Breaking down Mario Kart 8’s Lucky Cat Cup

Two new tracks were recently added to Mario Kart 8 today as part of the new Mario Kart Booster Course Pass. The Golden Dash Cup and the Lucky Cat Cup.

The Lucky Cat Cup comes at us with four new tracks; Tokyo Blur from the mobile game Mario Kart Tour, Shroom Ridge from the Nintendo DS, Sky Garden from the Game Boy Advance, and Ninja Hideaway also from Mario Kart Tour.

Let’s get into each of the four tracks, shall we?

Tokyo Blur (Tour)

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This stage has so much amazing detail I love it. I just wish the same level of attention went into the music because this music SUCKS. Flat out. The reward for finishing quickly wasn’t so much the points, it was having that music stop.

As for the stage itself, it’s great. You get to see a bunch of cute representations of famous Tokyo landmarks, the variety of areas you drive through offers fun obstacles like complex turns or Thwomps out of nowhere. There is even one of those old-school ramps in the grass that give you a shortcut if you have a boost mixed in there just for fun.

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No obstacle was bigger than the background though. I crashed so many times my first time racing solely because I just kept looking at things in the background. I know a lot of people were worried about them using Mario Kart Tour tracks but, for real, this is a really solid track…just…you know…ignore the music.

Shroom Ridge (DS)

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This is the one I desperately wanted to play the most when I saw the eight tracks we were getting with the course pass. Shroom Ridge is one of my favorite tracks because it has two of my favorite things in Mario Kart. Risky shortcuts that are easy to mess up and traffic. And Shroom Ridge is nothing but that.

Looking only at the map shows you that this course is filled with wonderfully long turns. The kinda turns where you can get purple sparks no problem. But in the race you remember that there’s a bunch of traffic going the same way you are.

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Power sliding between them or using the ones with a surfboard on the roof as a ramp feels amazing when done correctly. And when done wrong, it’s comical enough where you’re not frustrated. A car spinning out of control because of a banana peel is frustrating. Your car gets slammed by a whole bus. That’s just funny.

Sky Garden (GBA)

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To say that this track, originally on the Game Boy Advance, got a glow up would be a massive understatement. They took that GBA course and made it absolutely gorgeous. This is one of those Mario Kart tracks where the moment you see it for the first time you go, “Oh, I want to drive all over that.”

It’s also a really fun course. Leafy shortcuts or the occassional mushroom platform allow you to do nothing but bounce your way across. I don’t care how confident in your lead you are. When you hit something in this game that’s bouncy and it suddenly feels you’re not going to way you expected, you get tense.

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My ONLY complaint with this particular stage is the fact that it’s very short. Being a GBA game they had to keep the course size down but in Mario Kart 8 it feels really weird to be over and done with a lap so quickly.

Ninja Hideaway

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Oh my goodness, what a course to end the first part of the pass on. Ninja Hideaway is fantastic.

First off, the music slaps. It more than makes up for the terrible slog that is the soundtrack for Tokyo Blur. I’d listen to this on the highway.

Secondly, this stage is beautiful. The detail is ridiculous. Hell, there are a ton of heavy details you don’t even notice unless you’re watching the replay and see that there are some mosaics and nods that are only visible if you’re looking backward.

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The stage also has different terrain that make your car move slightly differently. Everywhere from mud to tatami. There are a TON of hidden shortcuts that made me want to play this course over and over until I found everything.

And on top of all that, there are cool new traps.

There’s a part shown in the picture above where the ceiling drops. A ceiling covered in throwing stars. Can you make it to the other side without getting hit? You shuriken! Get it? Sure can? Nothing? Moving on.

There’s a part my kids absolutely love in which on your first lap you see three ninja Shy-Guy poses with katana. On the second lap, they’re gone but will reappear and slow you down if you go to the spot they were at on your first lap.

Why, visually, it doesn’t have the Mushroom Kingdom vibe you normally want with your Mario anything, but it plays just like a Mario Kart stage. Almost feels like a Bowser’s Castle-type stage. Best of the eight, hands down.