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Mario Kart DS

From the Super Mario Wiki, the Mario encyclopedia
Mario Kart DS
MKDS NA Box Art.png
For alternate box art, see the game's gallery
Developer Nintendo EAD
Publisher Nintendo
Platforms Nintendo DS, Virtual Console (Wii U)
Release date Nintendo DS:
USA November 14, 2005
Australia November 17, 2005
Europe November 25, 2005
Japan December 8, 2005
HK December 8, 2005
ROC December 8, 2005
South Korea April 5, 2007
Virtual Console (Wii U):
Europe April 1, 2015
Australia April 2, 2015
USA April 23, 2015
Japan May 25, 2016
Genre Racing
ESRB:ESRB E.svg - Everyone
PEGI:PEGI 3.svg - Three years and older
CERO:CERO A.png - All ages
ACB:ACB G.svg - General
Mode(s) Single player
Multiplayer: 2–8 players LAN, 2–4 Wi-Fi Connection
Wii U:
Media DL icon.svg Digital download
Nintendo DS:
Game Card
Wii U:
Nintendo DS:

Mario Kart DS is a Nintendo DS racing game developed and published by Nintendo. It is the fifth main installment of the Mario Kart series and the second game for a handheld console. Mario Kart DS was released first in North America, in November 14, 2005, and is the first and only mainstream Mario Kart game to be released first in North America. Unlike its predecessor, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, it retains the traditional single-driver kart racing elements in the Mario Kart series, where players race against seven competitors in obstacle tracks, using item-based weaponry to gain further advantages over their opponents. It is the first handheld Mario Kart title to use live-rendered 3D graphics for most of the objects in the game, including characters, vehicles, and racetracks.

Mario Kart DS expands and introduces mechanics that would later become the standard in future titles, most notably the Retro Grand Prix, and the advent of retro courses in general, that revamps tracks from all previous titles from the Mario Kart series. Mario Kart DS supports both single pak and multi-pak gameplay via DS Download Play, and is the first Mario title to support Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, allowing players to race against opponents by using online services across the world. As of May 2014, the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection has been discontinued, making online play no longer possible.

Mario Kart DS has its own mechanics that are not available in other Mario Kart games, such as customizing emblems for the vehicles, and the Missions mode, in which racers are tasked to complete objectives in a short series of events. The game also makes use of the Nintendo DS's features, using the bottom screen to display other HUD elements such as two types of maps, character order, and what items their opponents have.

On April 23, 2015, Mario Kart DS became available for purchase for the Wii U's Virtual Console service via the Nintendo eShop. The Virtual Console version is only playable in single-player mode.


Menu controls

  • +Control Pad - Scroll
  • A Button - Select
  • B Button - Back
  • Stylus - Tap selection

Race controls

  • A Button - Accelerate/Rocket Start (hold at 2 during the countdown before the race starts)
  • B Button - Brake/reverse
  • L Button/X Button - Use current Item/Stop Item Roulette/Equip Item
  • +Control Pad left or right - Steer
  • +Control Pad up or down - Throw items backward or forward.
  • R Button - Hop/Powerslide/Drift (Hold)/Mini-Turbo (Release)
  • Stylus/Y Button - Change map view (does not work in Mission Mode)
  • Start Button - Pause/resume game
  • Select Button - Blow Balloon (Balloon Battle), Toggle arrows/Mushrooms on/off (Time Trial)
  • Microphone - Blow Balloon (Balloon Battle)

Wii U Menu controls

  • +Control Pad - Scroll
  • A Button - Select
  • B Button - Back
  • Stylus - Tap selection

Wii U Race controls

  • A Button - Accelerate/Rocket Start (hold at 2 during the countdown before the race starts)
  • B Button - Brake/reverse
  • L Button/X Button - Use current Item/Stop Item Roulette/Equip Item
  • +Control Pad left or right - Steer
  • +Control Pad up or down - Throw items backward or forward.
  • R Button - Hop/Powerslide/Drift (Hold)/Mini-Turbo (Release)
  • Stylus/Y Button - Change map view (does not work in Mission Mode)
  • Plus Button - Pause/resume game
  • Minus Button - Blow Balloon (Balloon Battle), Toggle arrows/Mushrooms on/off (Time Trial)
  • Mic - Blow Balloon (Balloon Battle)

Game modes

The title screen after the game's completion.

As in Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, the game introduced sixteen courses for the four main cups: Mushroom Cup, Flower Cup, Star Cup, and Special Cup, which are collectively known as the nitro cups. The game also includes sixteen courses that appeared in earlier Mario Kart games and are part of the retro cups: Shell Cup, Banana Cup, Leaf Cup, and the Lightning Cup. These cups are sorted by difficulty in the same way as the nitro cups.

In every retro cup, each of the four courses originate from a different Mario Kart game. Every retro cup has their courses ordered in the same way as the release order of the four previous Mario Kart games. Furthermore, every retro course's name starts with an abbreviation of the game console that their originating game was released for:

Starting with the following Mario Kart game, Mario Kart Wii, stages originating from Mario Kart DS were included as retro courses and were represented by the abbreviation "DS".

Grand Prix

Grand Prix is a single player-exclusive mode. In it, a player competes in each cup in 50cc, 100cc, 150cc, and Mirror 150cc engine classes, with ascending speed and difficulty. The game reuses the point system of Mario Kart: Double Dash!! by awarding 10/8/6/4/3/2/1/0 points for first to eighth place respectively. A rating of how well a player performed is shown after the trophy presentation, from highest to lowest: ★★★, ★★, ★, A, B, C, D and E. An overall "game ranking" of ★, ★★, or ★★★ is shown in the Records area if the player has earned the designated rating in every cup and class.

Time Trial

Time Trial is a single player-exclusive mode. In it, the player's character races to complete a course in the fastest time. The item rating of a kart determines how many Mushrooms the racer can have once they start the race; vehicles with low item rate can only use one Mushroom; the ones with average item rate use two and the ones with high item rate use three. Players can choose to race against their best time as a Ghost, the Staff Ghost (raced by a Japanese Nintendo staff player with a * game ranking), or no Ghost. The game can download records from other players, allowing the player's character to race their Ghosts.


In VS mode (single or multiplayer), player(s) choose their Karts and head out on the race track. They can earn points based of their finish position in each race. The player can also choose what course they race on (provided they've unlocked it). Up to eight players can play locally via wireless - simple mode only uses one game card but is limited. The essential requirement is that everyone has a DS or 3DS system. In VS mode, the player can choose the engine class, the CPU's difficulty level, the way the courses will be chosen - by the player, in order or random; the rules to win races (either free - infinite races; number of wins from 1 to 10 - where only the first racer earns points, or the number of races from 1 up to 32 (functions similarly to the All-Cup Tour from Mario Kart: Double Dash!), and team race mode.

It is possible to have up to eight players play using just one Mario Kart DS game card - using the DS Download Play locally. Here, only the Mushroom Cup and Shell Cup tracks are playable, and everyone must play as a random color of Shy Guy, in which he becomes playable then. If everyone has a game card, all tracks are available and there are no limitations.

When playing in VS races where players place for a set number of races rather than for a set number of wins, players score points based off their finish position. If the game is being played in teams, the amount of points each player earns for each race is multiplied by about 1.5. The point system is the same as the one used in Wi-Fi when playing with 2-4 players and the one used in Grand Prix when playing with 8 players or with CPU opponents. However, when playing with 5-7 players, the distribution is as follows:

Point spread
Number of players 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
2 players 10 5 - - - - - -
3 players 10 7 4 - - - - -
4 players 10 7 4 1 - - - -
5 players[1] 10 8 5 2 0 - - -
6 players[2] 10 8 6 3 1 0 - -
7 players[3] 10 8 6 4 2 1 0 -
8 players 10 8 6 4 3 2 1 0
  • Blue text indicates winning results.
  • Green text indicates moderate results.
  • Black text indicates losing results.


In Battle mode, there are six battle stages, four of which are original and two are from an earlier Mario Kart game:

* - Not playable in the simple version of multiplayer mode.

In single player mode, the user faces CPU controlled racers, whose difficulty can be set in the battle's setup menu. All racers drive their respective standard Kart only within this mode (note that all the standard karts have the same stats in battle mode and only the weight will differ, depending on the weight of the character chosen). Additionally, other players can join a battle locally. However, Battle Mode is unavailable on the Wi-Fi mode. Like in versus, battles can also be played in teams, and rounds in team battles end when all of one team's players have been eliminated.

Mario Kart DS is the only Mario Kart game that have the name of the retro battle courses that do not state the abbreviation of the game console version of the Mario Kart game they were from; in other words, the game does not list Block Fort and Pipe Plaza as N64 Block Fort and GCN Pipe Plaza. Additionally, its retro battle courses do not have the same music as in their original appearances. Instead, they have the same music used for nitro battle courses.

Balloon Battle

Mario in a Balloon Battle at Palm Shore.

The classic battle mode seen in all Mario Kart mainstream, gets a new twist in Mario Kart DS. From previous games, racers begin a match with three balloons. In this game, however, all players begin with a single balloon, though they can get more by blowing up their balloons using the microphone feature on the DS, or just holding the Select Button button. Each player has four balloons in stock (five in total) and racers can hold up to three balloons in battle. On the other hand, the less balloons a player has, the more powerful items will obtain from the Item Boxes. Racers may also take possession of a balloon from their opponents if the thief has used a Mushroom and made contact to the opponent's kart. If the player loses all their balloons they are eliminated.

The following is what the game describes this mode as:

Burst your opponents' balloons with items! If all your inflated balloons burst, you lose! Blow into the mic to inflate your balloons!

Shine Runners

Adopted from the Mario Kart: Double Dash!! version, nine Shine Sprites are scattered onto the course at the beginning. Players need to capture the Shine Sprites, and to avoid being hit, as it causes a player to lose one sprite. The sprite then moves to a random spot for someone else to grab. In the meantime, a clock ticks down to zero. Anyone with or tied with the lowest Shine total when the clock hits zero is eliminated. The clock resets itself to a lower time and the battle continues until at least one is left (there are nine sprites to avoid a tie, but it is possible to have two players with four sprites each or four players with two sprites each or all eight players with one sprite each trying to get that last one on the course when time expires, or have three players with three sprites each; in either case, no one is eliminated and the clock resets as usual). The less sprites a player has, the better an item is obtained (Spiny Shells and Bullet Bills remain out). Shine Runners is almost the same as Coin Runners in Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but instead of Shine Sprites, they use coins.

Collect more Shines than anyone else! Steal opponents' Shines to add to your total. Those with less Shines get booted over time.


Yoshi battling Big Bully in Mission Mode.

Missions mode is a new single-player mode for Mario Kart DS which the player must complete some tasks and earn a ranking similarly to that in Grand Prix mode. It involves seven levels, each containing eight "missions" and a boss battle, most of which are taken from Super Mario 64 DS. Almost always the ranks depend on how much time is left or taken. There are varying mission types:

  • Driving through gates - driving in between giant half wheels in the ground. Very often the player has to pass these gates in numerical order.
  • Collecting coins - Players must pick up all the coins set in the track. Players may lose these coins by some obstacle of such course.
  • Destroying item boxes - Players must run over Item Boxes. Usually the racer will obtain Mushrooms after taking a box. In some cases, Item Boxes will move, and the player will have to catch up with it. Other missions the player must take care not to pick up the Fake Item Boxes alongside real ones.
  • Using Stars, Bob-ombs, or shells to destroy enemies.
  • Driving backwards - players must use the B Button button to move, and directions on the +Control Pad are reversed. It is sometimes combined with other mission types.
  • Performing power boosts within a certain lap - as said. More power boosts are often required to finish faster, meaning a higher ranking.
  • Racing a CPU player for one lap - item boxes contain Mushrooms and Stars that the CPU cannot use - the key to win. CPU players will always perform a Rocket Start. This mission type also includes a race against a Red Car and a Chain Chomp.
  • Boss Battle - Unlocked after completion of the first eight missions in a level. The racer is usually required to use items in boss battles. Every boss is from Super Mario 64 DS, and each of them have their own battlefield stage and require a different strategy to defeat.

There are some one-time isolated missions that are self-explanatory. Each mission takes place on a course, often blocked off in some areas (sometimes even a battle course) and players are given a character in their own standard kart (CPU players are also in standard karts). None of the unlockable characters are playable, and Bowser and Donkey Kong do not fight a boss. Sometimes Mushrooms are laid across the track to help the player to complete the mission. When at least a ★ ranking is achieved on all missions and bosses in the first six levels, Level 7 is unlocked. When the boss battles of Level 6 and 7 are completed, the first version of the staff credits is shown.

Missions table

The following table includes the mission number, in-game mission description, time limit for the mission (0:00 signifies it's a race, and the mission finishes at 2:00 if the race is not completed), course, and character the player plays as.

Mission Mode
1-1 Drive through all 5 numbered gates in order! 0:35 Figure-8 Circuit Mario
1-2 Collect all 15 coins! 0:30 GBA Peach Circuit Peach
1-3 Destroy all 10 item boxes! 0:45 Yoshi Falls Yoshi
1-4 Get the Star and use it to hit 5 Cheep Cheeps! 0:40 Cheep Cheep Beach Wario
1-5 Drive through all 6 numbered gates in order! 0:30 Nintendo DS Toad
1-6 Drive out of the mansion...backward! 0:45 Luigi's Mansion Luigi
1-7 Collect all 20 coins! 0:35 N64 Moo Moo Farm DK
1-8 Perform 4 power-slide turbo boosts in 1 lap! 0:45 SNES Mario Circuit 1 Mario
Boss Use Mushrooms to crash into the Big Bully and knock him off the stage! 3:00 Water Arena* Yoshi
2-1 Crash into all 10 wooden crates and destroy every one! 0:55 Delfino Square Wario
2-2 Collect all 10 coins! 0:30 Figure-8 Circuit Yoshi
2-3 Drive through all 5 numbered gates in order! 0:45 SNES Donut Plains 1 DK
2-4 Destroy all 5 item boxes! 0:35 Luigi's Mansion Luigi
2-5 Collect all 20 coins! 0:30 Cheep Cheep Beach Peach
2-6 Use Bob-ombs to destroy all 5 Pokeys! 0:55 Desert Hills Wario
2-7 Drive through all 10 numbered gates in order! 0:55 GCN Luigi Circuit Toad
2-8 Perform 6 power-slide turbo boosts in 3 laps! 0:55 GCN Baby Park Peach
Boss Hit Eyerok's eyeball 3 times with shells! 5:00 Sand Arena* Mario
3-1 Destroy all 5 item boxes! 0:50 Waluigi Pinball Wario
3-2 Drive through all 5 numbered gates in order...backward! 0:50 Delfino Square Bowser
3-3 Collect all 15 coins while avoiding the Chain Chomp! 0:25 GCN Luigi Circuit Luigi
3-4 Reach the finish before Yoshi! 0:00 Yoshi Falls Peach
3-5 Drive through all 8 numbered gates in order! 0:45 GCN Pipe Plaza Yoshi
3-6 Hit Monty Moles with shells 5 times! 1:05 N64 Moo Moo Farm Luigi
3-7 Perform 10 power-slide turbo boosts in 1 lap! 1:10 Shroom Ridge DK
3-8 Collect all 20 coins! 1:05 Twilight House Mario
Boss Reach the finish before Goomboss! 0:00 GCN Baby Park Toad
4-1 Reach the finish before Donkey Kong! 0:00 DK Pass** Wario
4-2 Blast 20 crabs!1 2:00 Palm Shore Yoshi
4-3 Reach the finish before the red car! 0:00 Shroom Ridge Mario
4-4 Drive through all 7 numbered gates in order! 0:45 Desert Hills Wario
4-5 Collect all 15 coins. If you get squished by a Thwomp, you fail! 0:30 GBA Bowser Castle 2 Bowser
4-6 Break all 10 item boxes while avoiding the Fake Items! 1:10 N64 Choco Mountain DK
4-7 Drive through all 10 gates!2 0:45 Waluigi Pinball Toad
4-8 Perform 9 power-slide turbo boosts in 1 lap! 1:00 GBA Luigi Circuit Luigi
Boss Collect 50 coins while avoiding King Boo! 5:00 Lava Arena* Peach
5-1 Reach the finish before the stray Chain Chomp! 0:00 Peach Gardens Peach
5-2 Drive backward and collect 15 coins! If you hit a snowman, you fail! 0:30 N64 Frappe Snowland DK
5-3 Destroy all 5 item boxes! 0:35 SNES Koopa Beach 2 Toad
5-4 Drive through all 10 numbered gates in order! 1:05 GBA Bowser Castle 2 Bowser
5-5 Complete 1 lap in the opposite direction within the time limit! 0:55 GCN Mushroom Bridge Mario
5-6 Collect all 18 coins! 0:45 Tart Top Yoshi
5-7 Drive through all 8 numbered gates in order! 0:45 DK Pass** Toad
5-8 Reach the finish before Mario! 0:00 Mario Circuit Luigi
Boss Hit the Big Bob-omb with 3 Bob-ombs! 5:00 Sand Arena* Wario
6-1 Drive backward across the spinning bridge! If you fall, you're out! 0:30 Bowser Castle Bowser
6-2 Get Stars and run over 15 Rocky Wrenches! 0:55 Airship Fortress Wario
6-3 Collect all 30 coins! 0:45 SNES Choco Island 2 Yoshi
6-4 Destroy all 10 item boxes! 2:00 N64 Block Fort Mario
6-5 Drive through all 8 numbered gates in order! 0:50 GBA Sky Garden Peach
6-6 Perform 14 power-slide turbo boosts in 1 lap! 1:00 GCN Yoshi Circuit Yoshi
6-7 Collect all 40 coins! 1:30 Tick-Tock Clock Toad
6-8 Reach the finish before Peach! 0:00 Peach Gardens** Bowser
Boss Use Mushroom boosts to hit Chief Chilly and knock him off the stage 3 times! 5:00 Water Arena* Luigi
7-1 Perform 6 power-slide turbo boosts in 1 lap! 1:00 Rainbow Road Peach
7-2 Reach the finish before Bowser! 0:00 Bowser Castle Mario
7-3 Complete 2 laps within the time limit!3 1:30 Tick-Tock Clock DK
7-4 Use shells to defeat all 30 Goombas within the time limit! 2:00 Mario Circuit Toad
7-5 Collect all 20 coins! 0:55 Wario Stadium Wario
7-6 Drive through all 8 numbered gates in order! 0:11 Nintendo DS Mario
7-7 Drive backward and collect all 12 coins! If you hit a burner, you fail! 0:50 Airship Fortress Bowser
7-8 Break all 10 item boxes while avoiding the Fake Items! 1:05 N64 Banshee Boardwalk Luigi
Boss Reach the finish before Wiggler! 0:00 GCN Mushroom Bridge Mario
*Conjectural title based on surroundings.
**Denotes that the player drives through the course in the opposite direction.
1Using Green Shells (solo or triple) and Bob-ombs
2The gates don't necessarily have to be driven through in order.
3Players can use any means - normal or powersliding - to finish.

Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection mode

Mario Kart DS was the first Nintendo game to support online play (which has since been discontinued) though it's worth noting that it's the second Mario Kart game to support online connectivity, with the Japanese version of Mario Kart: Super Circuit being the first (the use of online connectivity for this game was made primarily to exchange ghost data with other players).[4] Being one of the first Nintendo DS games to feature wireless connection, the game mode required some technical changes in order to avoid connection malfunctions and long time loads during online play.

The following changes and restrictions were applied to prevent excessive lags:

  • Only up to four players
  • Only the 100cc engine class was available
  • 12 of 32 courses were omitted
  • No multi-items
  • No spilled Items onto course to be used; items were just lost
  • Items could not be dragged behind the kart
  • Item roulette could not be stopped earlier
  • Course obstacles could not be destroyed (e.g. boxes in Delfino Square or snowballs in DK Pass)
Point Spread Comparisons
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
Super Mario Kart
Mario Kart 64
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
9 6 3 1 0 0 0 0
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Mario Kart DS Grand Prix
10 8 6 4 3 2 1 0
Mario Kart DS Teams[5] 15 12 9 6 4 2 1 0
Mario Kart DS WFC 4 Players 10 7 4 1 -
Mario Kart DS WFC 3 Players 10 7 4 -
Mario Kart DS WFC 2 Players 10 5 -
Grove-green bg signifies victory results (great clapping, character(s) cheering), best after-race music
Lime-green bg signifies moderate results (mild clapping, moderate character reaction), same music in Wi-Fi as winner but different in Grand Prix
Normal bg signifies losing results, losing music (kart engine stops if not in Grand Prix mode if the player placed last). In Super Mario Kart, Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit, the race will be restarted (0 pts) if the racer comes in 5th-8th. If this happens more than three times (except in Mario Kart 64), the Grand Prix must be started over.
— means not available


Players could connect using a wireless connection or a Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector (preferably high-speed.) Racers would choose to search for other players in "Friends" (more info below), "Rivals" (players with a similar record), "Regional" or "Continental" in Non-American versions of the game (players in same country or continent), and "Worldwide", the latter possible to cause long lags. Other racers searching in the same category were randomly grouped. The game tried to find four players, but eventually settled for three or two if necessary. Players chose their characters, karts, and the course they wanted for the first of four races.

In addition to the 20 courses listed in order of when it is encountered, there was also a random button. After everyone's selection was placed, a course was chosen based on the responses. If all players each picked a different course, the system randomly picked one. If four players chose two courses, two each, the game randomly selected from those two. On the other hand, the most voted course by a group of users was selected to race. It proceeded like so for four races, then the points were tallied up, and after the match, a player's wins and losses were totaled.

Each player received one "win" for finishing ahead of a player and one "loss" for finishing behind of a player. If a player tied with another player, it did not count as a "win" or "loss". For example:

  • A player winning a 3-player match, or ties for 1st with one other player in a 4-player match receives 2 wins and 0 losses.
  • A player coming 2nd in a 4-player match receives 2 wins and 1 loss.
  • A player tied for third in a 4-player match gets only 2 losses, as compared to 3.
  • A player tied with all other players, no matter how many players are participating, was simply called a tie and did not affect either player's record.

Players could continue after the match to play the same racers again or quit to restart the process to find other players.


Problem: Trouble with friend codes

A) Friend Code System. Each copy of the game comes with a 12-digit code known as a "friend code". Players could enter codes into each other's "friend roster" to create a friend list, where Wi-Fi records between the players were stored. When a friend was online at the same time, a symbol would appear above the Wi-Fi strength symbol, whether trying to find racers or during racing. Yet, both (or more) players must have had each (or all) of their friend codes registered and be looking in the friends section at the same time to hook up. If the player were to find a racer to compete against elsewhere online, there was no communication for a friend code swap; the only way to race again is to do it right away by selecting continue after a match.

Problem: Disconnecting racers change the outcome of the match; it is later reflected in the match records.

B) Disconnecting. Take this scenario into consideration:
Bob started in a four-player match, but two people have disconnected since, and he is now in a two-player match against a three-star player, and has come second and third in the first two races. It is 20-11. Josh wins the next match, bringing the totals to 25-21. But, in the fourth race, the three-star player is a full half-lap ahead with one lap to go. Josh realizes that he might not win this race; however, Josh has researched about Wi-Fi connections and has learned a trick. He leaves his DS untouched, bringing his kart to a stop, then finds his wireless router, and disconnects it. According to the record-book, Bob has won the match from which he has disconnected.


  • The two players who disconnected earlier are experiencing certain effects. When a player is disconnected from Wi-Fi via turning off his or her DS, the player is charged with the same number of losses as there are other players. Players can disconnect at any time, but if they cancel before the first course is chosen, there is no effect on the win-loss record. Other players finishing the whole match gain one win per disconnected player.
  • Refer to the point spread chart for WFC. Mid-match, due to disconnected players, the point spread can change. For example, when it goes down from four to three players, the point conversion is not affected for the top three. Yet, from three to two, it is. In the first two races, Josh lost three and six points to the three-star player, under the 10-7-4(-1) point spread. But, if he had won the last two races, under the 10-5 point spread, he would have recovered ten points - and would have won, 31-30, even though he came in third once and only won two out of four races.
  • Players occasionally disconnect when losing. A glitch in the game affects the final results, and this is exactly what Josh does in the scenario. Instead of turning off the DS, he disconnects his actual connection. The three-star player would have gained three wins, but when everyone disconnects, it takes no effect on the winning player's records.
    • To restate and make clear: if Josh would have played it out and lost the fourth race, the result would have been 35-26, in favor of the three-star player.



The main game has 12 playable characters, 4 of which are unlockable. The eight starting characters, Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Toad, Donkey Kong, Wario and Bowser, were taken from Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit. The other four drivers can be unlocked by winning a gold trophy of certain cups in Grand Prix mode. Two of the unlockable characters, Daisy and Waluigi, return from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and the other two, Dry Bones and R.O.B., make their first Mario Kart playable appearance. A 13th racer, Shy Guy, debuts as a playable character, but is only playable to players using DS Download Play.

Artwork Name Weight Description
MKDS Mario Standard Kart Artwork.png EmbMario.png Medium Mario is the main and titular character of the Mario Kart series and the overall Mario franchise. He is the most balanced of the racers in the game.
Luigi in Standard LG MKDS artwork.png EmbLuigi.png Medium Luigi is the younger brother of Mario. Luigi is good at traction while driving.
MKDS Peach Artwork.png EmbPeach.png Light Princess Peach is the princess of the Mushroom Kingdom. Her specialty is power-sliding.
MKDS Yoshi Artwork.png EmbYoshi.png Light Yoshi is the dinosaur friend of Mario and Luigi. Like Luigi, Yoshi has good traction while driving.
MKDS Toad Artwork.png EmbToad.png Light Toad is a small, lightweight character who is specialized with handling.
MKDS Donkey Kong Standard Kart Artwork.png EmbDK.png Heavy Donkey Kong is a large ape who can bump into racers and knock them aside. His specialty is drifting, which compensates for his low acceleration.
MKDS Wario Artwork.png EmbWario.png Heavy Wario is the rival of Mario. He is specialized in every field except acceleration.
MKDS Bowser Artwork.png EmbBowser.png Heavy Bowser is the main villain of the Mario franchise. He has the highest speed of any character and, like Donkey Kong, is specialized in drifting.
MKDS Dry Bones Artwork.png EmbDryBones.png Light Dry Bones is a skeletal Koopa Troopa. He can be unlocked by obtaining a gold trophy for every 50cc Nitro Grand Prix cup.
PrincessDaisyMKDS.png EmbDaisy.png Medium Princess Daisy is the other major princess of the Mario franchise. She can be unlocked by obtaining a gold trophy for every 50cc Retro Grand Prix cup.
MKDS Waluigi Artwork.png EmbWaluigi.png Medium Waluigi is a close friend and ally of Wario and the arch-rival of Luigi. He can be unlocked by obtaining a gold trophy for every 100cc Retro Grand Prix cup.
MKDS ROB Artwork.png EmbROB.png Heavy R.O.B. started out as a peripheral for a few Nintendo Entertainment System games. This is the only Mario Kart game where he is a playable racer. R.O.B. can be unlocked by obtaining a gold trophy for either every Nitro Grand Prix cup or Retro Grand Prix cup.
MKDS Shy Guy Artwork.png Shy Guy Light Shy Guy is an enemy from the Mario and Yoshi games, and always covers his face with a mask. He is only available to players who use DS Download Play (without a cartridge), and is the only racer available to them. The game chooses his color scheme by default. There are eight color variants for Shy Guy: red, blue, green, yellow, black, white, pink, and light blue.
  • Characters highlighted in gray are unlockable.
  • Characters highlighted in pink are only available via DS Download Play.

Other characters

These characters are non-playable. They appear as either spectators, hazards, or obstacles of certain courses.

Image Name Course appearance(s) Description
MKDSAngrySun.png Angry Sun Desert Hills The Angry Sun shoots out Fire Snakes onto certain areas of the track when the second lap begins.
MKDS Boo Sprite.png Boo Luigi's Mansion
N64 Banshee Boardwalk
In addition to being items in the game, Boos appear at certain parts of the race and make their trademark noises. These Boos are merely there for decoration, and are not hazards nor obstacles.
BubbaMKDS.png Bubba N64 Banshee Boardwalk Bubba jumps out of the water over the track. It does not hit any of the racers.
MKDS Airship Fortress Bullet Bill Screenshot.png Bullet Bill Airship Fortress Also in addition to being an item in the game, Bullet Bills are shot out of the Airship towards the starting line, knocking out any racers in their path.
MKDSBurner.png Burner Airship Fortress
Bowser Castle
Burners drop out of the ceiling onto the ground for a brief moment, setting the racer on fire if contact is made.
MKDSChainChomp.png Chain Chomp Peach Gardens
GCN Luigi Circuit
In Peach Gardens, chain-less Chain Chomps are all around the path. Some have a tail of Item Boxes. In Luigi Circuit, a Chain Chomp chained to a stake lunges at nearby players.
MKDS Cheep Cheep Sprite.png Cheep Cheep Cheep Cheep Beach
SNES Koopa Beach 2
In both courses, Cheep Cheeps bounce on the shoreline and spin racers out of control if driven into them.
MKDSFireBar.png Fire Bar Wario Stadium Different variations of Fire Bars are abundant on the track. Some spin in circles after a Dash Panel ramp. Others are in a triangle-like formation. Both set the racers on fire.
MKDSFirePiranhaPlant.png Fire Piranha Plant Mario Circuit Fire Piranha Plants are stationed in pipes and spit fire at oncoming racers.
MKDSFireSnake.png Fire Snake Desert Hills Fire Snakes are projected from the Angry Sun and bounce around at certain points on the track.
MKDSGoomba.png Goomba Mario Circuit Goombas are situated on the track and spin players out of control. If Lightning strikes, they turn into Mushrooms.
MKDSLavaBubble.png Lava Bubble GBA Bowser Castle 2 Lava Bubbles jump out of lava pits at several places around the course. If a racer drives into a Lava Bubble, their kart is briefly set on fire, and they also usually fall into the lava.
MontyMoleMKDS.png Monty Mole Peach Gardens
N64 Moo Moo Farm
Monty Moles peak out of holes and then jump, posing as obstacles for the drivers.
MKDSMooMoo.png Moo Moo N64 Moo Moo Farm There are several Moo Moos in the background of the track, only posing as onlookers.
Pianta MKDS blue.pngPianta MKDS pink.pngPianta MKDS yellow.png Pianta Delfino Square Piantas appear as spectators of the race. Additionally, a Pianta statue is found in the beginning of the track.
Piranha Plant MKDS sprite.png Piranha Plant Mario Circuit
SNES Choco Island 2
Piranha Plants pose as obstacles on the race tracks, spinning drivers out of control for a brief moment.
PokeyMKDS.png Pokey Desert Hills Many Pokeys appear on the track, creating obstacles for the drivers.
MKDS Rocky Wrench Render.png Rocky Wrench Airship Fortress Rocky Wrenches are a stage obstacle. They hide under lids on the track. Their pattern is to briefly peak out before exposing themselves. If a racer drives over a lid which a Rocky Wrench peeks from, their kart jumps slightly into the air. If racers drive into a Rocky Wrench, their kart briefly spins out.
SidestepperMKDS.png Sidestepper Cheep Cheep Beach Sidesteppers are stationed on the sand, spinning players out of control if driven into them.
MKDSSnowman.png Snowman DK Pass
N64 Frappe Snowland
Snowmen are situated on the track, causing the player to spin out if driven into them.
MKDS Swoop.png Swoop N64 Banshee Boardwalk A colony of Swoops fly towards the racers, slowing them down if they drive directly into the swarm.
MKDSThwomp.png Thwomp Bowser Castle
GBA Bowser Castle 2
Thwomps appear as enemies, performing their trademark slam attempt at the drivers below. Additionally, some Thwomps move side to side on the ground.
MKDSTree.png Walking Tree Luigi's Mansion Walking Trees walk in patterns and pose as obstacles for the drivers.


In addition to the sixteen standard courses, Mario Kart DS is the first game in the series to include the Retro Grand Prix, which has been carried over into every future installment in the series to date. The Retro Grand Prix consists of sixteen courses from past Mario Kart games updated and compiled into four additional cups. This makes a total of 8 cups and 32 courses. Mario Kart DS is the only Mario Kart game where there is no Mario Circuit in the Flower Cup, unlike other Mario Kart games.

This is the only Mario Kart game to have three Grand Prix introduction fanfares; one for Figure-8 Circuit, Waluigi Pinball, Mario Circuit, and GCN Luigi Circuit, one for Wario Stadium, and one for the other courses.

Nitro Grand Prix

MKDS Mushroom Cup Emblem.png
Mushroom Cup
MKDS Flower Cup Icon.png
Flower Cup
MKDS Star Cup Emblem.png
Star Cup
MKDS Special Cup Emblem.png
Special Cup
MKDS Figure 8 Circuit Course Icon.png
Figure-8 Circuit*
MKDS Desert Hills Course Icon.png
Desert Hills*
MKDS DK Pass Course Icon.png
DK Pass*
MKDS Wario Stadium Course Icon.png
Wario Stadium*
MKDS Yoshi Falls Course Icon.png
Yoshi Falls*
MKDS Delfino Square Course Icon.png
Delfino Square*
MKDS Tick-Tock Clock Course Icon.png
Tick-Tock Clock
MKDS Peach Gardens Course Icon.png
Peach Gardens
MKDS Cheep Cheep Beach Course Icon.png
Cheep Cheep Beach*
MKDS Waluigi Pinball Course Icon.png
Waluigi Pinball
MKDS Mario Circuit Course Icon.png
Mario Circuit*
MKDS Bowser Castle Course Icon.png
Bowser Castle
MKDS Luigi's Mansion Course Icon.png
Luigi's Mansion*
MKDS Shroom Ridge Course Icon.png
Shroom Ridge
MKDS Airship Fortress Course Icon.png
Airship Fortress
MKDS Rainbow Road Course Icon.png
Rainbow Road*

Retro Grand Prix

MKDS Shell Cup Emblem.png
Shell Cup
MKDS Banana Cup Emblem.png
Banana Cup
MKDS Leaf Cup Emblem.png
Leaf Cup
MKDS Lightning Cup Emblem.png
Lightning Cup
MKDS SNES Mario Circuit 1 Course Icon.png
SNES Mario Circuit 1*
MKDS SNES Donut Plains 1 Course Icon.png
SNES Donut Plains 1
MKDS SNES Koopa Beach 2 Course Icon.png
SNES Koopa Beach 2
MKDS SNES Choco Island 2 Course Icon.png
SNES Choco Island 2*
MKDS N64 Moo Moo Farm Course Icon.png
N64 Moo Moo Farm*
MKDS N64 Frappe Snowland Course Icon.png
N64 Frappe Snowland*
MKDS N64 Choco Mountain Course Icon.png
N64 Choco Mountain*
MKDS N64 Banshee Boardwalk Course Icon.png
N64 Banshee Boardwalk
MKDS GBA Peach Circuit Course Icon.png
GBA Peach Circuit*
MKDS GBA Bowser Castle 2 Course Icon.png
GBA Bowser Castle 2
MKDS GBA Luigi Circuit Course Icon.png
GBA Luigi Circuit
MKDS GBA Sky Garden Course Icon.png
GBA Sky Garden*
MKDS GCN Luigi Circuit Course Icon.png
GCN Luigi Circuit*
MKDS GCN Baby Park Course Icon.png
GCN Baby Park*
MKDS GCN Mushroom Bridge Course Icon.png
GCN Mushroom Bridge
MKDS GCN Yoshi Circuit Course Icon.png
GCN Yoshi Circuit*

* - Was playable on Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection

Staff Ghosts

Staff Ghosts are Time Trial races that were previously done by a Nintendo staff member. Every course has its unlockable Staff Ghost that the player can race against if their completion time is close to the Staff Ghost's. Most courses require a minimum of completing a course at least 5–10 seconds after the Staff Ghost does.

Course Time Name Character/Kart
Figure-8 Circuit 1:36:481 Ninten★たなか Mario MKDS record icon.png
Standard MR icon.png
Standard MR
Yoshi Falls 0:57:677 Ninten★まっは Yoshi MKDS record icon.png
Egg 1 icon.png
Egg 1
Cheep Cheep Beach 1:43:654 Ninten★しんご DK MKDS record icon.png
Donkey Kong
Standard DK icon.png
Standard DK
Luigi's Mansion 1:59:357 Ninten★しんご Luigi MKDS record icon.png
Streamliner icon.png
Desert Hills 1:31:262 Ninten★かつ ROB MKDS record icon.png
ROB-LGS icon.png
Delfino Square 1:54:601 Ninten★いわ Peach MKDS record icon.png
Royale icon.png
Waluigi Pinball 2:23:288 Ninten★しんや Waluigi MKDS record icon.png
Gold Mantis icon.png
Gold Mantis
Shroom Ridge 2:05:123 Ninten★ジョー Toad MKDS record icon.png
Mushmellow icon.png
DK Pass 2:14:607 Ninten★™NN DK MKDS record icon.png
Donkey Kong
Wildlife icon.png
Tick-Tock Clock 1:54:903 Ninten★だい8 Daisy MKDS record icon.png
Light Dancer icon.png
Light Dancer
Mario Circuit 1:56:533 Ninten★モリオ Mario MKDS record icon.png
Shooting Star MKDS icon.png
Shooting Star
Airship Fortress 2:07:748 Ninten★シュン Bowser MKDS record icon.png
Hurricane icon.png
Wario Stadium 2:14:868 Ninten★マトゥ Wario MKDS record icon.png
Brute icon.png
Peach Gardens 1:52:989 Ninten★ゆきつ Peach MKDS record icon.png
Royale icon.png
Bowser Castle 2:19:661 Ninten★ひろむ Bowser MKDS record icon.png
Hurricane icon.png
Rainbow Road 2:16:246 Ninten★たえこ ROB MKDS record icon.png
ROB-BLS icon.png
SNES Mario Circuit 1 0:50:688 Ninten★いわ Mario MKDS record icon.png
Standard MR icon.png
Standard MR
N64 Moo Moo Farm 1:17:751 Ninten★だる® DK MKDS record icon.png
Donkey Kong
Wildlife icon.png
GBA Peach Circuit 1:12:011 Ninten★だい8 Peach MKDS record icon.png
Royale icon.png
GCN Luigi Circuit 1:29:759 Ninten★おつぼ Luigi MKDS record icon.png
Poltergust 4000 icon.png
Poltergust 4000
SNES Donut Plains 1 1:08:027 Ninten★しばた Dry Bones MKDS record icon.png
Dry Bones
Dry Bomber icon.png
Dry Bomber
N64 Frappe Snowland 2:08:781 Ninten★ジョー Wario MKDS record icon.png
Brute icon.png
GBA Bowser Castle 2 1:52:258 Ninten★ジョー Bowser MKDS record icon.png
Standard BW icon.png
Standard BW
GCN Baby Park 0:50:920 Ninten★ひょう Toad MKDS record icon.png
Mushmellow icon.png
SNES Koopa Beach 2 0:54:847 Ninten★しんや Yoshi MKDS record icon.png
Egg 1 icon.png
Egg 1
N64 Choco Mountain 2:15:571 Ninten★イシビ Wario MKDS record icon.png
Dragonfly icon.png
GBA Luigi Circuit 1:46:581 Ninten★モリオ Luigi MKDS record icon.png
Poltergust 4000 icon.png
Poltergust 4000
GCN Mushroom Bridge 1:30:600 Ninten★ひょう Toad MKDS record icon.png
Mushmellow icon.png
SNES Choco Island 2 1:01:620 Ninten★おつぼ Waluigi MKDS record icon.png
Zipper icon.png
N64 Banshee Boardwalk 2:14:403 Ninten★まさ Dry Bones MKDS record icon.png
Dry Bones
Dry Bomber icon.png
Dry Bomber
GBA Sky Garden 1:44:400 Ninten★ドリー Daisy MKDS record icon.png
Power Flower icon.png
Power Flower
GCN Yoshi Circuit 1:48:793 Ninten★たろう Yoshi MKDS record icon.png
Standard YS icon.png
Standard YS


For information on the probability of obtaining each item from an Item Box, see Mario Kart DS item probability distributions.

As with other Mario Kart games, a main element of Mario Kart DS are the pick-up items that allow the racer to take certain advantage over their opponents. An item can be obtained by driving into an Item Box. This causes the item roulette at the top-left corner of the screen. Racers in higher positions receive less powerful items than racers in lower positions. Some items are unavailable in Battle Mode, and in the mode, similar to normal races, leaders with the most Balloons or Shine Sprites receive less powerful items.

Each kart has an Items stats ratio, which determines the variety of items that a racer can receive; karts with a higher items ratio are more likely to receive rare items. In subsequent games, this stat was removed, making position the only factor that influences items. When the Item Roulette has chosen a normal item, it makes a simple plong sound, but if the racer receives a more powerful item, it makes a stronger plong sound.

The game introduces two items, Bullet Bill and Blooper, both of which have since appeared in every subsequent Mario Kart game. Most of Mario Kart DS's item artworks are from Mario Kart: Double Dash!! except for the Fake Item Box, Triple Bananas, Boo, Bullet Bill and Blooper.

Image Name Instruction booklet description
MKDDMushroom.png Mushroom Provides a short speed boost.
MKDD Triple Mushrooms.png Triple Mushrooms Each press of L Button or X Button uses up one Mushroom.
Golden Mushroom.png Golden Mushroom Allows you to use Mushroom boosts as many times as you want for a short period of time.
MKDD ItemBox.png Item Box Drive through the item boxes on the tracks to get the items contained within. The item inside is determined randomly. 1 In Balloon Battle, if the player is eliminated from the game and gets an Item Box, the player only receives an Item Box, as an actual item. This can be placed on the floor, and someone not eliminated can use it, but it only lasts for a short time before disappearing.
MKDS Fake Item Box Artwork.png Fake Item Box Looks just like an item box, but when you run into it, it knocks you over.
MKDD BananaPeel.png Banana Makes karts spin out when run over.
MKDS Triple Bananas.jpg Triple Bananas Press L Button or X Button to deploy behind the kart. Tap the button again to drop one.
MKDD GreenShell.png Green Shell When thrown, this shell travels in a straight line and knocks over the first kart it hits.
MKDD Triple Green Shells.png Triple Green Shells Press L Button or X Button to deploy, then press the button again to launch a shell. Each one has the same effect as a single Green or Red Shell.
MKDD RedShell.png Red Shell These automatically lock onto and chase after the next kart in front of you. When hit, the kart rolls over.
MKDD Triple Red Shells.png Triple Red Shells Press L Button or X Button to deploy, then press the button again to launch a shell. Each one has the same effect as a single Red Shell.
MKDD SpinyShell.png Spiny Shell This shell travels and chases after the lead kart and blows up when it reaches its target. Any kart in the blast radius will be knocked over or spun around.
MKDD Star.png Star Makes you invincible for a brief period of time. While invincible, you will knock over any kart you hit.
MKDD Thunderbolt Artwork.png Lightning Makes all opponents spin out, drop their items, and shrink for a brief period of time.
MKDD Bob-omb.png Bob-omb Explodes after a brief pause or when another kart comes near it. Any kart in the blast radius will be knocked over or spun around.
BlooperMKDS.png Blooper Sprays ink on all of the karts in front of you, obscuring those drivers' view of the track.
MKDS Bullet Bill Artwork.jpg Bullet Bill Briefly transforms the user into a Bullet Bill that soars through the air along the track, knocking over karts along the way.
MKDS Boo Artwork.jpg Boo Unleashes Boo, who turns you invisible for a brief time, making you impervious to enemy attacks, and steals an opponent's item.

1 - The instruction booklet provides this description in page 10

Racing techniques

Rocket Start

Throughout the entire series, the Rocket Start allow drivers to give them an extra speed boost and get a head start when a race begins. To use the technique for this installment, players should stay at the starting line and wait for the countdown to hit two. When it does reach that number and when it starts to fade, players should hold the A Button button to rev up the kart's engine. When START appears on the race screen, the kart receives a small boost of speed out from the starting line, which is a very helpful move to get first place early on in a race. But, there is a risk to this move. If players hold the button before the two fades, it may make the player's kart falter, and takes a few seconds to get back up to normal speed. If the player holds the A Button after the second "ding" sound is heard and end, the player can get a boost that is a little faster than the normal small boost.

Drifting and powersliding

Yoshi powersliding at Figure-8 Circuit.

In the entire Mario Kart series, players drift by holding the R Button button on a turn. Gray wisps come out of their kart as they turn around corners, possibly tighter or better than normal turning.

The next step up is powersliding. While drifting, players can move the +Control Pad to the right, left, and vice versa to produce sparks behind the kart. If done correctly, the sparks change their colors and intensity from blue to orange on each alternated move. After the sparks turn orange, the player releases the R Button button to stop drifting and release a brief Mini-Turbo after powersliding. This can be used to dodge Spiny Shell if combined with a hop only during 100cc and 150cc races.

A player can perform a useful technique known as snaking by performing consecutive mini-turbos in a zigzagged direction, which offers a player the boost they need to get further ahead. This technique is much easier to perform with karts with higher handling, especially with Dry Bones.


Back from Mario Kart 64, Slipstreaming is simply moving just behind another player. If racers can stay behind their opponent's vehicle for about four seconds, players get a momentary speed boost that is strong enough to pass the other player.


The multiplayer mode allows up to eight players to play either by multi-card or by Download Play mode.

Players with a copy of Mario Kart DS can select any default character and kart combination, along with ones they have unlocked. Unlocked courses from any of the game cards can also be selected.

In Download Play mode, players can only select courses from the Mushroom Cup and the Shell Cup. Only three of the battle courses are available—Nintendo DS, Tart Top and Pipe Plaza—which are always selected by the game at random. Download Play participants are forced to play as Shy Guy, whose color is selected by the game randomly.


The kart selection screen in Mario Kart DS with Mario only.

In Mario Kart DS, there are 36 different karts (37 if including the Standard SG) in total.

Every kart shows six ratings:

  • Speed: How high the top speed of the kart is; how fast the kart can go. Bowser and R.O.B. have the fastest karts.
  • Acceleration: The time the kart's top speed is achieved when accelerating (the higher the acceleration, the shorter players wait until they reach their kart's top speed, and the lower it is, the longer they wait). Dry Bones's karts can reach their top speed very quickly.
  • Weight: While a vehicle is heavy, the driver can knock a lighter kart. Unlike other stats, the character contributes to this stat, with Bowser's and R.O.B. being very heavy. Characters with a higher weight stat, however, will also apply a penalty to the vehicle's Off-Road stat (which is hidden to the player).
  • Handling: How tight the kart can normally turn without drifting. Dry Bones has the best turning curve.
  • Drift: How tight the kart turns while drifting or powersliding. Peach has the best drifting curve.
  • Items: The variety of items to use when touching an Item Box (a high Items rating signifies a higher chance of getting Triple Bananas in first place, Triple Mushrooms in third, fourth, etc).

For all stats, one or more karts will have a rating of one-hundred for that stat; for example, the Hurricane and ROB-BLS have speed ratings of one-hundred, the Dry Bomber has both acceleration and handling rates of one-hundred, the Tyrant has a weight rating of one-hundred if normally paired with Bowser, the Light Tripper has a drift rating of one-hundred, and each character has one kart each with an items rating of one-hundred (one of the Exclusive Karts), an items rating of sixty-six (all of the Standard Karts), and an items rating of thirty-three (one of the Exclusive Karts).

Originally, only two karts are available for each character; an Exclusive Kart and a Standard Kart. As the player wins gold trophies in the 100cc Nitro Grand Prix, the player will unlock a second Exclusive Kart for each character. When the player wins a gold trophy in either 150cc Special Cup or Lightning Cup, four Exclusive Karts from different characters will become available, bringing the total to seven karts for each character. After winning gold trophies in all eight 150cc cups (to unlock the Mirror) and all cups in Mirror Mode, each character can be paired in any of the 36 karts, making 432 combinations (excluding Shy Guy). CPU drivers will only use their characters' respective exclusive or standard karts in races and battles.

The following ratings are from zero to one hundred, directly obtained from the values used by the game to fill the bar in the kart selection screen.[6] On a side note, it is worth noting that a kart with a high items rating will usually have lower overall stats than the standard karts. Likewise, karts with a low items rating will usually have higher overall stats than the standard karts. Karts with a high items rating tend to be heavier than the karts with a low items rating. Karts with high items rating also receive more Mushroom boosts in Time Trial mode. The player will get one Mushroom boost if the items rating is low, two if the items rating is normal, and three if the items rating is high. The weight class of the character does not play an important role in Mario Kart DS, as the weight does not create Kart use restrictions.

In-game menu values of Mario Kart DS
Driver Driver Weight Kart Speed Acceleration Weight Handling Drift Items
Mario 32 BDasher.png
B Dasher
58 69 41 52 55 100
Standard MR
64 72 32 56 57 66
Shooting Star.png
Shooting Star
67 74 14 60 59 33
Luigi 32 Poltergust4000model.png
Poltergust 4000
75 76 17 77 33 33
Standard LG
72 74 32 73 32 66
66 71 41 69 30 100
Peach 23 Royalemodel.png
41 69 44 45 94 100
Standard PC
47 73 32 48 97 66
Light Tripper
51 75 20 51 100 33
Yoshi 20 EggOne.png
Egg 1
59 91 14 89 41 33
Standard YS
55 90 32 84 39 66
49 88 38 80 37 100
Toad 17 Mushmellow.png
43 87 17 69 69 33
Standard TD
39 85 32 65 67 66
4-Wheel Cradle
33 83 44 61 64 100
Donkey Kong 41 MKDS Rambi Rider Model.png
Rambi Rider
74 44 47 31 74 100
Standard DK
80 47 32 34 77 66
84 50 23 37 79 33
Wario 44 MKDS Brute Model.png
92 53 23 51 49 33
Standard WR
88 50 32 48 47 66
82 46 47 45 45 100
Bowser 50 Tyrant.png
90 25 50 25 64 100
Standard BW
96 30 32 28 67 66
100 34 29 32 69 33
Daisy 26 PowerFlowermodel.png
Power Flower
58 61 35 36 84 100
Standard DS
64 64 32 40 87 66
Light Dancer
67 66 20 43 90 33
Dry Bones 14 Banisher.png
25 97 35 91 45 100
Standard DB
31 99 32 96 47 66
Dry Bomber
34 100 26 100 49 33
Waluigi 35 GoldMantis.png
Gold Mantis
75 65 29 60 59 33
Standard WL
72 63 32 56 57 66
66 59 35 52 55 100
ROB 50 ROBBLSmodel.png
100 55 25 69 28 33
Standard RB
96 53 32 65 27 66
90 48 38 61 25 100
Shy Guy 20 StandardKartSG.png
Standard SG
55 90 32 84 39 66
Battle Mode karts
Driver Driver Weight Kart Speed Acceleration Weight Handling Drift Items
Mario 32 StandardKartMR.png
Standard MR
50 54 32 50 50 66
Donkey Kong 41 StandardKartDK.png
Standard DK
63 32 32 31 63 66
Toad 17 StandardKartTD.png
Standard TD
31 69 32 56 56 66
Bowser 50 StandardKartBW.png
Standard BW
75 25 32 25 56 66
Peach 23 StandardKartPC.png
Standard PC
38 55 32 44 75 66
Wario 44 StandardKartWR.png
Standard WR
69 38 32 44 44 66
Yoshi 20 StandardKartYS.png
Standard YS
44 71 32 69 38 66
Luigi 32 StandardKartLG.png
Standard LG
56 58 32 63 31 66
Dry Bones 14 StandardKartDB.png
Standard DB
25 75 32 75 44 66
Daisy 26 StandardKartDS.png
Standard DS
50 50 32 38 69 66
Waluigi 35 StandardKartWL.png
Standard WL
56 50 32 50 50 66
ROB 50 StandardKartRB.png
Standard RB
75 49 32 56 25 66
Shy Guy 20 StandardKartSG.png
Standard SG
44 71 32 69 38 66

In-game statistics

Mario Kart DS features several in-game statistics, some of which are not shown in the kart selection menu.[7] There are three types of Tires, either Small (S), Medium (M) or Large (L). Just like in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, there is a Mini-Turbo statistics that corresponds to the length of the Mini-Turbo boost in frames. Acceleration is determined by three triplets of values, that are presumably related to the acceleration while drifting and the acceleration in all other conditions; there is also a deceleration value that determines the speed of the next frame as fraction of the current speed when not accelerating (such as when the kart is spinning or the acceleration button is not being held). There are four different types of off-road terrains, and accordingly the karts have four off-road statistics that are the relative top speed in each type of terrain.

In-game statistics of Mario Kart DS
Driver Kart Tires Weight Mini-Turbo Top Speed Acceleration Deceleration Handling Drift Off-Road
Normal While Drifting
1st value 2nd value 3rd value 1st value 2nd value 3rd value Very Light Light Normal Heavy
Mario Standard MR kart_tire_M 0.5 45 7.5 0.0579 0.0239 0.7 0.0649 0.0239 0.75 0.984 0.0806 0.0537 0.9 0.7 0.5 0.3
Shooting Star kart_tire_S 0.2 51 7.523 0.0598 0.0249 0.7 0.0669 0.0249 0.75 0.984 0.0823 0.0547 0.9 0.7 0.5 0.3
B Dasher kart_tire_L 0.65 35 7.463 0.0549 0.0229 0.7 0.0608 0.0229 0.75 0.984 0.0789 0.0527 0.9 0.7 0.5 0.3
Donkey Kong Standard DK kart_tire_M 0.5 30 7.6 0.0449 0.0229 0.45 0.0669 0.0188 0.9 0.978 0.0708 0.0635 0.85 0.62 0.4 0.22
Wildlife kart_tire_S 0.35 34 7.623 0.0469 0.0239 0.45 0.0688 0.0198 0.9 0.978 0.0723 0.0647 0.85 0.62 0.4 0.22
Rambi Rider kart_tire_L 0.75 23 7.562 0.043 0.022 0.45 0.063 0.0178 0.9 0.978 0.0693 0.0623 0.85 0.62 0.4 0.22
Toad Standard TD kart_tire_M 0.5 50 7.35 0.085 0.0269 0.7 0.085 0.0278 0.75 0.988 0.0842 0.0586 0.92 0.74 0.55 0.34
Mushmellow kart_tire_S 0.25 56 7.372 0.0879 0.0278 0.7 0.0879 0.0288 0.75 0.988 0.0859 0.0598 0.92 0.74 0.55 0.34
4-Wheel Cradle kart_tire_L 0.7 39 7.313 0.0798 0.0259 0.7 0.0798 0.0259 0.75 0.988 0.0825 0.0574 0.92 0.74 0.55 0.34
Bowser Standard BW kart_tire_M 0.5 25 7.7 0.0398 0.0188 0.45 0.0588 0.0168 0.9 0.976 0.0684 0.0586 0.84 0.6 0.38 0.2
Hurricane kart_tire_S 0.45 28 7.723 0.0408 0.0198 0.45 0.0608 0.0178 0.9 0.976 0.0698 0.0598 0.84 0.6 0.38 0.2
Tyrant kart_tire_L 0.8 19 7.662 0.0378 0.0178 0.45 0.0559 0.0159 0.9 0.976 0.0669 0.0574 0.84 0.6 0.38 0.2
Peach Standard PC kart_tire_M 0.5 40 7.4 0.075 0.0298 0.45 0.1099 0.0249 0.9 0.982 0.0769 0.0732 0.88 0.67 0.46 0.27
Light Tripper kart_tire_S 0.3 45 7.422 0.0779 0.0308 0.45 0.1138 0.0259 0.9 0.982 0.0784 0.0747 0.88 0.67 0.46 0.27
Royale kart_tire_L 0.7 31 7.363 0.0708 0.0278 0.45 0.1038 0.0239 0.9 0.982 0.0754 0.0718 0.88 0.67 0.46 0.27
Wario Standard WR kart_tire_M 0.5 35 7.65 0.042 0.0188 0.7 0.0479 0.0168 0.75 0.98 0.0769 0.0488 0.86 0.64 0.43 0.24
Brute kart_tire_S 0.35 39 7.673 0.043 0.0198 0.7 0.0498 0.0178 0.75 0.98 0.0784 0.0498 0.86 0.64 0.43 0.24
Dragonfly kart_tire_L 0.75 27 7.612 0.0398 0.0178 0.7 0.0449 0.0159 0.75 0.98 0.0754 0.0479 0.86 0.64 0.43 0.24
Yoshi Standard YS kart_tire_M 0.5 60 7.45 0.095 0.0178 0.85 0.0618 0.0269 0.6 0.99 0.0928 0.0452 0.95 0.84 0.68 0.43
Egg 1 kart_tire_S 0.2 68 7.472 0.0979 0.0188 0.85 0.064 0.0278 0.6 0.99 0.0947 0.0461 0.95 0.84 0.68 0.43
Cucumber kart_tire_L 0.6 47 7.413 0.0898 0.0168 0.85 0.0588 0.0259 0.6 0.99 0.0908 0.0442 0.95 0.84 0.68 0.43
Luigi Standard LG kart_tire_M 0.5 55 7.55 0.063 0.0149 0.85 0.0488 0.0229 0.6 0.988 0.0879 0.0415 0.94 0.79 0.61 0.38
Poltergust 4000 kart_tire_S 0.25 62 7.573 0.0649 0.0159 0.85 0.0508 0.0239 0.6 0.988 0.0896 0.0422 0.94 0.79 0.61 0.38
Streamliner kart_tire_L 0.65 43 7.512 0.0598 0.0139 0.85 0.0459 0.022 0.6 0.988 0.0862 0.0408 0.94 0.79 0.61 0.38
Dry Bones Standard DB kart_tire_M 0.5 65 7.3 0.1199 0.022 0.85 0.073 0.0308 0.6 0.992 0.0977 0.0488 0.96 0.9 0.75 0.48
Dry Bomber kart_tire_S 0.4 73 7.322 0.1238 0.0229 0.85 0.0759 0.032 0.6 0.992 0.0996 0.0498 0.96 0.9 0.75 0.48
Banisher kart_tire_L 0.55 50 7.264 0.1128 0.021 0.85 0.0688 0.0288 0.6 0.992 0.0957 0.0479 0.96 0.9 0.75 0.48
Daisy Standard DS kart_tire_M 0.5 35 7.5 0.0618 0.0269 0.45 0.0898 0.022 0.9 0.98 0.0732 0.0684 0.86 0.64 0.43 0.24
Light Dancer kart_tire_S 0.3 39 7.523 0.064 0.0278 0.45 0.0928 0.0229 0.9 0.98 0.0747 0.0698 0.86 0.64 0.43 0.24
Power Flower kart_tire_L 0.55 27 7.463 0.0588 0.0259 0.45 0.085 0.021 0.9 0.98 0.0718 0.0669 0.86 0.64 0.43 0.24
Waluigi Standard WL kart_tire_M 0.5 40 7.55 0.0488 0.022 0.7 0.0559 0.0198 0.75 0.982 0.0806 0.0537 0.88 0.67 0.46 0.27
Gold Mantis kart_tire_S 0.45 45 7.573 0.0508 0.0229 0.7 0.0579 0.021 0.75 0.982 0.0823 0.0547 0.88 0.67 0.46 0.27
Zipper kart_tire_L 0.55 31 7.512 0.0459 0.021 0.7 0.053 0.0188 0.75 0.982 0.0789 0.0527 0.88 0.67 0.46 0.27
ROB Standard RB kart_tire_M 0.5 50 7.7 0.0459 0.012 0.85 0.043 0.0198 0.6 0.986 0.0842 0.0391 0.92 0.74 0.55 0.34
ROB-BLS kart_tire_S 0.38 56 7.723 0.0479 0.012 0.85 0.0449 0.021 0.6 0.986 0.0859 0.0398 0.92 0.74 0.55 0.34
ROB-LGS kart_tire_L 0.6 39 7.662 0.043 0.011 0.85 0.0408 0.0188 0.6 0.986 0.0825 0.0383 0.92 0.74 0.55 0.34
Shy Guy Standard SG kart_tire_M 0.5 60 7.45 0.095 0.0178 0.85 0.0618 0.0269 0.6 0.99 0.0928 0.0452 0.95 0.84 0.68 0.43
Battle Mode karts
Driver Kart Tires Weight Mini-Turbo Top Speed Acceleration Deceleration Handling Drift Off-Road
Normal While Drifting
1st value 2nd value 3rd value 1st value 2nd value 3rd value Very Light Light Normal Heavy
Mario Standard MR 0.5 35 7.35 0.0598 0.0149 0.8 0.0598 0.0198 0.85 0.98 0.0879 0.0635 0.9 0.7 0.5 0.3
Donkey Kong Standard DK 0.5 35 7.37 0.0508 0.0139 0.8 0.063 0.0198 0.85 0.98 0.0842 0.0659 0.85 0.62 0.4 0.22
Toad Standard TD 0.5 35 7.32 0.0659 0.0159 0.8 0.0659 0.021 0.85 0.98 0.0891 0.0647 0.92 0.74 0.55 0.34
Bowser Standard BW 0.5 35 7.39 0.0479 0.0139 0.8 0.054 0.0188 0.85 0.98 0.083 0.0647 0.84 0.6 0.38 0.2
Peach Standard PC 0.5 35 7.33 0.0598 0.0149 0.8 0.0718 0.021 0.85 0.98 0.0867 0.0684 0.88 0.67 0.46 0.27
Wario Standard WR 0.5 35 7.38 0.054 0.0139 0.8 0.054 0.0188 0.85 0.98 0.0867 0.0623 0.86 0.64 0.43 0.24
Yoshi Standard YS 0.5 35 7.34 0.0688 0.0159 0.8 0.0569 0.0198 0.85 0.98 0.0916 0.061 0.95 0.84 0.68 0.43
Luigi Standard LG 0.5 35 7.36 0.063 0.0149 0.8 0.0508 0.0188 0.85 0.98 0.0903 0.0598 0.94 0.79 0.61 0.38
Dry Bones Standard DB 0.5 35 7.31 0.0718 0.0159 0.8 0.0598 0.0198 0.85 0.98 0.0928 0.0623 0.96 0.9 0.75 0.48
Daisy Standard DS 0.5 35 7.35 0.0569 0.0149 0.8 0.0688 0.021 0.85 0.98 0.0854 0.0671 0.86 0.64 0.43 0.24
Waluigi Standard WL 0.5 35 7.36 0.0569 0.0149 0.8 0.0569 0.0198 0.85 0.98 0.0879 0.0635 0.88 0.67 0.46 0.27
ROB Standard RB 0.5 35 7.39 0.0569 0.0149 0.8 0.0479 0.0188 0.85 0.98 0.0891 0.0586 0.92 0.74 0.55 0.34
Shy Guy Standard SG 0.5 35 7.34 0.0688 0.0159 0.8 0.0569 0.0198 0.85 0.98 0.0916 0.061 0.95 0.84 0.68 0.43


Emblem maker
Emblem with Mario
The emblem maker can be used to make a variety of designs, for example this picture of Mario.

The options menu lets the player make their own emblem and name for racing throughout the game. They also have an option to make the emblem show up on the kart they are driving. Additionally, this emblem will show up next to a player's name while driving in a multiplayer or Nintendo WFC race. Other options include audio options and deleting data.


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Mario Kart DS.


For a complete list of media for this subject, see List of Mario Kart DS media.
Audio.svg Figure 8 Circuit/Mario Circuit - The main circuit theme
File infoMedia:MKDS-Music-CircuitTheme.oga
Audio.svg Waluigi Pinball/Wario Stadium - Waluigi Pinball/Wario Stadium theme
File infoMedia:MKDS-Music-WaluigiPinball.oga
Audio.svg Rainbow Road - Rainbow Road theme
File infoMedia:MKDS-Music-RainbowRoad.oga
Help:MediaHaving trouble playing?

Pre-release and unused content

Main article: List of Mario Kart DS pre-release and unused content

There were two unused items: the Chain Chomp and Bowser's Shell, although the Chain Chomp was the only one found in the item roulette. The Chain Chomp would have likely functioned the same as in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. Professor Elvin Gadd was planned to be playable and would have had the Poltergust 4000 as his kart. Birdo may have also be planned as a playable character as there is a pink version of the Egg 1 found in the data.


Main article: List of Mario Kart DS glitches

Choco Mountain boulder glitch

In Choco Mountain, if the player goes to the lake and the water splashes before they fall, the boulder should hit them. If done correctly, they should start flying. The screen will then turn black as if they fell into the water. Lakitu will then pick them up. This glitch rarely works after the first time it's performed.

Delfino Square boardwalk glitch

When the player goes up to the boardwalk that has the one item box, they must press R Button when they are on the wall. If timed correctly, the player can float on the side of the road. This will work in any mode.

Pipe Plaza Bob-omb glitch

In Pipe Plaza, if the player has a Bob-omb and drops it near one of the pipe holes, another player or a CPU should hit the Bob-omb. If done correctly, the player should go through the pipe hole and he/she will fall. Lakitu will pick the player up as usual. This can also be done with a Star, but is harder to pull off.

Luigi's Mansion Freeze glitch

To perform this glitch the player must pick the Luigi's Mansion track in any mode with any character and kart. Once the race starts, the player must then park their character on the stairs at the entrance of the mansion. After that, hold down both A Button and B Button to drift in place. If the player tries to turn, the game will sometimes freeze. This glitch was fixed on the Wii U Virtual Console release.

Mini-Spin turn item glitch

To perform this glitch, the player must drive towards an item box in any mode (battle mode is preferred) and sit themselves right in the center where it appears so that they continuously break it open when it appears again. Then, the player should hold either left or right on +Control Pad. When the item box appears again, it will break as usual, and the player will turn a very small amount in the direction pressed. Given time, so long as the player doesn't move, the player can turn all the way round in the direction pressed.


Main article: List of Mario Kart DS staff

General Producer



  • Makoto Wada
  • Yasuyuki Oyagi

Mission-Run Mode Director

  • Kimiharu Hyodo

Wi-Fi Mode Director

  • Katsuhito Nishimura


  • Shinya Hiratake
  • Taku Matoba

Programming Director

  • Katsuhisa Sato

System Programming

  • Yusuke Shiraiwa


Mario Kart DS received critical acclaim. It currently maintains a 9.2 average at Gamestats, the highest score for a Nintendo DS game on the site (as of December 2006).

Gamespy reviewer Bryn Williams said that online, Nintendo "trimmed it back a little too much for my liking", but was certain that "Even with a few online flaws, this is the best Mario Kart ever." With a rank of 5 out of 5 and describing the multiplayer experience as "great".

GameSpot reviewer Justin Calvert had similar quips with the online feature: "Whether these opponents were leaving voluntarily or because of network problems is anybody's guess, but it's equally irritating either way." He finished up similarly by saying "Mario Kart DS is without a doubt one of the best games to hit the Nintendo DS to date." Mario Kart DS received a score of 9.2 out of 10 and was regarded as GameSpot's Editor's Choice and DS game of the year.

IGN has given an overall score of 9.5 out of 10, granting the game the IGN Editor's Choice Award and DS game of the year. Reviewer Craig Harris commented that "it's just hard to ignore just how limited the online presentation is.", but ended the review with this: "The only way to finish this review is just to say it: this is the greatest Mario Kart game ever developed, and is without a doubt the best DS game of 2005."

Release Reviewer, Publication Score Verdict
Nintendo DS Bryn Williams, Gamespy 5/5 "In the end, it really boils down to this. If you're a fan of Nintendo, racing games, and want some of the best digital excitement 2005 has to offer, you need to get Mario Kart DS. The online shortcomings are annoying, yes, but very minor, and they are more than made up for by the amazing single-player content and local WiFi gameplay. If you absolutely hate, hate, hate karting games, then fair enough. Just be sure to book that next appointment with your shrink to figure out why that is."
Nintendo DS Justin Calvert , GameSpot 9.2/10 "Mario Kart DS is without a doubt one of the best games to hit the Nintendo DS to date. The game plays every bit as well as any of its predecessors, and adds just enough new features to the mix to make it worthy of your attention, even if you're still playing any of those games on a regular basis. The online play is undoubtedly the icing on an especially yummy cake, and even if you're not in a position to sample said icing, a yummy cake without icing is still a yummy cake."
Nintendo DS Craig Harris, IGN 9.5/10 "After experiencing Mario Kart DS, it's hard to imagine how Nintendo's going to improve on what they've done for this stunning portable rendition. There's so much gameplay and depth in this design, moreso than the series has ever had in the past. It's an amazingly addictive racer both in single and multiplayer modes, and even with the limitations of the online functions, it's impossible to avoid becoming addicted to the long distance Mario Kart match-ups. The only way to finish this review is just to say it: this is the greatest Mario Kart game ever developed, and is without a doubt the best DS game of 2005."
Nintendo DS Jeremy Parish, 1UP 8.7/10 "Everything about MKDS comes together into a surprisingly compelling package, a portable racing game on par with anything ever to appear on a console. Even for a skeptic like me. Like the victor of a tough kart race, MKDS has come from behind against steep odds to snatch the gold from the clutches of cynicism."
Compiler Platform / Score
Metacritic 91
GameRankings 91.43%


Mario Kart DS is the 3rd best selling game for the Nintendo DS, selling 23.56 million copies worldwide.

Notable mistakes and errors

  • The instruction booklet for earlier versions of this game makes an error in page 9. "Perform" is misspelled as "perfprm". This was fixed in later releases of the booklet.
  • On page 12, the text of Blooper states, "Sprays ink on the all of the karts in front of you,...", where there is an extra "the" in between "on" and "all". This was not fixed in later releases of the booklet, however.

References to other games

References in later games

Names in other languages

Language Name Meaning
Japanese マリオカートDS
Mario Kāto DS
Mario Kart DS
Spanish Mario Kart DS -
French Mario Kart DS -
German Mario Kart DS -
Italian Mario Kart DS -
Korean 마리오 카트 DS
Mario Kateu DS
Mario Kart DS
Chinese 瑪利歐賽車DS
Mǎlìōu Sàichē DS
Mario Racing DS


  • This and Mario Kart Tour are the only Mario Kart games where Lakitu does not start the matches off as a referee.
  • If the game is played on the original DS, Mario says, "Yahoo!" on the Nintendo logo screen but if it is played on the DS Lite, DSi, 3DS, or Wii U, he says, "Here we go!"[8]
  • Mario Kart DS is one of the few Nintendo DS games with a "Language Block", meaning that the in-game language (except Japanese) is the same as the Nintendo DS system's. Japanese is the only language available for Mario Kart DS releases in Japan.


  1. ^ Point System for 5 Players.
  2. ^ Point System for 6 Players.
  3. ^ Point System for 7 Players.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ A transcription of the in-game statistics of Mario Kart DS. The values used to fill the bars in the kart selection screen are found in the kartmenuparam and charmenuparam sections.
  7. ^ A transcription of the in-game statistics of Mario Kart DS. Please note that due to the 16-bit Fixed Point format used by the game, rational numbers are shown as integers that must be divided by 4096.
  8. ^ Mario Kart DS (Wii U) - 150cc - Grand Prix: All Cups & End Credits (1080p60fps) YouTube. Retrieved October 11, 2015

External links

Mario Kart DS coverage on other NIWA wikis: