Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review

Pablo Tucker
April 20, 2017

Given the inherently social nature of the Switch, with its built in multiplayer, that amount of content straight off is actually quite a selling point. Surely, even the painstakingly perfectionist Nintendo could have worked on a full sequel in that time, and hit the ground running with a full fledged Mario Kart 9?

While the Switch's portability allows you to play Mario Kart 8 on the go, which is an undeniable boon - and perhaps the best fit for the franchise ever - the fact that Nintendo hasn't added any new circuits is disappointing.

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The only other changes I noticed between the Deluxe edition and the original were the addition of a "smart" steering feature for younger players who may have trouble keeping their karts on the track, and, on the other side of the difficulty curve, a surprisingly challenging 200cc mode that saw both my daughter and I coming in dead last in nearly every race.

The release for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is next Friday, April 28, so Nintendo is getting a jump on that release by releasing a new trailer for the game.

A large roster of characters, kart options and stages makes Mario Kart 8 Deluxe feel huge and worth the time whether you're a Mario Kart fan or not.

I'm leading off with this because it's the best part of the Mario Kart 8 re-release for me, someone who already thoroughly enjoyed the gravity-bending antics of the 2014 Wii U original. You'll have 42 playable characters, 12 Cups to battle through in the Grand Prix mode, and 48 exquisitely designed tracks, making the package a tantalising prospect for fans and families alike. This'll let us see how easy it is to pair up with friends either at home or when you're out and about on the move.

While we are talking numbers, there are more than 40 characters to select your racer from.

New characters include Dry Bones, Bowser Jr., King Boo and Inklings from Splatoon. Battle Mode alone is a great addition that adds a whole new level of strategy while offering hours more of gameplay whether you're playing alone or with friends. That sees the mode completed re-tuned, now with eight battle arenas thrown into the mix - namely being Battle Stadium, Sweet Sweet Kingdom, Dragon Palace, Lunar Colony, Wuhu Town (3DS), Luigi's Mansion (GameCube), Battle Course 1 (SNES) and Urchin Underpass.

But, don't bring too many. unless they have their own Switches. It's the best Mario Kart there has ever been - an unbelievably high watermark for a series this esteemed - and the ability to play it on-the-go is more than just novel.

Naturally, it all comes alive in multiplayer. We recommend multiple Pro controllers, or grip controllers, if you have the option, and you should send off your JoyCon for Nintendo's free fix if you can. I haven't encountered any issues with matchmaking or races, even if my driving skills aren't yet strong enough to lead Baby Luigi to victory.

And then, in local multiplayer, Nintendo Switch enters its own.

Is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe any good?

What is really gratifying about Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is that it contains more than we expected. While Auto-accelerate is self-explanatory, Smart Steering proves jarring. There were no Battle-specific tracks on the Wii U, and there was just one game where you popped your opponents' balloons with attacks.

Nintendo's decision to port a few of Wii U's most popular and beloved games to the now content-deprived Switch - which, at the moment, is functioning as little more than an expensive Zelda box for most people - was inevitable. Far more responsive due to the improved tech housed in the Joy-Con, it may even be enough to convert those with an aversion to motion controls.

Now, there are five different games in Battle Mode: Balloon Battle (starting with five balloons instead of the typical three), Bob-omb Blast (same as Balloon Battle, but only with Bob-ombs), Shine Thief (capturing the Shine Sprite and attempting to hold it until the clock runs out), Coins Runners (collecting more coins than anyone else) and Renegade Round Up (Cops and Robbers, but for Mario Kart).

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