Team Sonic Racing and Crash Team Racing are finally here! To celebrate the supersonic arrival of two karting greats, we’ve taken them both for a spin and are looking back at some of our favourite kart racing games of all time to boot.
So, start your engines, wait for the green light… and take a full-speed trip down memory lane with us. How many of these have you played before?
1. Super Mario Kart
We can’t have a list of amazing kart games without including the game that started it all: the very first Mario Kart game. Often credited with kicking off the whole kart racing genre, the 1992 SNES game (or 1993 in Europe) immediately stood out from the crowd. And while more recent Mario Kart games continue to get more thrill-filled by the year, the core gameplay has always stayed pretty much the same. Probably because it’s amazing.
Super Mario Kart also marked the first time the Mario characters jumped out of the platforming genre, so it’s probably fair to say that without this game, everyone’s favourite plumber and his pals might never have become what they are today.
2. Diddy Kong Racing
Why stick to a kart when you could pick a plane or a hovercraft instead? Well, actually, there are sound reasons for picking any of them, but the hovercraft was always our top choice.
We have very fond memories of hurtling around the tracks in search of bananas and colourful balloons (the rainbow one with its magnet ability could be used to particularly devastating effect in the final sprint), while racing to defeat the evil Wizpig (who was indeed a wizard pig).
One of the best bits was the super-tough Adventure 2 mode, which could only be unlocked after defeating Wizpig for good and collecting a metric ton of items. Suddenly, all the tracks were flipped horizontally, and all our hard-earned knowledge of their twists and turns went out the window.
3. Team Sonic Racing
The latest Sonic kart racing game brings back everything we know and love from its predecessors, but with a unique, brand new teamwork-themed spin which we actually really like.
Gone are the days when your more talented friends would speed off into the distance without you – now it’s all about sticking together, sharing power-ups and boosts, and giving each other a good old helping hand in order to come top of the leaderboard… together.
4. Looney Tunes: Space Race
It may not be quite as well known as Mario Kart, but this zany cartoon kart game deserves a lot more love. Set in space (naturally), it’s a wild ride from start to finish, featuring a host of familiar Looney Tunes faces and so many background gags (Wile E. Coyote speaks by holding up signs, for instance) that you almost want to stay still just to admire them properly. Almost.
And while throwing banana skins and blue shells in Mario Kart is always a good laugh, in Looney Tunes: Space Race you have access to the finest ACME accessories you can imagine… like a giant anvil to drop on your unsuspecting enemies, or a portable bottomless hole. Come on, you’ve got to admit those are pretty good.
5. Crash Team Racing
Next up on our list is another classic karting game. With the remake now out, we’ve been replaying this one a lot lately, and honestly, it’s still just as much fun as it was when we first played it back in 1999.
With Wumpa Fruit speed and weapon boosts, kart hops and power slides to master as you hurtle round increasingly unpredictable tracks, this madcap racer still feels approximately 110% zanier than any other kart racing game, and that’s exactly why we love it.
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