Dry Bones Kart 8 is the eighth installment in the Dry Bones Kart series released for the Wii U. It came out on May 15, 2017 for Japan, May 26, 2017 for Europe, June 15, 2017 for North America, and is set to come out on July 14, 2017 for Australia. Elements from Dry Bones Kart Wii and Dry Bones Kart 7 are reused, such as 16-racer fields, motorbikes, half pipes, and 2-Player online from Dry Bones Kart Wii; and gliding, underwater driving, and kart customizing from Dry Bones Kart 7. In addition, ATVs join the returning karts and bikes as a new class of vehicle.
The gameplay maintains the traditional elements of previous Dry Bones Kart games, mostly from the two recent installments on the Wii and Nintendo 3DS respectively. Players pick a character of three weight classes and drive vehicles of varying stats, strengths, and weaknesses around an obstacle course-like racetrack, in an attempt to finish first of the sixteen racers, the number of racers used in Dry Bones Kart Wii.During the race, racers can pick up items from Item Boxes, where the probability of receiving items is dependent on the racers' placement; for example, first place typically receives defense items such as Banana Peels and Green Shells, while racers in 6th to 12th from the lead receive more powerful offense items such as Spiny Bombshells and POW Blocks and racers near 16th place receive items that lead to an increase in speed or the possibility of going off-road without losing speed, such as the Starman or Bullet Bill, to help compensate their distance. Players receive an amount of points depending on the position they end up with. Whichever player has the most amount of points wins the entire race.
Karts, which feature similar designs from Dry Bones Kart 7, can be customized once again, alongside the returning bikes, which handle similar to the karts now and can only perform a wheelie via a boost, and the newly introduced ATVs. The hang-glider and underwater mechanics also return from Dry Bones Kart 7, as well as Coins, with the player being able to collect up to ten in one race. Tricks and the ability to look behind also return in this game.
The newest feature for the series is anti-gravitational segments that not only allow for more dynamic track design, but also for racers to drive across walls, ceilings, and other seemingly unusual places. When in anti-gravity, if a racer bumps into another racer, the kart spins rather than just bumping and both racers receive a speed boost. This is called "spin boosting.
Inside drifting bikes from Dry Bones Kart Wii return also in this game and, unlike all other vehicles, their drifting has the bikers leaning instead, which leads to them losing less speed, but having a lower turning capability with respect to karts and outside drifting bikes, the latter being a feature seen in Dry Bones Kart Wii as well. Like in Dry Bones Kart 7, the automatic drifting returns and is activated by steering in a direction for a certain amount of time, with a turning capability that, unless a Wii Remote without motion controls is used, matches the one while drifting (and even surpasses that in the case of inside drifting bikes) and the addition of the ability to slowly charge Mini-Turbo and Super Mini-Turbo boosts.
The game also features Wii U GamePad integration. In addition to the standard Off-TV Play, players also have the option of displaying the course map, and when neither the television gameplay nor the map are being displayed, the GamePad can be used as a horn button. Players have the option to toggle between these features at will. The GamePad can also be used to toggle on and off the gyroscopic steering, and in its default display and when displaying the map the GamePad also displays the current rankings.
There is also Miiverse integration, which allows players to share their replay videos and comment on others' videos, in a feature called Dry Bones Kart TV. Another change is that in 2-player mode, the screen splits vertically instead of the horizontally in the other console Mario Kart games, a feature that was originally intended to be in Dry Bones Kart 64 but was removed from the final game. Additionally, if the player falls off the edge of the track, Lakitu will pick them up and drop them back on to the track more quickly when compared to how he did this in past installments. This makes glitches involving falling into areas impossible.
Dry Bones Kart 8's Grand Prix works similar to past installments. Like past games the 50cc, 100cc, and 150cc engine classes are available by default, and completing 150cc unlocks Mirror; for the former three, however, Grand Prix rankings carry over to the lower engine classes after being completed on a higher engine class. In addition, and for the first time in the series, a 200cc engine class has been added as of the version 4.0 update, which is available by default alongside Mirror as of version 4.1. Players choose a cup, which takes them through four consecutive races of set order in that cup. Only the Mushroom and Shell Cups (and the DLC cups) are available at the start of the game, with the others being unlocked after completing the cup before, and are available in every engine class after being unlocked. Players now have the option to do a multiplayer Grand Prix up to four players, unlike in most previous home console Dry Bones Kart games, where only up to two players can race in Grand Prix.
Time Trial mode lets the player complete a selected course in the fastest time possible. Among the other features, in addition to viewing ghost data, players can upload their own ghost data onto Miiverse, which other players can download and comment on. In addition, beating one of Nintendo's Staff Ghosts in a race earns the player a stamp based on the course they raced on which they can use in Miiverse posts. Leaderboards as seen in Mario Kart Wii also return.
VS mode can be played locally with up to four players. Players can set rules like which items appear, the difficulty level of the CPUs, how many races, and Team or Solo racing. Players can also set how the courses appear, choose a course after one is finished, or play all tracks randomly or in order. In this game, Mirror Mode appears as a default engine class, even if it isn't unlocked in Grand Prix. The point system is the same as the Grand Prix.
Balloon Battle: The classic mode where players use items to pop opponents' balloons or steal them in order to score points. This mode now uses the point-based set-up seen in Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7, rather than the last man standing set-up of Super Mario Kart-Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart 8.
Coin Runners: Originating in Dry Bones Kart Wii, this mode returns in Dry Bones Kart 8. Players must collect Coins scattered across the course in order to have the most by the end of the match. Plays more akin to the Dry Bones Kart Wii version of the mode, with players having no limit to the amount of coins they can collect, as opposed to the 10-coin limit in the Dry Bones Kart 7 version.
POW Block Frenzy: A new mode that is similar to Bob-omb Blast, in which players attack one another using POW Blocks to score points and can carry up to 10 POW Blocks. This version follows all of the same rules as Coin Runners, the difference being that every Item Box gives the player one POW Block, and Double Item Boxes yield two POW Blocks.
Causes all opponents on the ground in front of the user to spin out and drop their items if used. Players can get a midler version by pressing the tricks button. Players will also avoid the POW Block by being in the air.