Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review: It’s On The Nintendo Switch Now

Nintendo /

Remember Mario Kart 8 on the Nintendo Wii U? If you don’t personally remember how excellent it was, now’s the time to learn for yourself.

Developer: Nintendo EPD
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: April 28, 2017

Mario Kart 8 is my favorite throughout the entire series. The sheer creativity in course design and overall conceptualization makes it a clear-cut winner over even the likes of Mario Kart 64. In time for the launch window of the Nintendo Switch, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe comes racing in as an excellent port of the Wii U version and is worthy of picking up right now.

If you don’t own it and a Wii U. Well, maybe even if you do.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Nintendo /

One of those added bonuses that come with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the reworked corrected Battle Mode. Instead of chasing after players along eight Grand Prix regular race tracks for some reason, Nintendo has created several new isolated maps as well as re-creating classic Battle maps.

You also have five game sets within Battle Mode to enjoy. Balloon Battle is your classic “pop enemies’ balloons with items” mode, while Bob-omb Blast does the same but replaces all items with Bob-ombs. Shine Thief combines racing and combat in a capture-and-hold-the-flag keep-away experience using a Super Mario Sunshine Shine Sprite. Coin Runners is a race to collect as many coins while knocking coins out of others. Finally, Renegade Roundup is a cops-and-robbers team multiplayer where those with Piranha Plants race to bite all other opposing players.

While I typically never played Battle Mode in previous games, it’s a welcomed, varied option for both couch and online multiplayer variance. The courses breathed new life into the racing experience, offering a new incentive to check out Mario Kart 8 on a new console. It’s like you’re a kid again, taking turns trying to outduel each other.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Nintendo /

Speaking of kids, there are five new characters joining the roster. Beyond the Inkling Boy and Girl characters (also offering kart-related gear and equipment), King Boo, Dry Bones and Bowser Jr. are getting in on the fun. Players can now also steal items from others with the Boo item, and jump out of the way of incoming items with the Feather item in Battle Mode games.

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Other than that, you get the gravity-bending courses, characters, trial races and more from Mario Kart 8 in the Deluxe edition. Years later, the game still holds up extremely well, now offering the tightest racing package this series has seen. Taking to new heights in its design, Nintendo created a series of tracks that tapped into both classic and new creations to bring fun for the whole family.

Now most everyone in the family can enjoy the game at any speed, as there is even a new Smart Steering feature option. 200cc is loads of fun, but whipping around a desert or a classic iteration of Rainbow Road at top speeds is quite difficult. These courses were built for 150cc as the top speed! Now you can rev up your motors at top speed and sacrifice efficiency and speed by awkwardly hitting corners instead of flying off the track constantly.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Nintendo Switch
Nintendo /

Normally, I would be adverse to the developers messing around with the control mechanics of a racing game, but Mario Kart 8 Deluxe isn’t quite on the same gameplay direction as something like a Forza Horizon. It’s as much about the tight races, unlucky timing and items saving your butt at the last second as it is to cut corners on tight slides like it’s an Initial D anime.

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe simply existing on a Nintendo Switch benefits from improved gameplay options because of its numerous controller mechanics and accessibility options, but the only one controller scheme I actively avoid using is the single Joy-Con controller. Using it on its side is viable, but because of those small SL and SR buttons for drifting and holding items, it becomes difficult to control comfortably. Countless times I would drop items due to the small controller size. Those 14 and under may have better luck, as it seems to be geared towards those with smaller hands.

I mean, Mario Kart is a kid-directed racing game. What more could you expect?

9. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe serves as the definitive version of this racing game. New characters, new items, classic battle mode reintroduction and all the game’s courses (basic and DLC) are packaged into a game that you can play with friends at home or on the road, online and off. It’s Mario Kart 8, but on the Nintendo Switch now. I think it’s worth the full-priced upgrade costs, but if you’re still getting use out of your Wii U version, perhaps it’s best to wait until it makes sense for you and your friends.. Nintendo. . Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.