Kart racing games are there for when we want a spot of competitive racing without any of the seriousness. But what are the best kart racing games on Switch?
Forget realistic handling, gear changes and lane positioning. The best kart racing games on Switch are all about putting the pedal to the metal, unnaturally drifting your vehicle around every corner, and chucking weapons at your opponents. They’re generally bright, cartoon-like and colourful, replacing realistic cars with wacky and imaginative vehicles.
While they’re fun to play in single player, kart racing games really come into their own when you get some friends involved. They provide the perfect local multiplayer competition, with most offering up to four-player split screen. There’s nothing better than pipping your loved one to the post, because you managed to hit them with an attack right at the last minute.
Thankfully, there are a number of great kart racing games on Switch, and we’ve rounded up the best of them here. Click on through to see our picks – if you enjoy karting, you can’t go wrong with any of these.
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1. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Make no bones about it: the best kart racing game on Switch is of course Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The newest game in the long-running Mario Kart series sees many famous Nintendo faces come together in the ultimate road battle. It’s fast, it’s furious, it’s dirty – but it’s a heck of a lot of fun.
Mario Kart is basically the blueprint that other kart racing games tend to base themselves on, and for that reason it has long been one of the best. Filled with colourful courses and huge roster of characters and vehicles, whether your play offline or online, you’re sure to have a lot of fun. Tackling the courses in singe-player is entertaining, but nothing can beat the thrill of playing against real people online – or challenging your friends at home. It’s all good until you’re the one on the receiving end of a blue shell, of course.
2. Smurfs Kart
Oh yes, even the Smurfs have their own karting game! Exclusive to Switch, Smurfs Kart is a family friendly, colourful karting game that, unsurprisingly, sees players take control of the Smurfs as they race around in their own individual karts. With powers to collect and boosts to be earned by drifting around the corners, it doesn’t do much to differentiate itself from the crowd – but it’s a very solid karting game nonetheless.
What makes Smurfs Kart particularly great for younger players is that it has some useful built-in accessibility features. You can enable auto accelerate and/or assisted steering. That means all that you need to focus on is taking out your opponents!
3. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
A remake of the classic PS1 game, Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled brings Crash Bandicoot and friends to the world of competitive kart racing. It’s a beautiful looking game; somehow managing to be exactly what you remember the original being, but way more pretty.
More importantly, it’s a heck of a lot of fun to play. Taking you through iconic locations from the Crash series with a host of famous characters, it’s one of the best kart racing games on Switch. Whether you’re playing as Crash, Coco, or even the nefarious Doctor Neo Cortex, you’re going to have a great time. Sliding your kart around corners is a joy – as is watching your opponents slam into a crate of TNT. Just make sure you avoid it yourself…
4. Team Sonic Racing
There’s only one video game character as iconic as Mario, and that’s Sonic. So if the plumber’s got his own karting game, it’s only right that the blue hedgehog does too. Team Sonic Racing isn’t the first time Sonic has been out on the tracks, but it is the newest – and probably the best yet.
As the name may suggest, Team Sonic Racing‘s focus is on teamwork. Sure, there’s plenty of competitive action, but rather than being out for yourself, you have teammates on the track supporting you. Didn’t come in first position? It doesn’t matter if your teammates have performed well.
Like any of the best kart racing games on Switch, there’s plenty of opportunity to thwart your opponents by sending weapons and obstacles their way. And of course, drifting around corners and earning lots of boost is key to success. With a line-up including Sonic, Tails, Knuckles and plenty more iconic characters from the series, there’s plenty to love here, especially if you’re a Sonic fan.
5. Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix
Remember Tommy from Rugrats? What about Helga from Hey Arnold? Or Patrick and Spongebob Squarepants? Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2 brings together some of your favourite Nicktoons characters and drops them in a hectic, fast-paced karting game.
Although aimed at a younger audience, there’s still a lot to enjoy about Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2. These are franchises that have been around since the 90s, so even we grown-ups will get a kick out of racing with them. It’s a pretty nice-looking game, too, with a range of colourful 3D environments to race through. And, as you might expect, there’s an awful lot of slime being thrown around. It is Nickelodeon, after all.
Like all of the best kart racing games on Switch, there are plenty of power-ups to collect, and weapons to toss at your opponents. Every character has their own unique vehicle, all of which are nicely designed. Get some friends involved in split-screen multiplayer to turn up the fun, but even heading to the track in single-player is entertaining enough.
6. Beach Buggy Racing
Unlike the other titles that make up this list of best kart racing games on Switch, Beach Buggy Racing doesn’t rely on familiar faces or existing licenses. It’s entirely its own thing, with colourfully-designed karts and kooky characters. But just because you don’t already know the characters behind the wheel doesn’t mean that Beach Buggy Racing isn’t fun to play.
Despite being a pretty low-budget title – you can buy it on the eShop for just $9.99/£9.99 – it’s actually a lot of fun. With environments ranging from tropical beaches to luscious forests and quaint fishing towns, it’s a nicely designed game. And more importantly, it handles well. Racing your buggy around a corner is a lot of fun – but not as fun as successfully hitting your opponent in the back bumper with a rocket.
7. Race With Ryan
For younger players, Race With Ryan is undoubtedly one of the best kart racing games on Switch. It features Ryan, of Ryan’s World YouTube fame, and his animal friends, as they race through a bunch of bright and colourful tracks. Is it the best karting game ever made? Of course not. But for little kids, particularly those who eat up Ryan’s YouTube channel, it shouldn’t be missed.
Modifiers, like the ability to turn on auto accelerate, make it an ideal place for youngsters to learn how to play games. And without it on, it can be as competitive as any other thanks to the various boosts and upgrades you’ll find littered around the track.
8. Chocobo GP
Remember that time the Final Fantasy franchise entered the kart racing space? Of course you do: it wasn’t that long ago. Chocobo GP isn’t the best kart racing game on Switch, but it’s more than decent, particularly if you’re a fan of Final Fantasy and like the idea of seeing some familiar faces popping up.
There’s a free version of the game available, though even with the paid version you should probably expect a lot of grinding unless you want to fork out for microtransactions. That’s perhaps our biggest bugbear with the game. Because outside of its poor economy (which, granted, has improved somewhat since launch thanks to patches), the on-track action is actually pretty fun. Though it’s brutal: it’s not easy, and the CPU does have a tendency to sneak up on you right at the last minute.