I have played every Mario Kart game since the Nintendo 64 and have loved all of them. When I heard they were bringing out a new one I was excited, but that excitement turned into disappointment after playing for a while. I will mention some of the more minor annoyances before hitting the major ones.
The older games brought in a wide variety of characters that are well known from the Mario universe but this one brought the bottom of the barrel with Honey Queen, Wiggler, Metal Mario and Lakitu. There are better characters to bust out than these.
The only playable options for single players are the Grand Prix and Time Trial. You no longer have a free play option. I guess they don’t want you to replay this game.
The courses are way too easy to work with. Not much of a challenge or in length. Some are divided into sections not laps and Rainbow Road is one of them. To me Rainbow Road is supposed to be the ultimate trial. Long course with some difficulty. Not a short sweet walk in the park.
While those last two can be overlooked by some newer players, I am annoyed by them because of my past Mario Kart experiences.
Some major problems are as follows. The item distribution throughout the race is awful. The first two laps have the last place AIs getting items that belong to first of second place holders. Last lap hits and they bust out Bullet Bills, Lightning, and (what seems to be) a never ending supply of blue shells.
The idea of aerial parts is interesting but problematic. With some courses, such as Airship Fortress or Maple Treeway, there are parts where a cannon launched you and you are airborne. In the past games you had immunity or had someplace to land. Now a lightning strike hits and down you go and places you will lose.
All in all, the game is okay but it feels like they hit the brakes and went into reverse. Is it a keeper? No, only if you want to add to your Mario Kart Collection.
I give it a 6 out of 10.