Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Date Thu, August 3 2017

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is only available for Nintendo’s newest console: the Switch. I’ll discuss this a bit later on. I won’t discuss the function of the system and controllers, however. They work well enough whether you play alone or with others, and I haven’t noticed any kinks with them. I’ll focus on the design and content of the game, instead.

As an owner of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, I am no stranger to the tracks that are new to some people. In fact, I think all of the tracks are those that I have played on my game. The only exception is that tracks from Animal Crossing and Zelda (as well as a few characters) that were DLC for Mario Kart 8 now come with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This means you can choose the color of your Yoshi, play a Tanooki Mario or race around the track as Link without paying extra.

In fact, much of the games are the same. The number of tracks and grand prix, the ability to play online with one or two players, types of weapons/usable items, and kart customization are among the things that are practically identical. If you liked racing on Mario Kart 8, you’ll like the deluxe version.

What, then, makes it different?

The largest difference is battle mode. What was fun on previous versions of Mario Kart was tedious in Mario Kart 8, This is because of a lack of dedicated battle maps. Instead, players raced around regular tracks, often struggling to find one another to attack. Not only has Nintendo brought back battle-specific maps that feel very much inspired by our favorite maps of years past, but they have multiple battles modes. If you’ve ever played Mario Kart on the DS, you know how fun Shine Runners was, and there’s a similar mode with “shines” as well as another mode where you collect coins. You can still try to pop your friends’ balloons, or you can try your hand at cops-and-robbers style battle, which I found particularly fun,

None of this exists on Mario Kart 8, and unless Nintendo releases it as DLC (I’d be willing to pay to download it if it meant I didn’t have to buy a new system), you’ll be forced to upgrade game and console if you want to truly enjoy battle mode.

There are a few more perks of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe that might win you over, however. As far as I can tell, everything you unlock by collecting coins costs half as much as it does with the original game. This makes it much easier to attain different kart options. I’ve had Mario Kart 8 for years and still haven’t unlocked everything.

Another option that seemed to be a hit with my friends was the ability to have two items at once. If you went through an item box and triggered the item, you’d be able to hit another box to unlock that second item for use as soon as you used up the first.

There are a couple more kart options, items, control/steering tweaks, and characters that are nice but not a deal-breaker in my opinion. Although Mario Kart 8 looked good at 720p, the deluxe version is a gorgeous 1080p. These tracks all look stunning in HD!

What this adds up to is a good reason to invest in the Switch if you’re at all interests, but also a reason for Mario Kart 8 owners like myself to grumble a little. The game is essentially repackaged with a few key features that Nintendo should have included in the beginning, and that leaves me feeling a little sore. But not so much that I can’t enjoy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for what it is!

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