With the launch of the Nintendo Switch in the rear-view the big N’s flagship racer returns.
Hot off the turnpike Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is here to flesh out the lineup on the fledgling console but, as a repackaging of the Wii U outing does Deluxe do enough to warrant a second lap?
Deluxe is first and foremost the same game as it was on the Wii U, with all of the original 32 tracks, as well as the downloadable content and characters accounted for. The game was already a blast to play on Nintendo’s last system and remains so on the Switch, however, its been spruced up a little bit this time around with a higher resolution and more fine details as far as additional content is concerned. Deluxe also adds new characters to the mix such as fan favorites, Dry Bones and Bowser Jr., who were perplexingly excluded from the last outing, as well as the titular Squid Kids from Splatoon. There have also been several smaller gameplay tweaks made to the game in the leap from the Wii U, such as a quick 180 turn, additional level of boost, and the ability to pick up 2 items at once.
If there was one common complaint levied at Mario Kart 8’s original release it was the game’s “battle mode.” Prior to Mario Kart 8, every title since the 1992 original had dedicated arenas for throwing multitudes of items at your (likely screaming) friends but that all changed in 2014 with 8 when Nintendo reused the race courses for this classic mode and understandably players were a little peeved, with many calling the mode unplayable in the previous release. Luckily, in Deluxe 8 Nintendo has rectified the issue and delivered not only 8 new areas just for the traditional balloon battle mode but also 4 additional modes of play which include; a King of the Hill style mode Shine Thief, the “collectathon” that is Coin Rush, Cops and Robbers in the form of Renegade Roundup, and the all-out mayhem of Bob-omb Blast.
Multiplayer has always been a strong point of the series but with Deluxe 8 on the Switch its better than ever, in addition to offering 4 player split screen and online multiplayer, up to 8 Switch systems can be hooked up for on the go play. This is great for when you’re in between classes or at lunch since you can just hand off one of the Switch JoyCons and you’re ready to rumble in any mode. This is really where the value lies in Deluxe. On the Switch the series has become quite versatile and with so many modes of play expect to have the cartridge in your Switch for a long time yet.
While Deluxe is fundamentally the same game as on the Wii U, smart additions and the Switch’s portability bolster an already great title.
Without a doubt this is the game to own if you’re picking up the Switch and it gets a shining recommendation.