash like action of beating the crap out of your opponent.

I loved playing Road Rash on my Windows 98 computers back in the early 2000s. It brings the most nostalgia for me.
 

Blue

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I’m gonna talk about the one gimick everyone seems to have forgotten. Mario Kart 7 and 8’s trick system. Wii’s trick system is flawed. Because you have to do weird Crap to be able to trick. It ain’t any better when using the wii wheel. How Mario kart 7 and 8 do it is they have it mapped to the R button. Which means if your Good enough you can drift then at the last second let go and trick. With ease. It makes it way better into trick. Tricking never gets old. I just love this feature. It’s awesome.
 
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In Mario Kart Wii you just have to press the D-Pad, which means you can Trick while Drifting. Also tricks barely give a boost in 7 & 8.
 

Molly Hale

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Double Dash’s gimmick was best in my opinion. It had lots of good usage and allowed co-operative play that wasn’t seen in other Mario Kart games.

Racing on water and in the air was ok, but I think Diddy Kong Racing and Sonic and all stars racing transformed did it better and had better implementation of it in their courses.

Mario Kart Wii’s motion controls aren’t the best in my opinion. And the bikes were way too overpowered in that game. Most courses encouraged you to use them instead of the karts, but I think most karts look better than most bikes in Mario Kart.

Anti-Gravity was just as much of a joke in Mario Kart 8 as it was in earlier kart racers that tried to copy F-Zero or its main mechanic(looking at you, CNK). I usually failed to notice any anti-gravity in the courses of 8, unless it was any of the Rainbow Roads or F-Zero tracks. As good of a feature to have, some courses did it better than others, but a few didn’t have any anti-gravity at all. Same thing goes for CNK. The only courses I noticed anti-gravity on were Out-of-Time, Deep Sea Driving, Hyperspace Way, and Assembly Lane. All other courses had poor implementation of the feature, and I’m glad the anti-gravity in all CNK courses got removed in Nitro-Fueled. No one should attempt to replicate F-Zero in any way. It has the best Anti-Gravity in any Kart Racer, period.
 

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emblem creation from DS.
I don't really consider that a selling point for DS. I didn't like how it didn't return in future installments though. I guess Nintendo didn't want to moderate people abusing emblems online (but even then, there are easy fallbacks to resort to if too many people DID make abusive emblems online).
 

Trab Pu Kcip

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The Double Characters gimmick in MKDD was good,
Motion Controls were good, but the Bikes just wasn't for me,
MK7 is one of my faves, but the underwater part I didn't like.
MK8 brought anti controls, but the game itself was still a disappointment.

So, I'll go with MKDD.
 

Mario: a pumpkin head

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I think I'll have to go with Double Dash's little gimmick only because if I want to choose someone other than Mario for once, I don't have to worry about abandoning Mario and just pair him with anyone I like. Although I still like Luigi the most paired with him, but I can imagine how sweet it'll be if I can do Mario + Metal Mario or go with Mario + Daisy to be extra annoying.

That being said, bikes is a close contender since it adds variety to the vehicles you can drive in. Functionally, they're pretty similar to karts and I wouldn't really say they're gimmicks (as it implies tacked-on clunkiness but bikes are well-implemented imo). I really like the look for several of them and they do offer a scooter, and that's all I really need.

Next gimmick they should totes do is a Mario Kart runner. :P
 

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Next gimmick they should totes do is a Mario Kart runner. :P
Imagine if they made a platformer spin-off in the vein of the indie title, SpeedRunners (or even Runbow), where it's a 2D platformer running racing game where you use Mario Kart-style items against the opposition. I think it would be super fun.
 
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