10. Animal Crossing
It's fan service deluxe on the Animal Crossing track, which features everything we've come to love from Nintendo's The Sims challenger. But there's also a very clever track hiding here with a lot of variety, where you have to keep your concentration maxed at all times to get over the important Item Boxes marked with question marks. The speed is consistently high, and it is therefore also consistently a challenge to make sure that I absolutely do not get hit whereupon I quickly risk losing valuable positions.
9. Toad Harbor
Nintendo's take on San Francisco (I assume) is a city with a lot of hills and tight corners, and of course trams. The greatness here lies in the amount of alternative routes Nintendo throws at us at high speed, where there isn't necessarily one obvious option that is correct. Often, it's about keeping track of what items opponents have and planning your route accordingly. The track also has a consistently fast pace and a sneaky set of Item Boxes towards the end that has turned many last-minute matches into frustrating laughs.
8. Ninja Hideaway
By far the best of the new tracks added so far is Ninja Hideaway. It's relatively short with a perfect ninja theme that lets us race in a Japanese castle, full of alternate paths. This means you don't constantly run into other drivers, and it can be a tactic to sometimes take a longer route just to avoid hooligans armed with red-shells, fireflower phantoms or those terrorists equipped with a star. All in all, a better version of Yoshi's Valley with a bit more finesse.
7. Excitebike Arena
This is a dividing stage. Some people really hate that the track changes every time you play it and that it's really just a boring shape with little variety in base design. But sometimes it's nice to have tracks that don't have too much insanity, where skill becomes a little extra prominent. Just the fact that the track doesn't look the same every time adds just the right amount of unpredictability to ensure there's still an ounce of freshness every time, despite the corners being in the same place, making this a perfect hybrid between two of Nintendo's best racing games of all time.
6. Wario's Gold Mine
I love a good roller coaster and that's pretty much exactly what Wario's Gold Mine offers with extremely steep hills, high speed, and straights that separate the rookies from pros. There's just the right amount of obstacles and a furious use of antigravity that makes this a track so hectic I barely dare blink while driving.
5. Hyrule Circuit
It would be so easy for Nintendo to just whip up a Zelda track with a Zelda theme knowing that people would be happy with it regardless. But Nintendo went the extra mile anyway, adding everything we've come to love about Link's adventure with extra fanservice to those who love Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, complete with Rupees instead of Coins and shortcuts that require more risk-taking than many other tracks. Ultimately, this is a love letter from Nintendo, through and through, and a damn good level.
4. Sunshine Airport
Super Mario Sunshine stands as perhaps Mario's worst major adventure, but the environments we got to experience in the adventure were all the better. Sunshine Airport feels like the airport in a vacation paradise and is in perfect synergy with the level design that incorporates all aspects of an airport baked into the challenges, like the brilliant use of a luggage belt. It's generally a fast paced level, with a particularly good and risky final stretch.
3. DK Jungle
Technically, this track was already released in Mario Kart 7, but it's the technical finish and rebalancing in Mario Kart 8 that really makes it stand out. Set to the rocking tunes of Donkey Kong Country, we're treated to just the right amount of thorny jungle terrain that actually allows you to maintain speed through most of it, complete with a couple of really nifty shortcuts, one of which can be used without the need for a mushroom boost. A real treat well worthy of a bronze medal in this list.
2. Big Blue
Nintendo consistently refuses to make a new F-Zero for some obscure reason. In Mario Kart 8, however, they showed in the DLC track Big Blue that they still could if they wanted to, with a furiously fast track that manages the feat of combining both the best of F-Zero with Mario Kart. Here, the best player will consistently win thanks to the speed, and the plentiful opportunities to protect yourself from anything aside from blue shells. Combine this with the classic F-Zero soundtrack and you have a modern (well, technically eight-year-old) classic.
1. Mount Wario
This isn't just the best track in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it's actually the best track in any Mario Kart game ever. And that's even without any real competition. It offers all aspects of what makes a Mario Kart track so great, namely; theme, execution, variety, and entertainment factor. The theme is a slalom hill, which is nicely realised and designed in such a way that we never have to drive even an inch twice, as this is one long stretch. It's nicely realised with exquisite design and plenty of Nintendo love along the boarders of the track (to the extent that it is even possible to enjoy what's on display since the speed is so high throughout). The variety is first rate with high pacing, real slalom areas, a stretch where my road choice matters and the most exciting ending in any Mario Kart game where a green, well-aimed shell allows you to hit the leader from very far away. All this adds up to a track that can be played over and over again with unparalleled entertainment value.