The Ten Best Kart Racers That Aren’t Mario Kart

Mario and his Mushroom Kingdom pals have long been the standard for kart racers. The genre was born with Mario Kart on the Super Nintendo. Since then, none have been able to take the crown.

Even with Mario Kart being king, several other kart racers are well worth your time. Here are ten of our favorite kart racers that aren’t Mario Kart.

Konami Krazy Racers

Photo Credit: Konami

This Game Boy Advance exclusive delivered Mario Kart-style racing with classic characters from the Konami universe. The Game Boy Advanced hardware limits the game somewhat but is still a blast for on-the-go handheld racing.

The main draw of Konami Krazy Racers is the stacked cast of characters. You can race as the Ninja from Metal Gear Solid or Dracula from the Castlevania series. We wish Konami would have put more into the series, as a fully 3D version would have been an excellent kart racer.

Sonic Team Racing

Photo Credit: Sega

The blue hedgehog has always lived in the shadow of Nintendo’s iconic plumber. Sega has made several kart racers with the Sonic crew, but none are as good as Sonic Team Racing.

Sonic Team Racing isn’t just a clone of Mario Kart. It’s one of the best kart racers ever made. The game is visually stunning and features a host of unique tracks. There is even a single-player campaign for those wanting a solo kart racing experience.

Modnation Racers

Photo Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

Modnation Racers is a PS3 kart racer that we desperately wish would come back. The game features tons of customizable options, from tracks to the racers themselves, making it almost infinitely replayable.

Modnation Racers leans hard into customization. The result is an endless stream of new tracks from player creations. Unfortunately, Sony shut down the game’s online servers in 2018, making this game less appealing to play now than it was at release. Hopefully, Sony can find it in their hearts to bring back this series and take on Mario Kart.

Diddy Kong Racing

Photo Credit: Rare

Mario Kart 64 was the definitive kart racer for the Nintendo. But we believe Diddy Kong Racing was the better game for Nintendo’s first 3D system.

Diddy Kong racing featured three vehicles to race, numerous characters from the Donkey Kong series, and a robust single-player campaign. The boss and airplane races are the highlight, but every aspect of the game makes it one of the best kart racers ever.

Niktoons Racing

Photo Credit: Hasbro Interactive

Not to be confused with Nickelodeon Kart Racers, which was released in 2018, Niktoons Racing was released in 2000 for the PlayStation and Gameboy consoles. The game features 13 of the best characters from 90’s Nickelodeon all racing for kart supremacy.

The PlayStation and Gameboy Advance versions of this game are stellar, but the Gameboy color version is lacking in many areas. Still, Niktoons Racing is one of the best Kart Racers outside of Mario Kart.

LittleBigPlanet Karting

Photo Credit: Sony Computer Entertainment

LittleBigPlanet Karting is a kart racing game set in the LittleBigPlanet world. The game is a competent kart racer with an in-depth level creator similar to Modnation racers but with cute characters from LittleBigPlanet.

Sony tried their hardest to make a kart racer on par with Mario Kart, but they never nailed the formula as well as Nintendo. Both LittleBigPlanet Karting and Modnation Racers emphasized level-building but failed to capture the charm of the Mushroom Kingdom characters.

Muppet Race Mania

Photo Credit: Midway

The PlayStation 1 was a great console for Kart Racers, and Muppet Race Mania was another fantastic game. In Muppet Race Mania, Jim Henson’s Muppets take center stage racing through 34 different tracks based on the Muppets series.

The Kart Racer formula began dwindling in the years succeeding the PlayStation 1 era. A game like Muppet Race Mania, developed by a team as talented as Travellers Tale, could never be made in the current generation of consoles. Muppet Race Mania is a tough game to find now, but an excellent pickup for any Kart Racing fan.

Mad Dash Racing

Photo Credit: Eidos

Microsoft wanted a kart racer for the launch of their original Xbox console. Mad Dash Racing removes the karts but keeps all the frantic fun the genre is known for.

Mad Dash Racing didn’t capture audiences like many other kart racers. Totally new characters with no established IP hurt the game, but it is still one of the best Kart Racers available for the original Xbox.

Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing

Star Wars Super Bombad Racing
Image Credit: LucasArts.

Star Wars Super Bombad Racing is a Star Wars kart racer with the big head mode permanently on. This PlayStation 2 racer features characters and levels from both the original and prequel trilogy and has solid kart racer mechanics.

The gameplay is geared towards children, which can get old quickly. But there is still a lot of fun in this silly Star Wars universe.

Crash Team Racing

Photo Credit: Naughty Dog

Crash Bandicoot was poised to be Sony’s answer to Nintendo’s Mario series. The original Crash Bandicoot trilogy is some of the best 3D platforming ever offered, and Crash Team Racing is one of the best kart racers ever made.

While Crash Team Racing may not surpass every Mario Kart entry, it is one of the best, if not the best, kart racers that takes place outside the Mushroom Kingdom. An updated version was recently released, and it’s the best way to experience this fantastic kart racer.


  • Joe Moore

    Joe Moore is a freelance writer at bosslevelgamer. He can usually be found listening to pop-punk, playing story-driven games, eating chipotle, or all three at once.

Written by Joe Moore

Joe Moore is a freelance writer at bosslevelgamer. He can usually be found listening to pop-punk, playing story-driven games, eating chipotle, or all three at once.

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