News Article

Video: Mario Kart 8's Balloon-Popping Battle Mode Looks Something Like This

Posted by Damien McFerran

No arenas this time around

Battle Mode has been an intrinsic part of Mario Kart since the days of the SNES original, and that hasn't changed in Mario Kart 8.

However, instead of popping balloons in a specially-designed arenas, this time around your battles occur on a limited selection of tracks from the game itself:

  • Moo Moo Meadows
  • Dry Dry Desert
  • Donut Plains 3
  • Toad's Turnpike
  • Mario Circuit
  • Toad Harbour
  • Sherbet Land
  • Yoshi Valley

While this initially seems a little lazy on Nintendo's part, the circular nature of each course actually makes for some pretty exciting duels — as you can see from the footage we present below.

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Not long to go until Mario Kart 8 hits the shelves — how excited are you on a scale of one to ten? Let us know with a comment.

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User Comments (74)



rjejr said:

Wait, I thought we didn't even know if MK8 had a "battle mode" yet? So is this the actual battle mode does exist announcement, or did I miss that one?

Good to know, round tracks can be fun, and we're waiting for this game long enough as it is.

Just realized battle mode will be a really good place to practice for mirror mode if that unlocks at the end of the game. I coudlnt believe how hard mirror mode was when I played it on Wii, even on the easy tracks.



DiscoGentleman said:

Looks awesome! I'm sad there are no arenas, but I see from the video that this switch-up in concept will be pretty nice. Looking forward to the mayhem!
Hopefully Nintendo releases a bunch of post-release dlc for this game (new courses, arena stages? Too wishful of thinking?), I would love to see dlc for this game done the right way, a la Pikmin 3.



Tsurii said:

@rjejr It's been known since the Direct aired afaik.
At least GameXplain showed footage of it right after that video got posted.



marko said:

well no radar kinda sucks i think did you have the option to turn it on?
give me at least 4 arenas in DLC or something
kinda disappointed



ChessboardMan said:

What? Battle mode is now just… going around in circles in opposite directions?
This is like what Burnout did to their Crash mode. Sure, it might be quite fun, but it won't compare to the original battle mode at all!
This is… some disappointing news that I hope is just being misreported.
I mean, as an extra mode on top of Battle mode, that would be great, but as a replacement?
It makes me yearn for the N64 version, with it's bomb karts and block fort. With four players, that was probably the best battle mode of any MK, or at least my most fondly remembered…



rjejr said:

@Tsurii897 - OK, thanks, I thought I remembered just last week TW posting an article where he said they hadn't officially announced it yet. Though I suppose that was probably pre-ND last week. Still can't believe I missed it.



WreckItRyan said:

I have to say, this is extremely disappointing to me. Having the open arenas was what made Battle Mode so fun for me. This just seems lazy. Good thing the rest of the game looks awesome.



Maelstrom said:

This is still better than the Wii battle mode, but still not as good a double dash's and the like.



coolaggro said:

I wouldn't have minded if they did this for some battle stages, but to only have these round ones and no arenas seems lame.

Possibly more important though, can other players see the ghosts? Or will you just randomly get a turtle shell thrown right in front of you with no warning or way to dodge?



ThomasBW84 said:

@rjejr Yeah, it's actually on the official MK8 site too, I've found, but Nintendo's just been quiet about it. I think we know why...



Nik-Davies said:

To be fair, I generally drive around in circles during Battle Mode anyway, so I'm willing to wait until I've played it before I judge.



Spoony_Tech said:

@ThomasBW84 If Nintendo wanted to be quite about it then they would've disabled Miiverse for this game. I'm seeing tons of pics from just 2 people reviewing it that I know!



Adam said:

This looks awful. It does seem lazy and disappointing. You cross paths with a particular player once a lap and have a short window of opportunity to hit them. Miss it and it isn't like you can turn around and chase. The arena format meant you could never run in one direction long so you could be cut off if your movement was predicted.

But of greater interest is something I didn't notice in trailers before: Can you no longer trail shells and bananas behind you? Or is everyone simply living on the edge? I think I would be okay with that change. It would give some identity back to the first place items which have generally boiled down to the ones that can be trailed and the ones that cannot being a handicap.



rjejr said:

@ThomasBW84 - Thanks for the reply TW. I was actually going to go scour all the MK8 articles from over the past week - thankfully its getting a lot of coverage - to see if I could find that comment I thought I read about a lack of battle mode but thanks to your reply I'm not going to. I'm taking myself out to TGIFs for lunch instead.



PJR0cks said:

yes, no arenas for battle mode is definitely disappointing, but I'm still optimistic they will release a dlc with arenas for battle mode and maybe even new game modes. I think the possibility of such dlc coming along is much higher then many would say.



ULTRA-64 said:

Gutted......I really hoped they would make an effort to make battle mode something special this time. What with the dual screen potential of the Wii be going in circles around a predictable course ruins the benefits of a second screen. I'm not sure how well this works , it might be fun, but to not have arenas aswell when we can finally not see a rivals screen is just a waste. Do you intend on using the gamepad for ANYTHING in this game Nintendo???



Corleonis88 said:

I´m a little dissapoint, but I will wait to judge once I played, it might actually be great, specially the n64 yoshi course



supremii said:

From thebitblock's videos I've seen I thought that you could also turn around and race into the other direction



Phantom_R said:

Battle Mode has been going downhill ever since Mario Kart Wii. I miss MKDS's survival mode and surrounding myself with banana forts.



ledreppe said:

Wasn't expecting this, but I guess I'll get to like it. I'd still like to see arenas in dlc, there is dlc right?!



Light said:

I never found battle mode to be that fun in Mario Kart. What would be creative is to not only bring back the arenas, but also have new modes like CTF, maybe some modes involving missions, and also have battle mode specific items which will go well with these new game mode types.



AyeHaley said:

umm 11(x infinity)/10. I want it NOW.

edit: Ok, watched the video and I'm no longer disappointed there are no arenas this time. This still looks like a ton of fun and these courses look better than any arena we've had. One downside though...I miss verticality, like in that fortress arena in DD(?). But I'm more inclined to play normal races than battle mode anyway.

I am beyond hype now...21 more days!



Mommar said:

Do not like they took the old arena's out. That was always my favorite part of multiplayer Mario Kart.



NintyMan said:

No battle arenas is really the only disappointing thing about Mario Kart 8 to me. I was looking forward to playing on arenas like N64 Double Decker and Wii Funky Stadium on this game's massive online mode. But maybe these tracks could still be some fun anyway.



LittleIrves said:

Add my vote to post-release DLC Battle Mode Arenas. But I haven't tried this out yet. Could yield some interesting matches.



Knux said:

This is lazy and foolish on Nintendo's part. There's actually people like myself who love Battle Mode. Nintendo could have offered both options (modified tracks and arenas), and eveyone would have been happy.

Now Mario Kart 8 will never be a 10/10 game because we'll always know what's missing. Bad move, Nintendo.



potomas said:

Just got new copy of edge magazine,and.............9/10 woo hoo!
The only complaint was they took arenas out of battle mode.
Quote "nintendo has built on 7's neatly interlaced mechanics and introduced a nuanced handling model to create the greatest mariokart yet"



mostro328 said:

I was hoping like everyone said the original arenas hope they would be offered on dlc

I was hoping for more more to be introduced as well like a destruction derby type something

It still looks okay but have to try to really see if it haS the same effect



ShadowSniper7 said:

@Adam Items can no longer be trailed. I for one am ok with that change but this battle mode news is quite depressing. Its as if they just didn't want to put forth the extra time to make an insanely awesome battle mode. Instead we get something that was probably thrown together in a week :/



HyperSonicEXE said:

Not sure how to feel about this. Especially since I was personally hopeful for Block Fort, and new, exciting arenas.

I'm all for giving it a shot, but still? Hopefully this is on top of some traditional battle arenas.
Hard to keep composed.



HyperSonicEXE said:

King of everything MK, at this point, except turning radius. Heck, someone crack this game and console fast, so we can just turn it into an updated MK64, 'cause based on MK7, things aren't getting better, seems like.



Jake_homs said:

Block Fort was AWESOME!!!

I too am disappointed about this change. I wanted arenas, not the same courses for Battle Mode. I'll still buy the game, but this is a disappointment for me.



Angelic_Lapras_King said:

@HyperSonicEXE I've enjoyed the previous 3 entries very much, its just the battle mode has never been the same since MK64. It should be free for all not teams, arenas and 3 balloons only. Why must they feel they must change this mode I once played all the time on the N64 but barely touch in the other entries? T.T



OorWullie said:

@Knux As others have said I think it's more than likely a proper Battle Mode will be released as DLC.I think we will be seeing quite a lot of DLC for this and for the 'best Kart yet',that can only be a good thing



Alshain01 said:

That's disappointing, I liked the arena mode. It was one of my favorites. Now I'm reconsidering the purchase at all.



ted-k said:

While I'm sure this is disappointing to many Mario Kart fans, I don't particularly care. Of the time I've spent playing Mario Kart probably less than 1% of it was in battle mode, aside from the 1 on 1 battles of the original SNES Mario Kart, which I really enjoyed and played a lot with friends. I liked the strategy of hunting down your opponent, but in all the others, with a bunch of drivers in a relatively small arena, I never saw the point. Anyway, as others have said, maybe MK8 will get arenas later as DLC, because they couldn't afford to delay this any more.



DreamOn said:

This will be the WiiU's biggest selling title and I'd be surprised if DLC content isn't in the works as we speak to juice extra dollars. Battle mode packs could definitely be a reality



drumsandperc92 said:

looks awesome, would've preferred separate arenas for sure but still great.
By the way i feel this is the first time we've seen footage of DK from the players perspective, and can i just say he looks amazing? i think Nintendo did a better job graphically here then in Tropical Freeze.
And on that topic, MK8 is putting Smash U to shame in the visual department. It's making me wish that the Smash team could pick up their game, as MK8 did as the months rolled along. but I feel like what we see now is what it'll be when released.



ItalianBaptist said:

But it looks like they're goof back to traditional survival mode rather than points like in mk wii, so that's a plus (idk about 7)



MetaRyan said:

Thank goodness. Except for Funky Stadium in MK Wii, just about every recent arena was terribly designed for kart battling. If karts didn't have things like momentum and speed, sure, the arenas would be great. However, they do, and courses that forget the physics of a kart aren't fun. Having tracks being adjusted for kart battling makes a lot more sense since the tracks are actually designed for karts. (Funky Stadium has the rare quality among battle courses of being fun to drive around on and having obstacles without high risk of losing all momentum due to bad level design.)



JaxonH said:


Dude... block fort!!!! That was my COURSE!

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed in the lack of battle arena's. With that said, it's a small blemish in an otherwise immaculate title, and battling on courses might turn out to be the kind of mix up we needed after all. If anything it'll still be enjoyable, so it's whatever.

Still, if Nintendo were to offer battle arenas via DLC, I'd flip out with excitement. That's the ONE THING that is preventing this game from being a flawless release.



GamerZack87 said:

How excited am I on a scale of 1 to 10? Why, that's a resounding Eleventy-Seven of course!



AVahne said:

Sigh...still disappointed in the change to battle mode. They should've made up for the lack of arena stages by increasing the player count in Battle to 16 or 24.



ddbangsy said:

I still hold alot of fond memories for the SNES battle mode. Free for all, in simple but nicely designed arenas that involved good driving skill and tactics.



FineLerv said:

Battle Mode is boring to me anyway. This looks like a boring version of something boring.



StarDust4Ever said:

Each release, Nintendo finds some way to screw up Battle Mode. In DS mode, you had to stop to "blow" your balloons, making you a sitting duck. In Wii mode, stupid teams. 3DS, your hit points reset to zero when you lose all your balloons, making a fatal flaw in the score keeping. You could have a million hits and lose them all if that balloon last pops before the timer expires. Now Nintendo fudges up Wii-U mode by recycling race tracks instead of building obstacle filled arenas.

Give me old school any day...

N64 Battle arenas were awesome, especially when playing with 3 or 4 players, you get turned into a bomb for revenge attempt. Also the under-appreciated skyscraper level was especially brutal. Once my friend had all three balloons; I had one, and he was chasing me around the top. I dropped a banana peel; he slips on it. Strike one. Losing control of his kart, he slips off the edge. Strike Two. I had previously left a fake item box waiting for him in precisely the spot where Likatu drops him down. Strike three. KO'ed!

Game Cube's bob-omb blast mode was da bomb! Pipe plaza was also one of my favorite arenas. I always dropped my bananas as I exited the pipes. My buddy fell for it every time. Fun times!



BulbasaurusRex said:

I think using actual tracks makes the arenas too big, but this is still miles better than MK Wii's Battle Mode now that we're no longer restricted to timed team battles. Of course, Double Dash is still the king of Mario Kart Battle Modes.



AshFoxX said:

My wife and I both said that Baby Park from Double Dash would have made a perfect battle map. Would have been super excited if they brought it back as a battle map.



DarkToad said:

What a joke Nintendo is. Can't even make new battle arenas?! Instead they use the same exact race tracks used in the racing mode. Why does Nintendo always have to ruin my hype?

I like having the radar screen to know where people are and they got rid of it?? Way to go Nintendo!



DarkToad said:

MKDD is one of the best battle modes ever. You are mistaken about Mario Kart Wii battle mode. It is better then the free for all in Mario Kart 7 and the most popular. There should be more in battle mode for Mario kart 8. Like being able to go online and battle in both teams or no teams.



BulbasaurusRex said:

@DarkToad Maybe, but MK Wii's Battle Mode also suffers from horrendous arena design (including the retro picks). Of course, MK Wii does have the natural advantage of local multiplayer, but even that isn't much fun restricted to timed team matches.

Who says the radar is out? They very well could've put it on the GamePad and then only put it on the TV screen if someone's using an alternate control scheme.

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