Video Games

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch is a port of Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U.  This was a game that I wasn’t planning on purchasing, ever.  After I got the Mario Kart 8 Wii U bundle 4 years ago and all of the DLC that followed, why would I buy the same game for the Nintendo Switch again?

Impulsive buying, you can be a good or bad thing.

Deluxe does have some noticeable differences from Mario Kart 8.  Most of the locked content from Mario Kart 8 has been unlocked from the start.  You start with all characters unlocked, all of the race tracks and Grand Prix courses unlocked, all cc cart classes and mirror mode unlocked, all DLC is included from Mario Kart 8 so you don’t have to repurchase the content, and two new characters, the Inklings, from the Splatoon series.   Some of the cart parts from the DLC packs will still need to be unlocked by collecting a certain amount of coins which are collected after each race and will unlock randomly.  All coins collected are cumulative, so you can race multiple times without worrying if you got enough coins on any race that you do.  This version of the game came out in 2017, but Nintendo is still supporting Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with the recent addition being able to use the Nintendo Labo Products as a controller for the carts and Link’s Master Cycle Zero and look from Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild. Even at full price, I thought that this was a reasonably great value for the game.

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Call it my hidden highlight, I like the ads that appear around the tracks and on the load screen for Mario products.

Deluxe looks excellent and runs at 1080p and 60 frames per second (FPS) while docked and 720p while in portable mode on single player gameplay.  Mario Kart 8 had a 1080p resolution but ran at 59 FPS at times.  I didn’t notice that until it was pointed out to me.  The most common cause that I’ve heard was due to a bug in the programming.  Mario Kart 8 still looks good, but once you know that fact, you will notice it every time that you play on Wii U.  With more than 3 players on the same screen while dock, the game goes down to 30 FPS but still looks great.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has the most tracks offered in any Mario Kart game.  There are 48 tracks to choose from and 8 arena battle tracks.  Of the 48 courses that are offered; 28 are new theme courses and 20 retro tracks from previous Mario Kart games.  I don’t want to sound like that it’s a complaint, but 4 of those 28 courses are not Mario related.  It’s not bad, but I find it a little misplaced to see Mario on an F-Zero racetrack.  Still, I’d say that some of my favorite courses in the game in no particular order are:  Twisted Mansion,  Sunshine Airport, Electrodome, Cloudtop Cruise, Excitebike Arena, Moo Moo Meadows, Hyrule Circuit and Big Blue.

Except for Baby Park, all of the tracks all have three laps. The roads now are on the walls as well as underwater. While the underwater segments were already in Mario Kart 7, the on the wall and ceiling is a new addition to the Mario Kart series. It’s a fun and creative way to ride with anti-gravity.  You can even get a speed boost when you bump into another racer while in anti-gravity parts of the track.

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So, the vehicles are anti gravity, but the racers aren’t.  How are they able to stay in the vehicle without being strapped on when on the side or upside down on the track?

The main screen has 42 different characters to chose from.  While a great variety of racers are offered, I feel it gets away from “Mario Kart” when I see Link, Inklings, and Villager from the Animal Crossing in this game.  How can there also be F-Zero tracks without Captain Falcon as well? Each character has different attributes with size and weight and affects the top speed, handling, and acceleration of your cart.  Cart customization is back from Mario Kart 7 as well as the addition of the ATV vehicle.  The customization is the only thing that I wish I were able to find a chart online what the best cart and racer for each track is.  I can’t ever seem to create the right cart for the right track.  Anyone reading this and knows of any, please let me know.  My usual favorite racers are either Link or Rosalina.

I just realized Peach is the statue in a “Statue of Liberty” type pose in Toad Harbor.

I like that the game is very beginner friendly. If you haven’t ever played a Mario Kart game, Deluxe has smart steering and auto accelerate feature.  The former makes staying on the track easier without falling off if you take a turn too wide or short, and the latter automatically accelerates the vehicle.  This allows the player not to have to hold down a button to accelerate.  The auto accelerate feature is great because I don’t have to hold down the acceleration button.  I sometimes jam down the button, thinking that my kart will go faster if I do.  It was also a way I introduced this game to my friends who either haven’t played at all for a while without having him be discouraged.

Smart Steering in indicated by the antenna on the back on the vehicle.

Included in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a battle mode with arenas.  While Mario Kart 8 had a battle mode, they involved going around the courses and hitting opponents and popping balloons.  Here, it’s back to the arena battle 5 new and three classic arenas from previous Mario Kart games.  The balloon battle returns and a new mode called Renegade Roundup.  A cops and robbers mode that “The Authorities” kart racers with Piranha Plants must capture “The Renegades”  If a renegade is caught, they are sent to jail but can be broken out if another renegade is free and passes the jail cell.  If “The Authorities” capture all of the renegades, they win.  If they don’t, then they lose.  Also brought back from Mario Kart Double Dash is Bob-omb Blast and Shine Thief.   Bob-omb blast has you attack your opponents with Bob-ombs only, and Shine Thief is a capture the flag type of game.  A new power-up introduced for the battle mode is the cape feather which allows you to jump spin in the air and to steal an item if your opponent has one.

When playing Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it does feel like the only way that you can win is with luck.  I think that it doesn’t matter how good you are if you get hit with a barrage of items you can go from 1st place to 12th place in seconds.  Watch my video below.  It is a sample of one of many races on Cloudtop Cruise where I go from second to seventh in seconds.

The only thing I thought that Mario Kart 8 had over Deluxe was the ability to post highlights of your race to Youtube.  Yeah, it was only 30 seconds, but I liked the idea to share this way highlights of your competition with friends.  I hope that Nintendo will add a patch to allow to put videos on Youtube again.  I know that you can use the Nintendo Switch Share to post on Facebook or Twitter, the audience just doesn’t feel the same to me.  If not, by at least Mario Kart 9,  Nintendo should allow longer videos to share on Youtube.

When Mario Kart introduced the 200cc class, it felt a bit precedented.  All the game before Mario Kart 8 would only go up to 150cc.  So with 200cc, you expect a new faster experience when you race.  You do experience that for the most part.  But, to me, it just feels like the difficulty was bumped down.  It’s like 150cc is the new 100cc.  200cc is a challenge, as smart steering is the only way I can compete in the class.  You are given a further drift boost if you turn off the Smart Steering.  When you drift on a turn, you see sparks if you hold down the drift on a corner.  After a while when you develop purple sparks, you have an Ultra Mini Turbo which you can use for a speed boost nearly equivalent to a mushroom.

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Blue, yellow and Purple (available without steering assist).  The different types of drift boosts that you can get.

Mario Kart 8 added a lot of new useful items and added a bit of help during your race.  You have the Piranha Plant, which chomps at other racers and items along the track.  It can even eat a blooper about to shoot ink on your screen.  The boomerang, which gives you three shots and can hit opponents ahead or behind you and come back to you after it’s thrown.  The rare crazy 8 item that gives you 8 power-ups circling your kart.  There are a:  Coin, Mushroom, Bob-omb, Star, Blooper, Green Shell, Red Shell, and a Banana.  The only new item I find useful and bad at the same time is the mega horn.  It is the answer to stop the spiny shell if you are in 1st place, but I find myself rarely getting this item when I’m trying to overtake the lead.  Even when I do, I’m holding it throughout the race, missing other things that I could be using to boost or protect my lead.  Plus you lose the item if you are hit with the lightning bolt item.  It might have been so bad if I was able to switch out the items.  Mario Kart 8 Deluxe brings back a Boo that can steal any racers item and make you briefly invisible.  Deluxe allows you have two carry items at once, but you can’t switch the items.

I enjoy this game series.  I never played any of the Mario Kart games until Mario Kart: Double Dash for the Gamecube.  I don’t really play too much of the online racing, but I hop on and race once in a while.  Mario Kart is a series that is best played together.  When you and your friends get together and play in a living room area or game room.  It also can test your friendship sometimes.  Especially those that play innocent that they don’t know what they are doing, and win most of the time by luck.  (You know who you are!)

What are some of the things that you enjoy about Mario Kart games?  Please let me know in the comments or message me.  Thank you for reading.

2 thoughts on “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe”

  1. Nice article, man. Very informative. I was in the same boat where I owned the Wii U MK8, and wasn’t sure about making the jump when upgrading to the Switch, but didn’t anyway and haven’t really looked back.

    For your question: I love Mario Kart because it’s such a great party game. As you mentioned, it’s very beginner-friendly. The fact that the Switch is already multiplayer friendly with the Joycons makes it a perfect fit… Now I’m just hoping for an eventual MK9 on the switch.

    But yeah, good stuff!


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