[Review] Mario Kart 8 Deluxe - Nintendo Everything

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[Review] Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Posted on April 20, 2017 by (@LyonHart_) in Reviews, Switch

System: Switch
Release date: April 28, 2017
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher Nintendo

Two years ago, I wrote an article on my relationship with Mario Kart and how Mario Kart 8 revitalized the series. In making that game, Nintendo reignited the magic I used to feel towards the franchise during the N64 and GameCube days. Mario Kart 8 shed a whole new light on kart racers and the potential they had at a time where most felt stale or rehashed, with Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed being the new “king” of that genre before Mario Kart 8 returned to reclaim. Now in 2017, we’re back with the definitive version of one of Wii U’s best titles on its successor, the Nintendo Switch, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It’s as extravagant and beautiful as it was on Wii U, but this time with a revamped battle mode, all DLC included, a few new features, and plenty to love all over again.

Despite the familiarity having spent so much time on Wii U, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe feels new again given its small touch-ups and new ways of playing with the Switch giving the option of portability, multiple controller support including each Joy-Con being used separately, and a few all new characters and items. With the DLC from Wii U now included, unlocking content is relatively straightforward. Every 30 coins that you collect cumulatively throughout all races will unlock a new vehicle customization item. The entire roster of characters are mostly unlocked from the start – DLC characters such as Link and Animal Crossing, as well as newcomers like King Boo and the Inklings – and getting 30 coins is relatively easy as most will be able to do this probably within the first race of the typical four per cup, so building up your arsenal of motor vehicle mayhem shouldn’t take too long.

When you’re out on the racetrack and your Switch happens to be docked, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe presents itself in a stunning 1080p image running at 60 frames per second that brings to life Nintendo characters like never before. While those who played a hefty amount of the Wii U version will probably feel comfortable jumping back in, the inclusion of new items such as Boo (which steals your items) and the feather (which causes a super jump as if you were hopping off of a ramp in battle mode) plus the pink boost while drifting will have players rethinking their strategy while racing.

The big addition advertised with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is its brand new battle mode, which was its most lacking feature in the Wii U original. Battle mode has always been beloved by fans since the beginning, and was undoubtedly a highlight with most large gatherings thanks to its unpredictable and frenetic game modes, but in Mario Kart 8, it had been restricted to courses meant to be driven on rather than dedicated arenas where players would do their best to survive. With only so many characters occupying the battle mode and such large tracks to play in, it was difficult to ever find anyone, and most people would just go in circles anyways.

Now with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, battle mode has been brought back to its rightful glory and has plenty of modes to choose from and a nice selection of dedicated arenas. The maps are insanely fun and just the right size, and with modes like Bomb Blast, where the objective is to gather as many bombs as possible and throw them at your opponent, and Shine Thief, a fancy alternative take on capture the flag where players try to obtain Super Mario Sunshine’s shine sprite and hold on to it as long as possible, these are undoubtedly going to take a whole bunch of hours from everyone’s days as they duke it out at home locally, on the go, and online. Renegade Roundup is also appearing for the first time in which one team tries to capture the other and put them into jail before time runs out. The new battle mode is a welcome addition, and those who felt betrayed by what was in Mario Kart 8 on Wii U will be happy to know that this was well worth the wait, and possibly the best iteration of it that’s been implemented so far throughout the series.

Those ready to take the world by storm will be happy to know that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has an incredibly smooth online mode that is just as clean and user-friendly as it was on Wii U – but now with added features. A great thing about Mario Kart 8 Deluxe missing from the Wii U version was the inability to change your character or setup unless you exited out entirely and started over again. This would get frustrating, especially when playing with friends, so now being able to do so between each race is a welcome feature that is sure to be used by many. This no longer makes the gameplay disruptive, and allows for a more fluid and seamless multiplayer experience.

The only small gripe with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, with everything else it’s gotten so right with polishing and new features, is that its new drive and acceleration assist, which may help some, feels a little unnecessary. There’s a point when accessibility and hand-holding are no longer either of those things and simply become you doing nothing but still wanting to take the credit for it. By turning these options on either in the selection menu before a race or pause menu mid-race, the game will actually help you with turning and acceleration. The thing is, you can actually just set the controller down and “you” will race on all “your” own. I’m sure there are some that will find it helpful – mainly the auto correction so you don’t fall off the road – but these aren’t so much training wheels as they are just completely invalidating anything that you do. This is especially true when, with those options on, you can obtain three stars on 50cc without ever having to touch the controller. You can even do rather well in 100cc and 150cc, too.

As someone who absolutely adores Mario Kart 8 and spent more time on it than most would like to admit, I am beyond happy to see Mario Kart 8 Deluxe return on the Nintendo Switch. Not only is this a great fit for it with all its extra content and inclusion of previous DLC, but now having the ability to play both at home and on the go while having it look and run just as well is truly a beautiful thing. If you have other friends who own a Switch, you can play locally together outside, or for those that haven’t been able to grab one yet, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe features single Joy-Con support, so simply hand one side over to your buddy and you’re ready to go. After a month and a half of Breath of the Wild and some great indie titles in between, Nintendo’s next big hit, albeit an updated port, is ready to take over your life and give new life to such a fantastic entry in the long running series. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe deserves to be on everyone’s Switch, and if you have friends and a solid internet connection, the game will undoubtedly provide hours and hours of content and fun to last you until the next big thing comes out. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe isn’t just definitive – it’s refreshing, beautiful, and familiar all while taking the spotlight once again.

The Verdict

thumbs up review

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe brings over one of the Wii U’s best titles to the Switch in a package that feels as full as it is refreshing. For those who may have skipped over the Wii U because they didn’t own one or never got around to it and now are proud Switch owners, this is a title that everyone is going to want in their library to finally get a chance to play – and rightfully so – at home or on the go. The ability to be able to play anywhere at anytime and with anyone else makes Mario Kart 8 Deluxe an even bigger and more fun multiplayer experience than it already was back on Wii U. With the simplicity of the controls, the gorgeousness of the graphics, the vibrant colors, stellar soundtrack, a much needed revamp to its battle mode, and an even bigger roster, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a truely definitive experience and well worth throwing down the money for it all over again. For a game that’s technically turning three years old this year, it feels brand new again.

Leave a Reply

  • Billy Bob Throrton

    so 6am was the embargo huh

  • Brii-Nanas

    For the critique of the drive assist… Well, simply put, it’s not for you.

    It’s for my four year old nephew who really wants to play but can’t keep up with the older kids and adults, who constantly falls off edges and crashes into walls and has to ask someone to help him turn around when he gets turned around. Sure there are items that help those in last place, but they can only do so much for a kid that’s flying off Rainbow Road on every turn. I doubt the assist will suddenly make him a champ, and most people good at the game are probably more efficient and know the tricks so the assist is irrelevant.

    • Kenshin0011

      I was about to comment the same thing, this is meant for very young aged children so they can actually play the game somewhat right along an adult without feeling totally inadequate.

      • Evan Gustavson

        Isn’t this game Rated E?
        A 4 Y.O. shouldn’t be playing this, they should be playing E/C games.
        Though I don’t think I’ve ever actually SEEN a game rated appropriate for Early Childhood.

        • Kalmaro

          Isn’t E for everyone?

    • JasonBall

      Watch out for Vigilante. 😉

    • ForeVision

      Not to mention that it cannot be used when playing online, so it cannot be abused thankfully.

    • Or you could just make him believe he’s controlling your character like most people do

    • It’s also perfect for my 8 year old daughter who is great with puzzle games and RPGs, but struggles with anything action. Now she can just relax, have fun, pick her “cute” cars, and feel like she’s contributing to the race

  • How odd I don’t see any option to change characters or options between races. Still boots me out to the main menu when I quit a game, and doesn’t after me a change character option

  • Portability is the main reason I’m looking forward for this. When MK7 came out, I played it to the bits and exhaustion, because it was ready to play wherever. Mario Kart 8, despite being a more refined game and with lots to do, I played about 40% of it because it was tied up to my room when, due to work demands and life itself, I was anywhere but at home with free time. Now I can fully play it, again. And for that, Switch is already the best gaming system out there for me.

  • ibo

    lol again with the thumbs up Xd no $hIt it was gonna be a thumbs up… this is why a number system is better because you can be a bit more specific on how good of a game it is….. the who thumbs upa dn down thing is so PC culture

    • Tlink7

      Numbers don’t really offer much more nuance when it comes to video game ratings… something is either good or bad – bad being basically below 75, as stupid as it is. Might as well just go for ”bad, meh, good” ratings

      This has nothing to do with ”PC culture”, go back to sucking the banana of the big right-winger of whatever country you reside in 😛 (I have a feeling I should have used a more orange fruit in your case though… :3)

  • MagcargoMan

    Pretty expected that it’d get a thumbs up; it’s Mario Kart 8 with all the DLC and more content. Kinda hard for that to be worse than the Wii U version.

    I wouldn’t saw battle mode has been brought back to its rightful glory though. From what I’ve seen (unless they have it as an option) the Balloon Battle is like MK7’s where there is no last man standing and is instead about how many balloons you’ve made people lose. So we still haven’t had proper Balloon Battle in a Mario Kart game since Mario Kart DS.

    Also, I don’t really see the criticism about the assist features. They are clearly in the game to help young children (I’m talking like age 4 to 6 here) who would drive straight into walls a lot. GameXplain did a video on it and showed it play itself and it wasn’t just some “auto-win” feature, as it turns corners horribly and can’t use items. If they forced the assist into the game and players had to use it then it would be right to criticise the feature.

  • Hermione Granger

    i played it on the wiiu and it sucked, best driver game my butt!

    • Tlink7

      Kart game*
      And maybe you should swap one of those ”it”s for ”I” 😛

      • hi v3.0

        REKT lol

    • MagcargoMan

      Salty they wouldn’t let you use a broomstick, Hermoine?

  • Tlink7

    The Bomb-omb blast mode gives me Double Nostalgia!!

    • MagcargoMan

      Is it as good as it was on the GameCube? That mode was great!

      • Tlink7

        I’ve yet to play it unfortunately :C only seen the footage. I absolutely *loved* it on the GameCube though, nothing quite like stacking ten bombs and then just deleting someone from the world whilst feeling the controller ramble like mad 😀

        • MagcargoMan

          I loved how you could stack like five bombs for both characters. Spamming bombs was so crazy.

  • Gamingfan

    Cant even voice chat during races and have to use your phone to communicate with friends. If you pay nintendo for online you’re a dumbass.

  • Addy

    I going to wait until the price goes down a bit before I pick this up, maybe around $40 is enough.

    • Bart

      It’s your call of course, but you might be in for a long wait, waiting for a Nintendo game to drop in price…

  • Reggie

    I’d get this if my Switch didn’t have an abysmal wifi connection. Although I don’t know now, maybe it has improved since following the stability updates? I don’t really want to invest into a chiefly multiplayer game though when I’m still having issues with connecting and staying connected.

  • ibo

    great a review for a game that’s not out until next week…

  • R.Z.

    I never thought I would say this, but I’m glad I skipped it on WiiU.
    I think I’m in for a treat.