Mario Kart has been releasing titles since 1992. It's one of Nintendo's notable titles, and oftentimes a big seller on consoles. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe looks to bring a new audience who skipped out on the Wii U version into one of their most acclaimed entries in the series to date. The Deluxe edition of the game includes all DLC from the previous game, new characters, enhanced battle mode, and tweaked mechanics for a more enjoyable experience.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe really takes all the best of Mario Kart and jams it into one game. As someone who skipped out on the Wii-U edition, I was unaware of what all changed between games, so I took a quick look and here's the major stuff you need to know between the new and old version of the game...
- Players can now hold two items again.
- Battle Mode has been revamped and includes 5 modes and 8 tracks.
- Returning items like the Boo and Feather
So how does it play? Mario Kart 8 by far feels like the smoothest entry in the series bar none. The courses are gorgeous and innovative, the racing is tight and competitive and overall there's nothing missing from the usual Mario Kart experience you've had before. One big thing I noticed was the competitiveness of Grand Prix mode. While 50cc and 100cc are still the cakewalks you remember, 150cc presents a decent challenge in racing to experienced veterans and 200cc is absolute insanity. 200cc requires fast reflexes and sometimes some good luck to succeed in and it's absolutely brilliant. There were points where I went from 8th place to 1st in a matter of seconds to take the victory and there were also times I feel comedically short at the finish line and was dead last. The enhanced speed is definitely a perk in this mode and it'll be one you'll play again and again.
Battle mode is another high point of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and I've already dipped a handful of hours just matching up with people on my couch. All 5 game modes are a blast to play, and with the map and game variety, you'll never get bored playing any one game for too long.
So while I do love the online modes in the game, I do have a few complaints. As far as racing is concerned, I'm a little disappointed by map format. While it is fine to vote individually on what map everyone wants between races the selection roulette where if 8 people pick a map and the selector lands on the 1 person who picked another map it makes the whole thing pointless and the process is entirely too long. I would much prefer selecting a set of 3 maps and going from race to race...but that's just personal preference.
My biggest concern with this game came from when I attempted to party up with GameTyrant Ryan, and after about 15 minutes of trying to figure out how we could party up but still compete with the rest of the online world, I managed to do accidentally by partying up with him while he was still in a match. It seems like such an odd thing to do when partying up before both of you go online to compete is an industry standard feature. I already have to work to find my friends via Friend Code Nintendo, let's not pile on with workarounds to make online a chore as well. Once I figured it out I was more than satisfied with the experience, but I shouldn't have had to work so hard to figure out what I had to do.
The game looks amazing docked and undocked. The work put into these stages really shows when you start jumping into the retro levels you remember from the past games. A lot of work went into modernizing these tracks to work with the new playstyle and it really shows when you play it. If you're looking for a true test of the graphics of this game watch your replays and kick things down to slow motion...it's almost hypnotic.
You'll beat it and unlock something. You'll race online and unlock something. You'll play with a friend at home and unlock something. It's Mario Kart...you're going to be playing this game again and again and you're going to love it all the same.
What It Could Have Done Better
My main complaint is the partying up feature. It's a relatively big problem with no explanation or reasoning why it should even be an issue. Most of what I took off the score of this game is a direct result of that.
One glaring issue aside, it didn't take long for me to label this entry my favorite Mario Kart in the series. Well worth the money if you missed out on it the first time around, and definitely worth picking up again if you played the Wii U version and felt underwhelmed.