Game Theory

Mario Kart 9 Could Borrow a Surprising Forza Mechanic for Switch 2

It’s time for a more expansive Mario Kart experience.

Mario Kart 9

Nintendo struck gold with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, a Switch game that eventually went on to sell 55.46 million copies. Despite it being one of the bestselling games of all time, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers little incentive to keep revisiting it, especially if you’re a solo player. Sure, the gameplay is top-notch, but there are very few systems in place that incentivize players to stick around. It could certainly use an engaging story, deeper customization, or light upgrades to unlock.

But with Mario Kart 9, which will presumably launch for the Switch 2, Nintendo can change that, making it a bit more like Forza Horizon in the process.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is fun, but it lacks the depth to encourage certain players to come back for more.


To be clear, Mario Kart 8 is excellent: an approachable cart racer that’s easy to pick up and play. But to solo players who want a bit more depth, Mario Kart 8 wears out its welcome quickly. Sure, Mario Kart 8’s lengthy list of courses adds some replay value, but after you’ve tried them a few times, they begins to grow stale.

Mario Kart 9 could remedy this by introducing a bit more depth to its customization and upgrade system. As it stands, the different cart parts you can equip in Mario Kart 8 are so rudimentary, they don’t offer much depth when creating your build.

While Mario Kart 9 doesn’t need to go as in-depth as some of the tuning systems in Forza Horizon, finding a balance between these two examples could extend the longevity of the game. For instance, Mario Kart 9 could implement a light tuning system that allows players to adjust a handful of stats in a nuanced way.

Forza Horizon 5, which takes place in a massive open world set in Mexico, is littered with things to do. Having a larger world to explore could be a great way keep players engaged. For instance, all of the game’s courses could be baked into an expansive version of the Mushroom Kingdom, with different biomes and areas to explore.

Offering a more in-depth progression system could entice players to stick around in Mario Kart 9.


The world wouldn’t need to be massive, but enough to keep things fresh for a 10 to 15-hour single-player campaign. Between different objectives around the map, there could be various quests, challenges, and collectibles to reward players for exploring, just like in Forza Horizon. This could also intertwine with the upgrade and tuning features, with some sort of XP system in place to offer a deeper sense of progression.

Forza Horizon also weaves story throughout its single-player campaign. There’s a straightforward mission in Forza Horizon 5 that involves chasing a massive storm and it works quite well, despite being simple. This was enough to keep me invested, as I really wanted to see what driving in the storm was like. Mario Kart 9 could implement similar, Mushroom Kingdom-esque missions that add variety and intrigue for players that want it.

Mario Kart 8 is available now on Nintendo Switch.

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