Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a powered up port of Mario Kart 8 (Wii U) now on the Nintendo Switch. While largely being the same title, plenty of small changes and even entirely new modes and mechanics do make the game feel more unique and different compared to its Wii U counterpart.
The question for Switch owners, is it worth it?
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe features enough suites of play for every type of gamer to enjoy. Some straight up single player fun in modes like;
Grand Prix – which is the classic 4 race mode, with everyone trying to compete for first place.
Time Trials – where you can race against your previous times on tracks, and against other players’ ghosts online, random, and friends.
VS Race: Players can use their own custom rules and choose which tracks they want to race whenever they please.
Battle Mode: And, Of course! Battle Mode is making its true return and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe presents the best iteration of Battle Mode since Mario Kart 64.
The game play in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is what you’d usually expect from your usual Mario Kart game, with some added features. Every entry has their own little charm to the chain, for example the motion controls and bikes in Mario Kart Wii, or two carters and special items in Mario Kart Double Dash. So of these features remain like bikes and motion controls, but Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, brings back a addition, on top of what it offers. The gravity mechanic which for those who played the Wii U version will know changes the way a player drives their kart. By usually sending you on your side and even going through hoops, allowing for some faster kart racing, especially based on what CC speed you pick, it’s a wild ride at 200CC. They also brought back the two item mechanic which allows you to hold two items at the same time. Sadly you can’t switch between them, but it can be more helpful in certain situations. Drifting has also seen a change, instead of two drift options, now a forth drifting area is obtainable, but is still a challenge to reach. But doing so allows a boost of about 3 total seconds.
The Grand Prix features about 12 entire series to choose from. Alongside with 48 tracks, some of them new, and others returning from previous games, remastered for the new abilities mainly gravity, going under water, and flying through the air. The majority of the tracks provide a huge fun factor for casual and competitive gamers alike. The standout tracks to me are Rainbow Road (n64), Electrodrome, Excitebike Arena, Yoshi Circuit, and Wild Woods. While some of the tracks I despise, mainly because of how many times the blue shell hits me is, Super Bell Subway, Grumble Volcano, Cheese Land, and Wario’s Gold Mine. Of course Grand Prix has the modes 50 CC, 100 CC, and 150 CC that most players are familiar with. But also includes a flipped mirror mode, and a even faster 200 CC that feels like F-Zero Kart.
Battle Mode makes a huge splash into Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, being the standout mode for me and my friends. Battle mode features 5 different modes to battle in. Balloon Battle which is the classic mode where we all beat each other up with items trying to get the highest score, in either team battle or an all out battle royale. Renegade roundup is my personal favorite new mode, where one team is the cops, the other is the robbers. The cops must catch the robbers in a cage, and the robbers must free each other from the cage, and try to not get caught until time runs out. Bom-omb blast is similar to balloon battle, except the big difference is everyone has bombs, this is my least favorite mode due to me not finding as enjoyable to the regular mode. Coin Runners is a mode where you have to pick up coins, and hit coins away from other players to win. Shine Thief returns from Double Dash, hold the star for the longest amount of time to win the game. Battle mode has 8 arenas, my favorite of these being Urchin Underpass, Lunar Colony, and Battle Course 1. While my least favorite is Sweet Sweet Kingdom. Battle mode offers some of the most fun to be had in gaming right now, just prepare for friends to hate you.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe of course has a online multiplayer. For both Grand Prix and Battle Mode, each with their own ranking systems. You can play online by yourself, with a buddy right next to you, and even your friends online. Host your own private matches, and even your own tournament server. The options are great, but the game does have a issue with online connection, as I have lost connection in many matches, or lobbies will simply time out constantly, creating a somewhat frustrating situation.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe runs at 1080p and 60 fps in TV mode, and 720p 60 fps in handheld mode. Even with up to 4 players in either mode the game maintains a solid framerate of 60. Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U ran at 720p and 60fps and 720p 30 fps with more than 4 players. So this is a huge improvement, providing a solid way to play in any situation. Playing with a wheel for some could be the best way to play, as the motion controls are vastly improved to the Wii remote. Or even a classic split joycon style. My favorite way to play this game is with the pro controller, as it feels perfect for this type of games simple controls. The soundtrack in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is amazing, plenty of trumpets to give you that feel of pure Mario Kart, while playing a very beautiful game to look at in it’s art style.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is more than a simple port with some added characters and modes. It is a clear improvement over Mario Kart 8. Being able to take it with you, play with your friends always at 60 fps, and the game is simply pure fun with some small issues like the online. I give Mario Kart 8 Deluxe a 9.5 out of 10.