Mario Kart 8 Deluxe just launched on the Nintendo Switch and it’s a big reason to celebrate. You could argue (and, believe us, we have before!) this is the perfect video game setup – Nintendo’s army of characters, go-karts, and insert into a video game. It’s genius, but the series had a meandering spell from Mario Kart 64 to Double Dash on the GameCube, before bursting back with a stunning Wii edition… and then came Mario Kart 8.
Yes, this game is, technically, three years old – it was first released in May 2014. Since then, it’s had two massive DLC packages to add new tracks (included for free in Deluxe), and has been upgraded further still for the Switch edition. Couldn’t Nintendo make Mario Kart 9? Well, it could have done, but, simply put, Mario Kart 8 remains a masterpiece, and Deluxe only adds more to a game which won’t be getting old for many more years to come. Goddamn, it is good.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
What’s new? It’s essentially the Wii U version, but as most people didn’t own the console, and the Switch is proving a much bigger hit with consumers, Deluxe is the complete package and should reach a wider audience. In this sense, if you’re new to the game, get in there and enjoy: there are GP races against the computer AI where you win championships and unlock new content, there are the riveting online races, there’s a revamped Battle Mode, and much more.
For seasoned players such as ourselves, is it worth the money? It’s all about the little differences – Nintendo has stuffed small, but significant, changes into Deluxe which make the racing experience more enjoyable and challenging (see the trailer above). Perhaps the most significant is the double items option, which adds additional strategic possibilities, especially for players in the lead who are now able to defend their hard-earned position more easily.
The big difference to the Wii U version, however, is the Switch is portable. It’s a handheld console you can take anywhere you want – the concept of Mario Kart 8 on the go is bloody astonishing, frankly, and we’re becoming increasingly enamoured with the Switch’s accessibility as a games console.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe simply adds to this with its pick up and play possibilities. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never played a games console before or if you’re a pretty hardcore Mario Kart addict (ahem), you can simply pick up and play and get hours of fun from the thing. This is the beauty of the game and it’s never been more perfectly realised.
OMG… Online Modes!
The central draw to Mario Kart games is the multiplayer experience. Even in the SNES original from 1992 (Super Mario Kart), two players could battle it out – it was hilarious. In Deluxe, up to 12 players from across the world can go head to head in individual races of tournaments.
We’ve written about this extensively before, but it’s still exhilarating stuff and has kept us occupied for 200+ hours since 2014 (what? We do work, it’s not like we’re unemployable wretches). It’s better than ever in this edition as the much-maligned mess up with Battle Mode in the Wii U version (pretty much the only complaint anyone had for the last instalment) has been fixed here with a mental new selection of gameplay options.
For anyone umming and ahhing about getting a Switch, it already has two absolutely essential titles in the form of one of the best games ever (Zelda: Breath of the Wild) and now Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The latter instils some serious fun into your life, now in portable form. Don’t sneer at the silly premise – do not make the mistake of presuming it’s “for kids”. This is bombastic mayhem at its absolute finest and it’s not surprising to point out the game has received colossal critical acclaim already.
When combined with Breath of the Wild, it really does make for quite the treat. And this is a point we’d like to make – so many gamers are online bitching and complaining and behaving like petulant brats, but what a privilege it is we’re here in this era with all these wonderful, accessible titles to enjoy. Now we’re guilty of this, too, as we often complain about the amount of violent first person shooter clones, but we still enjoy those games, we just wish developers would be more creative.
The fact is, we’ve never had it so good, but more people than ever have never been so eager to bemoan this and indulge in quite bizarre temper tantrums. Well we’re not doing it – Mario Kart 8 Deluxe isn’t perfect, but it’s close enough to it. For this title alone, a Switch is worth it… although there’s also Zelda.