One of the best titles from the Wii U, Mario Kart 8 was the go to online title for Wii U owners before Splatoon came out. It is widely regarded as one of the best games in the Mario Kart franchise with it’s robust track listing and large character line up. The game has been remastered for the Nintendo Switch with some additions as well as a much needed update to the battle mode. Is it worth the double dip for those that spent hours with the original? Find out below.
The first thing to note about Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is that it is a streamlined version of Mario Kart 8, which those that spent plenty of time with the Wii U version will appreciate. All the levels and most of the racers are unlocked from the get-go, meaning that you won’t have to make your way through all of the Grand Prix cups to get your favorite racer or favorite levels. At first when I heard about this I was a bit skeptical, afterall Mario Kart 8 was the first game in the series since the Nintendo 64 entry where there wasn’t a character unlock tied to every cup in every CC. After spending a good amount of time with the game grinding for coins to unlock my favorite kart, I’m glad that I didn’t have to grind to unlock levels and characters.
Aside from having almost everything unlocked from the get-go, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also makes strides for those that just want to have fun and play. Hardly a racing sim Mario Kart has never been a difficult game, but the additions of smart steering which makes it so you can’t drive off the track and auto acceleration mean that anyone in your family can enjoy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe regardless of their gaming skills. The fact that that these can be used in online races is a bit questionable, as is the fact that smart steering is automatically turned on and the game does a good job of hiding how you can turn it on or off.
Mario Kart 8 was always a pretty game, but it looks even slicker on the Nintendo Switch. It looks great in docked mode, and while my time in portable mode was limited, both options show off the graphics well, and the audio hasn’t changed much. Although I do think they toned down the amount of times that Link will say “Hyah” when passing you which is a gift in and of itself.
The biggest change to the experience is how they have updated the Battle Mode with actual Battle maps this time. In the original game they were just battles on the race tracks, not the small contained battle stages that the series is known for. There are a bunch of different game modes, and while I’ve always been more a fan of racing, it’s a long awaited return for fans of the battle mode. Especially since Mario Kart 8’s online component is much more robust than Mario Kart Wii.
The online component of the game works great. There were some issues that I had with connecting to matches the first week of the game’s release but everything seems to have been ironed out since then. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a great way for Nintendo really start ironing out kinks in it’s online service ahead of ARMs and Splatoon 2 because if they expect us to pay for this service it needs to be on par with Xbox Live and Playstation Network.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers a robust package for $59.99 but ultimately it’s a package that most people have paid for before. Sure you get the DLC levels and characters included in that cost, but for players who have sunk a lot of time into the game already it might not be worth the full price. If Mario Kart is a game that you love to have around to play with friends or online than Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is worth the double dip and if you haven’t already played it than stop reading and go out and buy the game right now! However if you’re skeptical about how much time you’d want to put into this game on the Switch it’s understandable and might want to wait for a it to go on sale or for a used copy to show up in your local secondhand store.
Overall Score: 8.5/10