Mario Kart 8 Deluxe refines a game that already proved to be an instant classic. With a robust package featuring 48 tracks, 42 characters, and five modes (including Balloon Battle, Bob-omb Blast, Coin Runners, Shine Thief, and Renegade Roundup) this is the definitive version of the game.
It also addresses one of the biggest complaints from the original release by revamping Battle Mode.
Ever since Mario Kart’s humble beginnings, the series has always included a fun side mode to complement the racing. Nintendo has made sure to deliver that this time around with a robust Battle Mode featuring eight stadium- or arena-specific maps and five satisfying game types.
The first of those is Balloon Battle, which requires players to pop their opponents’ balloons for points. It’s a relatively easy game type to get into and is an excellent primer for the Bob-omb Blast, Renegade Roundup, Shrine Thief, and Coin Runners modes that follow it. Each mode features its own colorful arena map and a new way to play. It’s worth noting that speed is secondary in these games; maneuverability is key. If you can stay away from other players and their weapons, you’ll have the best chances of victory.
The original Mario Kart 8 lacked one big thing: a robust battle mode. Deluxe rectifies this with eight new arenas crafted specifically for battles, plus four pulled from previous games.
Melody Motorway is a fun, music-inspired course that’ll have players tapping their feet and singing along. It features instruments like drums and xylophones, as well as colorful decorations and upbeat music that will get players in the mood to race.
For a more fast-paced experience, players should try out Electrodrome. This futuristic race track will have players going through a strange landscape filled with giant robots, LCD screens that are as tall as buildings, and plenty of other cool stuff. It’s sure to put a little extra pep in your step as you race through the twisting tunnels.
There’s a wide variety of racers to choose from in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. You can play as 42 different characters, all with their own unique stats and ways to play.
The game’s roster also features the skeletal form of Bowser himself, Dry Bowser. First appearing in the franchise in 2006 as a boss, this character is a solid heavyweight with great acceleration and handling.
Even the princess gets the toddler treatment, with Baby Rosalina joining the cast for the first time in this iteration of the series. This nimble racer is light on her feet and quick to react to turns but is easy for heavier opponents to knock off the course.
A cross-franchise collab sees Inkling Boy and Girl join the lineup. This duo are middleweight racers with balanced stats, making them perfect for new players or veterans who want to focus on fine-tuning their kart and bike setup.
Items are power-ups that can be used to help players during races and other game modes. They can be either helpful or dangerous and they are typically used as weapons to hit other racers during combat.
Until recently, Mario Kart games have randomly assigned the type of item players receive when picking up an Item Box. However, a new feature known as Custom Items allows players to curate their experience.
One of the most useful items in the series, this green power-up gives players a small speed boost while also chomping on other racers for a brief amount of time. It’s especially useful in situations when a player is chasing down the leader. This is a must-have item!
The gyro controls work wonderfully and the game runs smoothly in both docked and portable mode. The game also boasts a variety of shortcuts which can help players shave seconds off their lap times.
As for the game’s additions, the Booster Course Pass adds a handful of new tracks including remade versions of Choco Mountain from Mario Kart 64 and Circuit 3 from the original SNES title. The DLC also gives players two item slots and reintroduces Double Item Boxes.
The DLC also adds a few new characters, such as Baby Bowser and skeletal turtle Dry Bones. Finally, the Inklings from Wii U paint shooter Splatoon make their debut as guest characters. They also have their own unique karts and can be used in battle mode.