Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8 courses are divided into eight Cup series, with four tracks apiece. Mushroom, Flower, Star, and Special Cups all feature new tracks. Shell, Banana, Leaf, and Lightning Cups are made up of updated versions of courses from previous Mario Kart titles.

Mushroom Cup
  • Mario Kart Stadium: A wide, paved track with high speeds and a fairly simple anti-gravity area. Good for drifting practice. We're just getting warmed up.
  • Water Park: Theme park-themed course with rides running through it. It's partially underwater, naturally, with the anti-gravity zone feeling like you're driving on a roller coaster.
  • Sweet Sweet Canyon: A confection-themed course with plenty of obstacles, some twisty anti-gravity, and an underwater section, with lots of cake and ice cream.
  • Thwomp Ruins: Here, the antigravity zones can help you get speed boosts, as well as circumvent some of the Thwomp blocks. Some shortcuts can help you shave off a bit of time if you can hit them just right.

Flower Cup
  • Mario Circuit: Most of this track is a twisting anti-gravity zone, which can be pretty disorienting. Think of trying to drive on a Mobius strip. Adding Goombas and Piranha Plants to the mix makes matters more difficult.
  • Toad Harbor: This is a hilly, almost San Franciscan landscape complete with cable cars (many of which are trailing item blocks). The variety of available routes through this course makes it entertaining, but requires focus.
  • Twisted Mansion: The track takes you through a haunted house with wobbly walls that you drive on, as well as an underwater anti-gravity zone. The many obstacles make it hard to get ahead.
  • Shy Guy Falls: A mountain track with a variety of surfaces, many tight corners, lots of anti-gravity, and a long hang gliding zone.

Mario Kart 8

Star Cup
  • Sunshine Airport: Some good gliding, an anti-gravity zone in the air and the opportunity to drive through a plane. No TSA. Definitely a favorite.
  • Dolphin Shoals: Full of marine life and largely underwater. Jump through hoops like a dolphin, drive over a writhing, twisty eel and use hot water vents to cross gaps.
  • Electrodrome: This is a concert/discotheque-themed course. Stunning visual effects make the track memorable. Use the wide track for long drifts.
  • Mount Wario: An amazing course with many paths. "Laps" are checkpoints along the way down one continuous mountain run. It's icy and fast at first. Later, use fallen logs and moguls for jump boosts.

Special Cup
  • Cloudtop Cruise: Drive across clouds and airships (like the ones in Super Mario Brothers 3), and glide into an anti-gravity zone in an electrical storm with lightning zapping the track.
  • Bone-Dry Dunes: Chaotic atmosphere with lots of danger, including cliffs, Piranha Plants, and other obstacles. There's a nice anti-gravity zone that acts as a shortcut, and a good glide can lead to a separate part of the track.
  • Bowser's Castle: Like driving through the book of Revelations. Dodge pendulums, fireballs, rolling boulders, lasers and a giant, fiery Bowser warping the track with his giant fists. Also, dig the shredding guitar track.
  • Rainbow Road: A new take on an old favorite, this one with a space-station theme. It's hard to stay on the track, so mind your mushrooms and mini-boosts. The other Rainbow Road in the game is probably more fun.

Mario Kart 8

Shell Cup
  • Moo Moo Meadows (Wii): An easy course to drive your line. No anti-gravity, and just one opportunity for gliding. Watch out for the cattle moseying across the dirt track.
  • Mario Circuit (GBA): A fairly straightforward road course with some tight turns. Part of the track is elevated in a brief anti-gravity zone.
  • Cheep Cheep Beach (DS): Tropical beach with narrow sand bars, some underwater ramps, and lots of trees and crabs to get in your way.
  • Toad's Turnpike (N64) Here, there is plenty of traffic to navigate, with some anti-gravity zones on the walls to help you get around it. Look for trucks with ramps on the back of them for a chance to glide past cars and other obstacles.

Banana Cup
  • Dry Dry Desert (GCN): Mostly flat and sandy with a small underwater section. Use the fallen obelisks to jump and get a boost. Beware the sinking sand pit.
  • Donut Plains 3 (SNES): Flat with varied terrain. Going off the track into the rough will really slow you down. Focus on the turns, and maybe your drifting.
  • Royal Raceway (N64): A wide road course with curbing keeps the speeds high. There's one long glide area. Use a lot of items to win this one.
  • DK Jungle (3DS): Hilly dirt track with lots of obstacles and gaps to jump over. A tiny anti-gravity zone is followed by a hang gliding area. The visual highlight of this course is a gigantic, golden, rotating banana.

Mario Kart 8

Leaf Cup
  • Wario Stadium (DS): Mostly dirt track resembling a motocross stadium with brief underwater, anti-gravity, and glide sections. Mostly enclosed on the sides, so shells can cause some chaos.
  • Sherbet Land (GCN): Long, snowy and icy course with a variety of routes, some of which are underwater. Includes wide-open spaces and an ice cave. Don't be afraid to fall through holes in the ice.
  • Music Park (3DS): Interact with the environment while you drive over piano keys and drums. Black piano keys are jostling, but can serve as jumps for boosts. Beware Piranha Plants and big, bouncing musical notes (though you can get a boost when they bounce you in the air).
  • Yoshi Valley (N64): Dirt track with many different paths to take. Choosing a separate route from opponents can help you maintain a lead. Wave to all the adoring Yoshis in the crowd.

Lightning Cup
  • Tick-Tock Clock (DS): In this level, you drive and glide over turning cogs and dodge swinging pendulums. Most of the track is pretty wide, but you can still fall off the edge.
  • Piranha Plant Slide (3DS): Part of this track is an underwater anti-gravity zone. A couple prominently placed Piranha Plants, a tricky glide area near the end of the course, and an abundance of items create a hostile environment.
  • Grumble Volcano (Wii): Parts of this rocky course will fall away as the race goes on. There are many ramps, cliffs, forks, and moving surfaces, plus a couple glide areas. Also watch out for fireballs.
  • Rainbow Road (N64): Psychedelic scenery, long, sweeping curves and a classic soundtrack make this a particularly memorable track. Some gliding and anti-gravity add to the spectacle. The biggest challenge is not falling off the edge of track into space.