Mario Kart 9 could use a "Diddy Kong Racing" style adventure mode
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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the top selling game for the Nintendo Switch. To date, 15 million copies have been sold. It's been a runaway success because outside of the hardcore Nintendo fanbase, barely anyone knew the Wii U existed. For all intents and purposes, it was a new game to the masses.
The "OG" Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U - which sold 8 million copies, was released back in 2014. This means it has been five years since the release of a "brand new" Mario Kart game. The enhanced remake Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was released in April 2017, a month after the launch of the Nintendo Switch.
Mario Kart 8 is one of the best Mario Kart games released, with a great mix of new and old race tracks, balanced characters, items, and customizable vehicles. For the most part, the formula has worked well.
However, things are starting to get routine and stale, don't get me wrong, the Mario Kart fundamentals are great, the racing, battle mode, online play, they're all solid. It's an excellent series which is why games have continued to be produced over the years.
One of the things that we have not seen however, is an adventure mode for Mario Kart, something with racing-related missions, challenges, something different than just grand prix racing or a battle mode.
It's been a long time, but back in 1997, Diddy Kong Racing for the N64 was a racing game by Rare that featured a full-fledged adventure mode. In Diddy Kong Racing, one or two players can play the adventure mode. Diddy and his friends have to collect golden balloons to defeat a boss called Wizpig, in the adventure there are races, challenges and coin collecting tasks to keep you entertained.
Diddy Kong Racing was a game changer and one of the best games released on the N64.
What could be Mario Kart 9 adventure mode potentially look like?
The easiest thing for Nintendo to do is to come up with a typical Mario theme which is to have Bowser up to his usual shenanigans and have a DKR-style adventure where you complete races and challenges so that you can go to "fight" a boss.
There are many racing elements that have existed in other Mario games that can make good mini-bosses, for example racing against Koopa Troopas and Penguins from Super Mario 64, perhaps they can have special attacks that can obstruct your kart.
In Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8, we've already seen stages with more unique features, more variety of terrain, antigravity features, more random obstructions, it wouldn't be a stretch to make races more mission-based for a new way of playing. Nintendo would need a plot and a bit of a story to put it altogether into a nice package.
To tie it together, Power Moons (from Super Mario Odyssey) could once again be the main collectible in a potential Mario Kart adventure.
How about a coin challenge mode? Coins are already a common item found inside Mario Kart tracks, an easy way to make a game out of it is to have coin-based races where you need to collect a certain number of coins and try to win the race as well!
Another style that we could potentially see is the RPG style adventure where the focus is on levelling up your characters. We've seen similar executions for adventure modes like this in Mario Tennis Aces and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. In these two games, you start off with basic skill, and as you play along, you gain experience points and you are able to take on more difficult stages and challenges.
The more you play, the more characters, vehicles, and upgrades you get. For example, as you go deeper into the adventure, you will get more vehicles, tires and gliders to your collection.
We still don't when or even if Mario Kart 9 will be coming to the Nintendo Switch, but with E3 just around the corner, maybe we'll get some clarity on the next Mario Kart release!