As a lover of all things pinball, Waluigi’s debut stage was a real treat, shrinking the racers down to miniature size to speed through a gargantuan pinball playing field. With an aesthetic reminiscent of glitzy casinos, pachinko machines, and rainbow boost tunnels, this took all my favorite feature of Wario Stadium levels and supercharged them. The massive metal spheres rolling around the level would crush any kart in their way, turning otherwise-simple powerslides into white-knuckle games of chicken. Knocking someone into the pinball’s path was devilishly satisfying each and every time.
But what really stands out in my mind is the final leg of the race, as you plummet towards the table’s flippers. Each bumper bounced the pinballs in every direction, and if you weren’t careful, the green-electricity flippers could send you flying back through the pack, effectively ruining your time. The best touch? The “ball lost” draining sound that plays when you successfully pass through the flippers, as if you were an errant pinball that Waluigi couldn’t keep in play.