When Mario Kart 8 was released in 2014 it effectively summed up everything that Nintendo’s greatest offerings have become synonymous with over the past 30 years: simplistic yet elegant child-friendly design which masks a hidden depth and difficulty perfect for even the most experienced player. Its 2017 re-release for the Nintendo Switch may not completely reinvent the wheel (sincerely, no pun intended) but it does offer the same excellent racing experience with all of the DLC that was ultimately attached to the base game as well as a host of novel new racing options, features and characters.
Something Old, Something New
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers the same addictive and surprisingly varied vehicular racing combat as its Wii U predecessor but with a few appreciated additions. An intriguing new option is the reworked Battle Mode. Now playing similar to previous Mario Kart titles, Battle mode offers 8 brand new enclosed arenas that pack the action all into a single tight space for some frantic racing action. As well as this, the racing also receives a handful of moderate, yet effective new features. The Boo and Feather power-ups return from previous Mario Kart titles, allowing invisibility and a high-jump power respectively, which can completely change the tide of a race. However, the most significant new addition is the ability to stack power-ups. Players can now collect up to two abilities at the same time which means greater tactical play and double the potential chaos.
Play with Friends!
Perhaps Deluxe’s greatest edge over the initial base game for Wii U is that two players can play using either one of the Switch’s Joy-cons, meaning that if you own a Nintendo Switch and own deluxe you and another player will have access to local Multiplayer from the get go. You will not have to spend your hard-earned money on another controller; you are already set-up, ready for the full Mario Kart experience. Online multiplayer is also fantastic allowing the user excellent personalisation and communication options, all whilst testing your mettle against players across the world. Working flawlessly and easy to set up, Multiplayer offers a near endless source of replay value both online and off and is great for almost any occasion, whether it be for a birthday party or simply relaxing with a friend.
In addition, the game performs excellently both when displayed on televisions as well as out and about using the switches handheld mode. In my several hours with the game I experienced no slow-down or technical hiccups and was able to play comfortably wherever I was.
My only gripe with the game is that there aren’t any new tracks to enjoy. The new battle arenas are a significant new addition and offer a completely new way to play but I would’ve appreciated some new maps to play on, especially considering that the final DLC packs for the original version of Mario Kart 8 came out two years ago. However, this is only a minor gripe and cannot spoil the overall quality of such a content rich package.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the finest possible way to appreciate yet another of Nintendo’s gaming masterpieces. With its innovative new editions, characters, modes, abilities and faithfulness to the original product, Nintendo yet again hits it out of the park with one of the greatest Kart racers ever created.