Racing games fall into two basic genres — kart games and simulators, and only one genre can qualify for our list of the 8 Best Racing Game Power-Ups. While racing sims try to emulate the feeling of real racing as closely as possible, kart games throw that nonsense out the window in favor of making things fun. One of the most notable ways that kart racers can up the fun factor is with power-ups — those little floating items found on every track which grant any who touch them untold power. Each game has their own hierarchy of useful and not-so-useful items, so let’s smash them all together to compare which power-ups pack the most power in our list of the 8 Best Racing Game Power-Ups!
Mushroom- Mario Kart series.
If you need to go faster, this’ll do the trick. Simple, effective, and to the point.
Hornets- Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing Transformed.
It’s hard to find a more solid tactic than bees to the face.
The Lightning Bolt- Mario Kart series.
Like Zeus, you strike from high; with a mighty peal of thunder your foes are wrought asunder. Mario Kart’s lightning bolt strikes pretty much every player in the race, shrinking them down into wee little versions of themselves only capable of wee little speeds. They’re slower, less maneuverable, and ripe for getting flattened.
All-Star Medal- Sonic & Sega All Stars Racing Transformed.
Grants character-specific power-ups which vary in usefulness and awesomeness. Sonic’s is arguably the best, since it turns him into friggin’ Hyper Sonic.
Magnetic Balloon- Diddy Kong Racing.
These magnetized balloons are an invaluable part of any racer’s arsenal, letting you manipulate other racers in ways that would make Xorn blush. It’s just a shame that more kart racing games don’t include similar items.
Blue Shell- Mario Kart series.
This cerulean shell helps even the odds by smacking the first-place player down a few pegs. Sure, it’s obnoxious when you’re the one in first, but for everyone else it’s a godsend, and it helps keep things close so each race is more exciting.
Peach’s Heart Shield- Mario Kart Double Dash.
Not only does this power-up protect you from a single hit, it gives you the weapon that would have hit you and lets you use it against your opponent. As Peach would say, “Sa-weet!”
Invincibility Star- Mario Kart series.
This bad boy gives you pretty much everything you could ever need. It turns you invincible, makes you go faster, allows you to wreck any player who makes the foolish decision to touch you, and has that sweet invincibility tune going while active.