Product Provided By Nintendo
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch, a port of the hit Wii U title from 2014, races onto store shelves April 28th with a sizeable amount of improvements to the original title.
From the start, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe contains the largest roster of any Mario Kart game in the series. There are 42 playable racers including an additional unlockable character rewarded to those who place first in all of the cups in 200cc.
Aside from the included DLC racers, like Link and the Villagers, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe welcomes three returning characters from previous installments: King Boo, Dry Bones and Bowser Jr. Splatoon’s Inkling Boy and Inkling Girl also join as brand new racers who come with two Splatoon-themed vehicles.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also includes a stunning amount of courses and cups. Players can race through 12 cups containing 48 gravity-defying tracks including those previously released as DLC through the Wii U version.
200cc has also returned from the Wii U version with small enhancements that make the overall experience much more fun. You will find you no longer have to rely on hitting the brakes as much as you did in the Wii U version to make it to the finish line.
If you still have issues with 200cc, you can take advantage of the new Steering Assist option that automatically redirects your kart from steering off of the edges. This option can be turned on and off within the vehicle customization screen and is set as the default option when first starting your game.
Once you hit the tracks you’ll notice right away you now have the ability to hold two items at the same time. Although you won’t be able to switch between the two items while racing, it’s a welcome improvement to have a back-up item in reserves during those hectic races and battles.
Nintendo has also added two returning items from previous Mario Kart titles: the item-stealing Boo and the Battle-Mode exclusive Feather that allows you to jump over incoming enemies.
The most noticeable improvement over the Wii U version is the completely revamped Battle Mode. There are five different modes to choose from that can be enjoyed in eight arenas: three retro stages as well as five new stages, including Urchin Underpass from Splatoon.
You’ll find yourself popping your opponents’ balloons in Balloon Blast, collecting as many coins as you can in Coin Runners, taking aim at your enemies using only Bob-ombs in Bob-omb Blast and trying to hold onto the Shine for twenty seconds in Shine Thief.
However, the newest mode in Battle Mode is Renegade Round-up where you take turns between being on the team of renegades and the law. As the law, your goal is to capture and jail the renegades while those who play as the renegades must not only evade the law but also run over the key button to bust their captive teammates out of prison.
You can jump online to play the improved Battle Mode as well as race others around the world. Nothing much has changed in the online experience except you can now swap out vehicles and racers within the lobby without needing to exit the game.
There is currently no voice chat in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe which is something we felt was lacking in the Wii U version as well. The new Battle Mode is intense and it would have been nice to hear the reactions of your friends during those heated moments.
Nintendo has previously mentioned including voice chat as an option in games, via a cell phone app, when they launch their online paid services later this year. No specific games have been announced but we are hoping to see Mario Kart 8 Deluxe make it on that list.
For those who don’t want to play online but still race against friends, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe features Wireless Play where, thanks to the portability of Handheld Mode, you can take Mario Kart 8 Deluxe anywhere you want and link up to race and battle with nearby Switch owners.
By holding the L and R buttons and clicking the left control stick, you can change Wireless Play to LAN Play for the option to connect multiple Switch consoles and TV’s to host a classic LAN party.
OUR VERDICT: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe takes an already near-perfect game and makes it even better! Switch owners who have never played the Wii U version should make this a must-have purchase.
For those who already own the Wii U version, the $60 retail price to repurchase the game might seem like a lot at first but the fact that you can now take Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with you anywhere you want thanks to the Switch’s Handheld Mode as well as battle it out in the new and improved Battle Mode makes Mario Kart 8 Deluxe a high-octane game we highly recommend!
Click here for our full video review: