With eight games in the series, chances are that you and everyone you know has played Mario Kart at some point. Ever since the original game was released back in 1992, Mario Kart has become an iconic racer that all other racing games aspire to be. With each release, new and exciting features are added in that make a game that you already thought was perfect even better.
When ‘Mario Kart 8’ was released exclusively for the Wii U back in 2014, the world basked in it’s near perfection, stunning graphics and addictive gameplay. It was hailed as the best in the series. Fast forward to 2017 and the Wii U racer has been given an update for the Nintendo Switch. And it’s even better. Find out how in m review of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
The original Mario Kart 8 started with 32 courses available and a further 16 courses available to purchase as DLC. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe comes with all 48 tracks as standard so you really are spoiled for choice. The new tracks are all pretty superb without a dud in sight. ‘Water Park’ has you racing around a submerged theme park, ‘Cloudtop Cruise’ has you taking to the skies while ‘Hyrule Circuit’ has you racing around Hyrule Castle and the world of Zelda. Of all the new tracks Cloudtop Cruise is the best one for me, it’s unmistakably Mario and reminds me of the Super Mario Galaxy games.
Of the retro tracks, it’s a good mix of returning courses from the Nintendo DS’ ‘Cheep Cheep Beach’ to the brilliant ‘Toad’s Turnpike’ from the Nintendo 64. All of these tracks have been updated to include the new feature of Mario Kart 8 – anti-gravity. No longer are you restricted to the one route. Want to drive on the walls or ceiling? Go for it. Even after years of playing the original, I’m still finding new ways to play with this excellent feature. If you’ve never played Mario Kart 8 before then you are absolutely in for a treat. If you have then it’s great to return to this game with it’s improved graphics and play it anywhere with the Nintendo Switches unique features.
The number of playable characters in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is also at the highest it’s ever been. All the classic characters like Mario, Peach and Bowser are all there. A great addition for me was the inclusion of all of the Koopa Kids including Ludwig, Roy and Wendy. And Bowser Junior of course! Inkling Girl and Boy are the two new characters added exclusively to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. They are both light characters so will be ideal if you like racing with lighter racers such as Yoshi and Link.
Vehicle customisation is back again and remains to be a great addition to the Mario Kart franchise. I really like being able to choose different tyres for my vehicles to give me better steering during races. For those of you who have unlocked everything in Mario Kart 8 for Wii U, sorry guys but you’ll need to unlock it all again!
Of course it wouldn’t be Mario Kart without all the crazy weapons you can use on your opponents. All of the classics are here including the green shell, banana peel and the dreaded blue shell. Two new weapons have been added and are making a return from previous entries. Boo has returned to steal weapons from your opponents. It’s great if someone has a good weapon but so irritating if you’re about to use your power-up only for someone to steal it. The second new item is the feather which was first featured in the very first Mario Kart. It’s exclusive to Battle Mode and allows you to leap into the air. It’s handy if you’re in a tight squeeze and need to avoid a dreaded red shell.
As always, the single player mode has a range of difficulties starting from 50cc right up to 200c. There’s also ‘Time Trial’, ‘Versus’ and ‘Battle Mode’. Playing with friends is always great fun with Mario Kart and especially great that you automatically have two remotes with your Nintendo Switch. Each joy-con acts as a controller! But for me, it’s ‘Online Play’ where the real fun is. Race against other users from across the globe or take them on in the all new ‘Battle Mode’ exclusive to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. All tracks are playable online and you can filter who you play with whether it be global, regional or from your friends list. Just don’t rage quit!
With Battle Mode, it’s safe to say that the Wii U version was a bit of a letdown. But for the Switch version, the classic maps plus some brilliant new ones have been added. ‘Balloon Battle’ is back and as chaotic as ever as is ‘Coin Rush’ which sees you try to collect as many coins as possible before time runs out. There’s also ‘Shine Thief’ which sees you battle for the Shine to see who can hold onto it for the longest. And then there’s the newest game – ‘Renegade Roundup’. It’s essentially a cops and robbers style game with you split into two teams with the aim of one team to capture and arrest the others while the others try to free their teammates from captivity. It’s actually quite difficult and I found myself being caught super quick. It’s addictive though.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the ultimate Mario Kart game. It takes everything that made all the other games so great and builds on it. The inclusion of double weapons is a great new feature and the improved Battle Mode is great fun. My only concern is that as someone who played Mario Kart 8 extensively on the Wii U, I’m not sure there is enough here to keep me playing for as long as I usually would. Perhaps some new tracks via DLC could give the game a little bit of extra life for those of us who owned the original. That being said, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is flawless. The visuals are stunning, the maps are the best in the series and being able to play HD quality Mario Kart anywhere makes this an essential purchase. Go and buy a Nintendo Switch right now.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is available to buy now exclusively on Nintendo Switch.