Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Developed By : Nintendo
Published By : Nintendo
Category : Racing, Multiplayer
Release Date : Apr 28, 2017
A little over three years after it’s release on the Wii U, Mario Kart 8 made its way to the Switch in a Deluxe edition. What’s so deluxe about it? The Wii U version saw a couple packs of DLC featuring new courses to race on and some new racers, and those come along freely for the ride. Additionally, a revamped Battle Mode is added into the game giving players the one thing that was missing from the previous iteration.
Now, there’s no real story here as to why you’re racing. You’re just out to show that you’re the best in the Mushroom Kingdom behind a wheel. To prove this, you’ll be setting off against eleven other racers on a total of 48 courses which are split up between 12 different cups. After each race in a cup, points are awarded based on how you finish, and the three people with the most points will be invited up to the podium to receive a bronze, silver, and gold championship cup.
During the races you have access to the usual plethora of items that can help you in various ways. Mushrooms will give you temporary speed boosts, red shells can seek out opponents to knock them out. Lightning bolts will wipe out and shrink the whole field of racers, letting you (ideally) make up some time. Bullet Bill’s will transform you into the namesake for a little while and automatically fire up the track. In addition to these, Mario Kart 8 sees four brand new items, as in new to the game originally, not in its Switch Deluxe edition. These are the boomerang, which can be tossed out three times, the first two returning to you. A piranha plant can sit on the front of your kart and bite out, either picking up coins, eating bananas so you don’t slide on them, or snacking on opponents. The superhorn omits a small shockwave-type ring that can either wipe out anyone close to you or potentially save you from something headed your way. Lastly, you get the Crazy 8 and this thing is awesome. It will generate eight of the games twenty items, giving you one of each to use. Fans who played MK7 on the 3DS will recognize this, as it’s just an “8” version of the Lucky 7.
Now, typically in a Mario Kart game, the player is left with a lot of work to do. Only some tracks and racers will be available, requiring you to win the cups to unlock them. However, the Deluxe version doesn’t do any of that. All but one of the 42 characters are usable from the get go, as are all of the courses to race on. Some of these characters are brand new for this version though, such as King Boo, Dry Bones, Bowser Jr, and the Inklings from Splatoon.
That doesn’t mean there’s no rewards though. There are a ton of vehicle customization items that can be unlocked, and the easiest way to differentiate it is this. If the customization part was included in any of the games DLC in its Wii U version, it’s instantly available in this one. If it was burned into the game as an unlockable before, you still have to earn it now by collecting coins in the races.
In the end…this is a Mario Kart title, it’s going to be amazing. The game is playable in any of the consoles play modes, and surprisingly each one is a lot of fun including playing with a joy-con on it’s side. Eliminating the need to unlock everything could be a downside for some players, as it takes away the feeling of being rewarded for what you’re doing. Like I mentioned above, there’s only one character to unlock, and it’s not even a full character, rather a color variation on one you already have.
What saves this game, though, is it’s Battle Mode inclusion. Aside from the racing, it’s been a staple in these games since the Nintendo 64 days, and not having it on the previous generation was quite upsetting. I mean, sure you can still duke it out on the tracks with your buddies, but it’s more fun in a closed off arena and no AI getting in the way. Overall, it’s not a brand new full-blown Mario Kart release, but it’s still welcome on the Switch. Having the Battle Mode definitely makes this Deluxe version feel complete, so even if you have this on the Wii U, don’t miss out on getting the Switch version as well.