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If players lose all of their balloons, they are eliminated. Players can race and battle online, alone, or with another player.
This feature is heavily emphasized, with anti-gravity sections being present in every map, including old maps in Retro Cups.
The Koopalings, consisting of Larry, Morton, Wendy, Iggy, Roy, Lemmy and Ludwig also become playable for the first time.
Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach, Link, Villager, Isabelle, and Dry Bowser are DLC characters, from the Legend of Zelda x Mario Kart and Animal Crossing x Mario Kart packs respectively.
The only playable battle mode is Balloon Battle, making this game the first game since Super Mario Kart to feature only one battle mode.
The Crazy Eight is very similar to the Lucky 7, adding only a coin item to the seven items that circle around the kart.