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Top 10 Kart Racing Games

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Kurt Hvorup There's nothing quite like kart racing to provide gamers with years of friendship-destroying entertainment. Join WatchMojo.com as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Kart Racing Games. For this list we're taking a look at kart-based racing video games throughout the history of the medium, pinpointing the finest examples of this sub-genre in action. We're placing a limit of one game per franchise, as well as leaving out games that feature realistic car racing. Special Thanks to our users "mac121mr0" "Semaj Mcculler" & "Michael Joseph" for suggesting this topic on our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Kurt Hvorup

Top 10 Kart Racing Games


There's nothing quite like kart racing to provide gamers with years of friendship-destroying entertainment. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 Kart Racing Games.

For this list we're taking a look at kart-based racing video games throughout the history of the medium, pinpointing the finest examples of this sub-genre in action. We're placing a limit of one game per franchise, as well as leaving out games that feature realistic car racing.

#10: “Wacky Wheels” (1994)


This one's unorthodox, we'll say that. Inspired by “Super Mario Kart” like …every other game on this list, this particular kart racing game relies on item-based races... with the racers as zoo animals and the karts as lawn mowers. “Wacky Wheels” certainly lives up to its name, from the use of hedgehogs and bombs as combative items to it featuring a cameo from the “Commander Keen” foe, Dopefish. Yet it's also endearing in its embrace of goofiness over skewing closer to realism.

#9: “Looney Tunes: Space Race” (2000)


Ah, cartoon action at its finest. Originally released for the Sega Dreamcast, “Looney Tunes: Space Race” pits a variety of Warner Bros' famed cartoon characters against one another in an intergalactic racing tournament. The game features a small but reliably entertaining cast that feels on-point in terms of personality, from Daffy Duck's sarcastic nature to Yosemite Sam's cantankerous disposition. “Space Race” also benefits from a vibrant cel-shaded visual style and a healthy variety of collectable items – including elephants, for whatever reason.

#8: “Kirby Air Ride” (2003)


Developed by HAL Laboratory, this Kirby-themed title takes a different approach to kart racing. “Kirby Air Ride” relies on a basic control scheme, wherein Kirby and other racers automatically move while other actions are handled with the Control Stick and A Button. But this design choice serves “Air Ride” well, allowing players to enjoy the colorful tracks, endearing characters and variety of race modes without worry. All in all, it's simple yet joyful in nature.

#7: “Konami Krazy Racers” (2001)


Sometimes it's the little things that make a difference. Relying on similar mechanics to its counterparts in the genre, “Konami Krazy Racers” nevertheless distinguished itself by embracing its backlog of intriguing characters and themes. Twelve of Konami's famed characters – ranging from Grey Fox of “Metal Gear” fame to Bear Tank from “Rakuga kids” - battled for dominance in a series of kart races. The game also featured use of Mode 7 effects to simulate a three-dimensional view of the player's racer, an impressive technical feat for the Game Boy Advance.

#6: “ModNation Racers” (2010)


And thus the age of user-generated content was ushered in. Following the example of “LittleBigPlanet”, this kart racing game grants players access to track editing and character creation tools alongside its preexisting content. Said content includes both a campaign mode, about the player's character entering a championship, and the ModSpot, where players online and off can share and enjoy creations. It also helps that the actual kart racing is tight and well-designed, built around a three-tier weapon system and the use of drifting to gain boost.

#5: “LittleBigPlanet Karting” (2012)


We're definitely glad to see Sackboy and company expanding their horizons. “LittleBigPlanet Karting” picks up after the events of “LittleBigPlanet 2”, with cheery fabric-based hero Sackboy racing to stop The Hoard from stealing his universe's prizes. In line with the core “LittleBigPlanet” series, elements such as grappling hooks and The Pod as a hub are meshed with this game's combative kart gameplay. Sporting a charming visual style, lively music and the series' patented Create Mode, it's hard not to get enraptured by the game.

#4: “Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed” (2012)


Mascot-based racing games seemed like a thing of the past. Yet gamers were reintroduced to the concept with “Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed”, which pit Sonic The Hedgehog against various Sega mascots in intense races. It toes the line of being a kart racer in two regards: during races, each character's vehicle will shift into different modes depending on the terrain being crossed, And after each lap the tracks dynamically change, completely altering your route. At its core the game embodies the frantic energy of kart racing, matching it with an astounding roster, visually and technically creative tracks, and balanced-yet-challenging gameplay.

#3: “Crash Team Racing” (1999)


For Naughty Dog's last “Crash Bandicoot” game before the series went third party, it was one heck of a farewell. The game has Crash and his associated cast competing against the alien Nitros Oxide, who seeks to take the Earth for his own purposes. Relying on the through-line of the player hunting down Boss Keys in order to challenge Oxide, “Crash Team Racing” is free to celebrate its series in style. The races are thrilling through their implementation of boosting and power sliding, yet also smile-inducing with visual tributes to the series' legacy. And that's before getting into the extra modes and unlockables.

#2: “Diddy Kong Racing” (1997)


Hovercrafts and a pig wizard – how can you go wrong? Starting from the unusual premise of Diddy Kong and friends being challenged by the evil Wizpig, “Diddy Kong Racing” embraces its weirdness in full force. The game's island hub splits off into five distinct worlds, each with a variety of races to enjoy. It's keen on challenging players with special races requiring use of one of three vehicles, battle stages, races against boss characters, and the increased difficulty of Adventure 2 mode. Thanks to its varied gameplay and vibrant use of colour, though, the game never ceases to engage.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing” (2001)
“Lego Racers” (1999)
“Mega Man Battle & Chase” (1997)

#1: “Mario Kart 64” (1996)


Though there's much to respect about “Mario Kart: Double Dash”, it's the Nintendo 64 instalment that most catches our eyes. First and foremost, “Mario Kart 64” marked the series' transition to 3D graphics technology, allowing for track features like elevated surfaces and walls. Its impact on the kart racing genre cannot be overstated, yet on its own terms the game also shines. Featuring memorable characters in its roster, diverse tracks that balance charm and challenge, iconic items and built-in four-player support, “Mario Kart 64” is nothing short of masterful. No surprise then that it’s a huge hit with the Watchmojo Staff.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite kart racing game? For more speedy Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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