‘Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’ is the sequel/ extension to the Wii U’s ‘Mario Kart 8.’ It is also Nintendo’s second big title for the Nintendo Switch, following ‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,’ which was met with stellar reviews. While it may only offer some added features from its predecessor, the experience I had playing ‘Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’ was worth the price tag.

‘Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’ includes all the the DLC from the original game, which included new characters and new courses. Considering I already bought these features, I was happy to know I wouldn’t have to pay again. This game does also add a few new characters including Inkling Boy and Girl, from ‘Splatoon,’ but it also brings back some characters that weren’t featured in the original, like King Boo and Dry Bones. To be honest, though, the roster of 42 characters didn’t excite me, seeing as I only ever play as Luigi.

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No new courses were added, but the ones that were featured are diverse enough that I didn’t see myself longing for any new ones. I can say, however, I would’ve liked to see the return of some of my favorite courses from the GameCube, Mainly DK Mountain.

There are little things that were added into the game that made it much better for me. The addition of a triple boost drift was substantial, seeing as I drift a lot, and the return of double item boxes from ‘Double Dash’ helped me race my way to the top. I couldn’t tell if this was a change or not, but the game seemed a lot faster paced than the Wii U version. It took me a while to get used to, but I eventually welcomed the challenge.

There’s a wide range of vehicle customizations, just like in the original, and I enjoyed being able to make my kart my own. However, I sometimes miss the simpler days when all the karts were uniform and you wouldn’t have to spend several minutes finding the right one.

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The best thing about ‘Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’ is definitely the Battle Mode. My biggest complaint with ‘8’ was that it seemed the creators didn’t even try when making the Battle Mode, but you can tell they spent a lot of time and energy making this the best it could be. The new battle arenas, like the racing courses, are diverse enough to where I can get a different experience from each one. Bomb-omb Blast and Coin Runners are passable, and I surprisingly found myself playing Shine Thief more than I thought. Balloon Battle and Renegade Roundup are the big hitters here, though. The classic Balloon Battle returns, now with 5 balloons! While I had a great experience playing in this mode, I have to say, I prefer the ‘last man standing’ rules of ‘Double Dash’ to the ‘most kills’ rules of the newer games. It’s still a great mode to play in, but when my friends and I are craving a balloon battle, we’ll probably pull out the GameCube. When Nintendo announced the new mode, Renegade Roundup, I wasn’t very intrigued, but it was a huge surprise hit for me. This fast paced version of cops and robbers kept me playing for hours with my friends without getting bored. Really my only complaint with the Battle Mode is that the arenas are too big For 2-4 players without computers. An addition of some smaller arenas like the ones from ‘Double Dash’ would’ve been nice.

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Even without the new and returning features, the thing that really sold me on this game was the experience I had playing it with my friends. Thanks to the Switch, I’m able to bring it wherever I go and always have two controllers. The experience I used to have playing Mario Kart in my basement can now be had in the cafeteria at my school. I was a little skeptical about playing with a sideways Joy Con at first, but I grew to enjoy it.

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This is by far one of, if not the best Mario Kart games Nintendo has released. It excels in all areas, including the racing modes, the battles modes, and especially in its multiplayer experience. I would strongly reccomend this game to any Nintendo fan, even if you already own ‘Mario Kart 8’ on the Wii U.

9.5/10

Caleb Sadd

Check out our Nintendo Switch and ‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘ reviews.

‘Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’ is in stores now. 

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